Paradoxical Intention for Insomnia

Status: Strong Research Support


Paradoxical intention is a cognitive technique that consists of persuading a patient to engage in his or her most feared behavior. In the context of insomnia, this type of therapy is premised on the idea that performance anxiety inhibits sleep onset. Paradoxically, if a patient stops trying to fall asleep and instead stays awake for as long as possible, the performance anxiety is expected to diminish; thus, sleep may occur more easily. In clinical practice, some patients are fairly reluctant to use this procedure, and compliance is often problematic. Sleep restriction therapy, a similar technique with a different rationale, may be more readily accepted by patients.

Key References (in reverse chronological order)

Clinical Resources

Training Opportunities

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