Lorraine Irlam, MA, RCC
Hi, my name is Lorraine Irlam. I’m a Registered Clinical Counsellor and the founder of Insomnia Help Canada.
If struggling to fall asleep, tossing and turning at night, or waking up too early has become your norm, you are not alone.
Like you, I felt hopeless and desperate about my inability to sleep. And after a 20-year battle with chronic insomnia, I found a way to reclaim my life.
Enter cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (or CBT-I), a practical, drug-free approach backed by decades of research that addresses the causes of your sleep problems.
There’s nothing more rewarding than helping others get the restorative sleep they need. I’m grateful to be able to make a difference in people’s journeys, and I hope that includes you too!
Read more about my own journey from decades of insomnia in my very personal blog, Michael Jackson's Death Saved My Life
My Insomnia Story: Why I Do What I Do
I used to sleep beautifully and never gave it a thought. After the birth of my daughter, getting up at night was the new normal. Eventually, my baby started sleeping through the night, but I couldn’t get my sleep back. And I had no idea why!
I lost decades of my life to insomnia.
I struggled to fall asleep and stay asleep. I woke up exhausted and could barely get through the day. At the time, I was working with people living with chronic illness and other disabilities and noticed many of us shared similar sleep problems. Insomnia seemed to be a common denominator in our stories, often making pain and other symptoms even worse.
I sought help from doctors, but all they could offer were sleeping pills and sleep hygiene handouts. I tried relaxation exercises, acupuncture, and supplements. Yet nothing seemed to bring genuine relief. At least not for long.
I know now that these band-aid solutions only targeted insomnia symptoms instead of taking care of what was disrupting my sleep regulation systems. Things like the birth of a child (in my case), work stress, the end of a relationship, or pain, can trigger short bouts of insomnia. But sometimes, what could be a short-term sleep problem takes on a life of its own and becomes a vicious cycle.
After discovering the life-changing results of CBT-I and finally recovering from chronic insomnia, I decided to change the focus of my counselling practice. Today, I blend my personal experience, professional background, and 30 years of sleep research to empower adults with effective tools for quality sleep.
My Experience and Qualifications: How I Got Here
I’m a Registered Clinical Counsellor and a member of the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors, with specialized training in CBT-I.
I hold a Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Simon Fraser University.
As a counsellor, I wondered why there was such a lack of awareness of CBT-I. Despite being the gold-standard treatment for insomnia, I realized not many doctors, therapists, or individuals knew about it—myself included!
Unfortunately, there are few specialists trained in this approach. So, when I learned about it, I immediately signed up for CBT-I training and started practicing the strategies myself.
And it worked! Insomnia recovery IS possible.
CBT-I allowed me to sleep better in a matter of weeks! And now, whenever insomnia creeps in, I know exactly what to do to prevent its vicious cycle.
Since then, I have helped many individuals and groups regain control of their lives by sleeping well. I also work with clients struggling with insomnia in the context of other issues, such as:
● Chronic pain
● Nightmares and other parasomnias
● Nocturnal panic
● Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
● Postpartum insomnia
● Shift work and other circadian rhythm disorders
● Sleep apnea
● Concussion and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
I have spent hundreds of hours on professional development, continuing education, and consulting with world-renowned sleep specialists. I’m passionate about devouring sleep research and always learn from my clients.
CBT for Insomnia (CBT-I)
My focus therapy modality is CBT-I, widely recognized as the #1 treatment for chronic insomnia. I also integrate mindfulness and self-compassion into my practice, when helpful, to complement the success of CBT-I.
I support adults struggling with debilitating long-term insomnia or short-term sleep disruptions that can become chronic if not properly addressed.
It feels like a miracle that I can sleep again!
Thank you for the gift of sleep.
I wake up refreshed with my mind restored.
I’m no longer depressed, sad or worried about my health.
I have my sanity and my life back!
I was feeling hopeless with nothing to look forward to in life before. Now I have the tools I need to get better sleep and not worry about insomnia.
I’ve tried self-help CBT-I before, but your support and guidance and expertise have made all the difference.
This really works!
Thanks so much for your support. I’m thrilled to be insomnia free.
I’d like to cancel our next appointment as I’m sleeping well, and I don’t think we’ll have anything to talk about.
It’s obvious that you’re dedicated to your clients. You care, and it has made an incredible difference.
What My Clients Say About Doing CBT-I Treatment with Me
My CBT-I services include:
● Individual CBT-I sessions: weekly or bi-weekly sessions with customized support and tools to improve your sleep. Available online throughout much of Canada.
● Self-paced program: an online self-help program based on effective CBT-I strategies for chronic insomnia. Available worldwide.
Ready to Reclaim Your Life? Let’s Talk!
Deep, restorative sleep is essential to our well-being.
I can’t wait to help you catch some Zs and regain your quality of life.
Wondering if CBT-I is right for you? Check this self-assessment!
Considering one-on-one sessions of CBT for Insomnia?