Sleep Coaching Waking comes from sleeping

Sleep Coaching - Background

We spend about one third of our lives sleeping. This sleep which usually is happening by itself provides us with vigor, motivation and vitality. It keeps us healthy and active. Unfortunately, sleep is not rejuvenating for everyone: many people suffer from lack of sleep or from unhealthy sleep.

Sleep disorders are sometimes difficult to overcome if the affected person does not address the reasons behind the disorder, often it is a psychological one and is treatable. Sleep coaching is a new method, based on Gestalt Therapy, including element from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, techniques of meditation and hypnosis, dream work and sleep education. Combining those elements help not only to overcome as fast as possible the sleep problems but it also provides a lasting improvement of sleep quality. The method has been developed by Brigitte Holzinger and Gerhard Klösch who presented it in several articles before in 2013 they published their book "Schlafcoaching- Wer wach sein will muss schlafen". The method is currently taught at the Medical University of Vienna (also in English), the postgraduate course lasts 3 semesters in part time.

For English speaking readers, Brigitte Holzinger is currently working on a book directly written in english language that will address the topics dream, dream work and sleep coaching.

Knowledge about sleep, understanding, addressing and embracing dreams are the first steps to finding back to sleep and thus finding back to vitality.

In the following pages we will shortly present the creators of this new method and also provide some information about related events.

Course "Sleep-Coaching"

With the new method of "Sleep Coaching" charge up your battery for daily life!

Translated quotes from the book “Schlafcoaching-Wer wach sein will muss schlafen” by Dr. Brigitte Holzinger and Gerhard Klösch:

Sleepcoaching is a complex, multi-faceted treatment approach that integrates to something new various effective techniques on the ground of Gestalt Theory and Gestalt Therapy, as well as on a concept of human beings based upon Gestalt viewpoint.

The goal of this coaching process is not only a short-term symptom improvement, but a fundamental change at the end of which is found the ability of self-care and self-healing.

Sleepcoaching is based on four pillars based on Gestalt attitude, which we understand as coaching in the context of sleep coaching: sleep education (=knowledge about sleep), cognitive and behavioral therapy approaches (which can be combined with temporary medication treatment), hypnosis and relaxation techniques, dream work.

A sleepcoach always sees itself as a partner and understands those seeking help as clients and not as patients. A contact must always be on par with the client and be free from hierarchical or authoritarian structures.

The authors themselves offer the training to sleepcoach accredited by the Medical University of Vienna.
The certification course is a postgraduate course addressing physicians, non-medical personnel and psychologists, psychotherapists and representatives of any helping professions who have already a successful completion of a post-secondary degree or an equivalent non-academic training and experience in sleep-medicine.


Successful completion of the program qualifies participants to counsel, inform and help on topics related to sleep. The certificate entitles the bearer to provide non-medication-based treatments and psychological treatment concepts. The program teaches the foundation for sleep and sleep disorders (for example: sleep-education, elements from cognitive behavioral therapy, Gestalt therapy, Hypnosis, overcoming nightmares, etc.).

The program lasts 3 semesters, it includes 164 academic hours, corresponding to 15 ECTS.

Certificate: Sleep coach


All members of the teaching team are experts designated by the ASRA (Austrian Sleep Research Association) and the ESRS ( European Sleep Research Society) and each member has years of experience in the field of sleep medicine and research. Some are somnologists certified by the ESRS.

You can find out more about the content, target group, costs, degree, dates and prerequisites for participation in this certificate course on the website of the Medical University of Vienna at:

Sleep Coaching Module 1

Basic principles of Sleepcoaching

Teachers: Brigitte Holzinger and Gerhard Klösch MpH

Gestalt and Gestalt supervision, communication, - Feedback rules, theory and praxis of communication, social skills, Awareness training

Sleep Coaching Module 2

Sleep - Basic principles, physiology of sleep, circadian rhythm

Teachers: Brigitte Holzinger and Gerhard Klösch MpH

History of sleep research and sleep medicine, identification of sleep phase, Basics of chronobiology (History, definition, relevance for sleep research), method and technique of: investigation of sleep and sleep phases, assignation of healthy and pathological sleep pattern

Sleep Coaching Module 3

Pathology of sleep: main topic neurology

Teacher: Univ. Birgit Hög

Diagnosis and treatment of neurologically induced sleep disorders (movement disorder linked to sleep, RLS, PLMS, RBD), fatigue during the day (as in parasomnia, narcolepsy etc.), epilepsy and sleep, pain, headaches during the night, migraines, sleep in the case of breathing disorders linked to a neurological matter, sleep in the case of seizures, changes of sleep behavior in cases of neurodegenerative diseases. For example, Dementia, Alzheimers, Parkinson, ALS and PLS

Sleep Coaching Module 4

Psychology of sleep 1

Teachers: Brigitte Holzinger and Gerhard Klösch MpH

Theory and practice of investigation of sleep pattern in ambulant settings: psychological test method. For example, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), actigraphy, investigation of the circadian rhythm: chronobiology and chronotype CBT-I and other evaluated non-medication-based treatment strategies of sleep disorders (sleep deprivation, sleep education).

Sleep Coaching Module 5

Pathology of sleep: main topic Psychiatry

Teachers: Alexandra Kautzky-Willer, Brigitte Holzinger und Gerhard Klösch MpH

Diagnosis and therapy of insomnia and parasomnia, fatigue during the day, sleep disorders linked to psychiatric diseases like depression or anxiety, bipolar disorder, personality disorder, schizophrenia and psychosis, addictive disorders (alcohol addiction, eating disorders), medication-based and non-medication-based therapy approaches

Sleep Coaching Module 6

Pathology of sleep: main topic pneumology, internal medicine

Teacher: Gerda Saletu-Zyhlarz

Diagnosis and therapy in cases of sleep disorders linked to breathing and internal diseases such as, sleep apnea (obstructive or central), COPD, snoring in case of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other metabolic disorders such as CPAP, clips, dental guard against snoring, plaster, breathing exercises, exercises from speech language pathology and sports medicine

Sleep Coaching Module 7

Psychology of sleep 2- Hypnosis and relaxation

Teachers: Dr. Rainer Popovic, Priv.Doz. Dr. Alexander Valipour, Alexandra Kautzky-Willer

Theory and practice of hypnosis and relaxing exercises in the case of sleep disorders, working with dreams and overcoming nightmares

Sleep Coaching Module 8

Pathology of sleep: for children, teenagers and elderly people

Teachers: Univ. Prof. Reinhold Kerbl und Univ. Prof. Dr. Bernd Saletu

Children's and teenagers' sleep (physiology, psychology, specific characteristics) Diagnosis and therapy of sleep disorders of children and teenagers SID: development of breath and associated aberration nightmares, children's and teenagers' parasomnia, sleep and epilepsy, school and pressure, changes of sleep patterns according to age, (how much sleep does an elderly person need for an "ideal" life rhythm, how neurodegenerative diseases influence the sleep and the dreams of elderly people)

Sleep Coaching Module 9

Psychology of sleep 3- working with dreams and overcoming nightmares

Teacher: Brigitte Holzinger, Andreas Koller, Gerhard Klösch M

Case analysis, group supervision, course reflection, acquiring clients, networking

As a trained sleep coach you can become a member of our association, the WASC-World Association for Sleep Coaching. Our association encourages initiatives to prevent unhealthy sleep, as far as they are not clearly in the medical field. These activities are summarized under the name "sleep coaching" and relate in particular to the areas of counseling, prevention and education of the public about the emergence and prevention of disturbed sleep. In addition, the association supports all initiatives to raise awareness and promote the image of sleep coaches.

In addition, our association is dedicated to:

a) Development, evaluation and dissemination of sleep coaching for counseling and prevention of unhealthy sleep

b) professional representation of trained sleep coaches (verification of appropriate professional qualifications)

c) Further education and certification of sleep coaches

d) PR-work for sleep coaching.

BStay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field of sleep research through our regular publications, meetings, discussions and lectures. To learn more about us, please contact us by email, we will be glad to send you more detailed information.
Membership fee is an annual fee of € 50, -, but you can also become a sustaining member of the association and choose to make a higher contribution. All contributions to our association are tax deductible. Further, as a member, you will be granted reduced fees at events organized by the Institute for Consciousness and Dream Research.


The therapists Dr. Brigitte Holzinger and Gerhard Klösch teach their method on a regular base at the Medical University of Vienna. For details about the course see the section “Course” or for further details (content, entry requirements, next start, teacher name and qualification) go to the website of the Medical University of Vienna

Seminars to the topics of sleep, sleep coaching, dreaming and how to overcome nightmares are regularly held, some of the seminars address medical staff, others are directly supporting patients or provide information for people who just want to know more about these topics. New dates will be posted under or directly on this website in the news sections. Most seminars take place in Vienna, at the Institute for Consciousness and Dream Research, thus, Dr. Brigitte Holzinger also often is invited in other countries for conferences or for teaching purposes. Sleep well and enjoy your dreams! We look forward to meeting you in person.

Sleep well and enjoy your dreams! We look forward to meeting you in person.


At the Institute for Consciousness and Dream Research you will find information about the wide topic of sleep. For people affected by sleep disorders, the institute offers a wide range of possibilities and individual solutions.

Diagnosis and therapy of insomnia, hypersomnia, disorders of the sleep-wake cycle, and parasomnia (primarily fear and nightmares). Extensive clinical and psychological diagnoses; testing of vigilance and attention (for the diagnosis and treatment of fatigue during the day), evaluation of the sleep-wake cycle with the help of a sleep diary and actigraphy (continuous activity measurements), Pulse oximetry (used to measure oxygen saturation in blood - diagnostic aid for obstructive sleep apnea).

Read more at the website of the institute:


Schlafcoaching Lehrgang

WASC – World Association for Sleep Coaching

For representing and organizing sleep coaches, we launched the World Association for Sleepcoaching

(WASC). More information about events and activities of our association soon to come.

For contacting us please use for now the contact data of the Institute for Consciousness and Dream Research.

Schlafcoaching Lehrgang

Sleep Coaching



The Authors

Brigitte Holzinger

Brigitte Holzinger

Dr. Brigitte Holzinger is one of the leading experts in the field of dream and sleep research as well as in the treatment of sleep disorders and nightmares. She is an author, a psychologist and teacher for integrative Gestalt therapy, supervisor and trainer. In addition, she serves as a member of the board of the Austrian Sleep Research Association (ASRA) and leads the Institute for Consciousness and Dream Research.
Gerhard Klösch

Gerhard Klösch

Gerhard Klösch studied psychology, political science and public health and works in sleep and dream research at the University Clinic for Neurology in Vienna. He is a book author and author of numerous scientific publications. His focus is on chronobiology, sleep-wake rhythm disorders, physiology of dreaming, social and cultural aspects of sleep / dream. Since the mid-1990s, he has been an associate and co-organizer of the Institute for Consciousness and Dream Research.

More about us

The Institute for Consciousness and Dream Research is committed to the scientific, therapeutic, and spiritual exploration of dreams and dreaming. Sleep and consciousness – brother and sister of the dream – accompany the dream and the events of the institute.

The institute dedicates itself to the fields of consciousness, dreams, lucid dreams, and sleep. Activities include research projects, presentations and symposia psychotherapy, media work, CDs, books and films.

For dates and topics of the lectures and seminars of the Institute for Consciousness and Dream Research, go to:

Contact us at:

Institut für Bewusstseins- und Traumforschung
Address: Canongasse 13/1, A-1180 Wien
Tel.: 0699-101 99 042
Fax: 01-25330334600

Brigitte Holzinger

Gerhard Klösch

Institute for Consciousness and Dream Research