The Post-Traumatic Insomnia Workbook A Step-by-Step Program for Overcoming Sleep Problems After Trauma By Karin E. Thompson, Ph.D. and C. Laurel Franklin, Ph.D.

Publisher: New Harbinger Publications

The Post-Traumatic Insomnia Workbook is a cleanly written and gently compassionate text for those suffering from sleep disorders due to trauma, authored by two psychologists who have built their expertise and knowledge in this area by helping veterans and others suffering from PTSD.

With a deceptively simple presentation and writing style, authors Drs. Karin E. Thompson and C. Laurel Franklin guide the reader effortlessly through their comprehensive program. They provide behavioral tools, motivational information, and well-chosen tidbits of research and theory in an uncluttered, fresh presentation that is easy for a reader or patient to absorb. A sprinkling of compassion in their writing conveys the authors’ empathy and kindness and yet they wisely avoid making the condition sound overly pathological.

“Understanding and treating PTSD is my specialty,” Karin explained to the Times. “Working with traumatized individuals almost always requires addressing sleep disturbance because it is so prevalent in this population.”

A New Orleans native, Karin relocated to the Memphis VA after Katrina. “My co-author,” she said, “is Dr. Laurel Franklin, who has also devoted her career to working with PTSD-diagnosed veterans.”

Laurel agreed, “… I knew that what we wrote would be of the highest quality,” she told the Times. “We have always worked well as a team and had fun in the process.” Laurel has continued at the New Orleans VA and both psychologists have been affiliated with the Tulane University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Karin explained that after working with PTSD and traumatized individuals for many years, she found a common concern was sleep disturbance. “I quickly realized how disruptive and distressing not being able to sleep is, and I started researching it so that I could better help my clients. My colleagues and I developed a treatment protocol for PTSD-diagnosed veterans, and New Harbinger heard about our work and asked us to write a prospectus for a self-help workbook on the more general topic of traumarelated insomnia.”

“I had already seen the success of cognitive-behavioral strategies in addressing sleep disturbance in our patients,” Karin said. And, “We decided we wanted to make the strategies more broadly available in the form of a self-help workbook.”

Laurel explained that the challenge was to write to readers who were unfamiliar with the techniques. “I enjoyed the collaboration with Karin,” she said. “…being creative together to find solutions to make the treatments work for readers who were less familiar or unfamiliar with cognitive behavioral techniques for insomnia.”

The Post-Traumatic Insomnia Workbook proceeds logically with a chapter on “Trauma-Related Sleep Problems,” then chapters on assessment and goal setting. They continue with ways to change the environment and cognitive interventions in “Prepare Your Body and Mind for Sleep,” and “Time to Sleep: Sleep Scheduling.” The authors address attitudes in “Sleep Beliefs: How You Think Affects How You Sleep.”

Also included is a chapter on nightmares, “Understanding and Coping with Trauma-Related Nightmares,” and a chapter on pain and sleep by Jeffrey West, Ph.D. The “Treatment Checklist” in the appendix is worth the purchase price.

While written for individuals, the Workbook seems well suited for clinicians to use with their clients, reinforcing the cognitive approach and helping to work through steps systematically, as well as reserving face time for other therapeutic goals.

As to the writing process, Karin said, “We have a lot of fun together, and we are a good writing team.” She commented that Laurel is a “creative, clear thinker and an inspired writer.” But, she said, “… It was a lot of work.” Both worked full-time during the writing and so the entire effort had to be accomplished on evenings, weekends and holidays.

Nevertheless both authors enjoyed the writing process. “It has been fun to think through the techniques and strategies of cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia,” Karin noted. The process of putting CBT-I strategies into a self-help format gave her the chance to use her clinical skills and background in a creative way. The same is true for Laurel, and she added, “…deciding to write the book together was very exciting…we have always worked well as a team and had fun in the process.”

In their new book, Dr. Karin Thompson and Dr. Laurel Franklin have effectively meshed science and practice, in an accessible text that stems from their understanding and care of those they have served. “ I want to thank the many veterans I have had the privilege to work with over the last 22 years,” Karin added. “…for teaching me the true meaning of courage, strength, and perseverance.”

The Post-Traumatic Insomnia Workbook is hot off the press tomorrow, September 2nd. Purchase it at or booksellers everywhere.

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