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Jayne Havens is a certified sleep consultant and the founder of Snooze Fest by Jayne Havens and Center for Pediatric Sleep Management. As a leader in the industry, Jayne advocates for healthy sleep hygiene for children of all ages. Jayne launched her comprehensive sleep consultant certification course so she could train and mentor others to work in this emerging industry.

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Turning Prospective Clients Away with Moorea Malatt

Turning Prospective Clients Away with Moorea Malatt


Moorea is the Director of the Sleep Counseling Institute and has been supporting families for over 22 years. She’s a survivor of extreme postpartum sleep deprivation and has been providing evidence-based sleep education to professionals for the last 8 years combining the biological and behavioral sciences, lactation/ feeding science, attachment theory, and prioritizing whole-family mental health awareness. Moorea is trained in early childhood development, lactation and all forms of infant feeding, counseling psychology and Perinatal Mental Health (PMH-C). 


On this episode of the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast, Moorea shares: 

  • Circumstances that would lead her to refer a prospective client to other professionals or even another sleep consultant
  • Verbiage that she uses to make these families feel seen even though she is sending them in a different direction
  • A horror story and a lesson learned! 



Website: Sleep Counseling Institute

Instagram: @thesleepwitch


If you would like to learn more about the Becoming a Sleep Consultant, please join our free Facebook Group or check out our CPSM Website.

Book a free discovery call to learn how you can become a Certified Sleep Consultant here.



Intro: Welcome to Becoming a Sleep Consultant! I’m your host Jayne Havens, a certified sleep consultant and founder of both Snooze Fest by Jayne Havens and Center for Pediatric Sleep Management.

On this podcast, I’ll be discussing the business side of sleep consulting. You’ll have an insider’s view on launching, growing, and even scaling a sleep consulting business. This is not a podcast about sleep training. This is a podcast about business building and entrepreneurship.

Moorea is the Director of the Sleep Counseling Institute and has been supporting families for over 22 years. She’s a survivor of extreme postpartum sleep deprivation and has been providing evidence-based sleep education to professionals for the last eight years combining the biological and behavioral sciences, lactation and feeding science, attachment theory, and prioritizing whole-family mental health awareness.

Moorea is trained in early childhood development, lactation and all forms of infant feeding, counseling psychology and Perinatal Mental Health (PMH-C).

Jayne Havens: Moorea, welcome back to the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast. I’m so excited to have this conversation with you today, as always.

Moorea Malatt: I’m excited to be here again. It seems like we’re just going to take off from some other themes that we could have gone further on last time.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, we’re going to sort of carry on our conversation from before. So when I was brainstorming ideas for this podcast, actually, I asked my listeners for ideas. And people kept saying to me that they thought I should do an episode on turning clients away. I thought this was actually a really great topic. Because I think for many sleep consultants, it feels really hard to turn business away, especially when you’re first getting started.

First of all, thank you for being willing to unpack this one with me. I know, the last time we spoke, our topic was all about referring out. I guess those two topics are pretty similar. But today I wanted to focus on the why behind those situations where you decide to refer out. And maybe we can discuss some tasteful ways to do this so that our prospective clients are left feeling 100% supported even if it’s not by us.

Moorea Malatt: Absolutely.

Jayne Havens: I guess I’ll kick it off by asking you if you have any hard lines where you would always tell a prospective client that they are not best served by you.

Moorea Malatt: I think in my practice, because I do tailor a lot of my support based on the family, there aren’t a lot of really hard lines. I will say one really hard line that I will tell clients is that if they want to — I work with bed-sharing clients and with crib-sleeping clients. If they want to do like half the night in one space and half the night in another space, that is not going to get them the success that they’re hoping for. Just because in my experience, it creates a lot of anxiety in children to not know where they’re waking up or whether they’re with someone or not with someone. And so I’d say that’s a pretty hard line.

Another hard line would be if someone comes to me and is really clear that they want to do a specific book method that doesn’t really align with my values or with my practice. It’s not that I don’t think they should do it. I think they should do what method they want to do. But it won’t be a fulfilling and enriching and aligned experience for me as the professional. And I also kind of feel like in that scenario, they’re kind of telling me how to do my job, which I don’t super appreciate.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, I actually have some of that that wasn’t on my list of things to share. When I asked this question, I thought, okay, I’m going to ask you. Then I have a short list of things that wasn’t on my shortlist.

But I actually wholeheartedly agree with you. I have a lot of families that come to me with three and four-month-old babies, and they are reading that Twelve Hours by Twelve Weeks book, which literally is the only book that I’ve ever picked up that I feel so I’m aligned with. I feel like all the baby books, they all say the same thing. It’s like eat, play, sleep, three-hour-feeding schedule. They generally say the same thing. This book just feels a little bit out there for such young babies, and it feels really hard. That’s what I’m always telling parents.

Sure, you could probably do that. But it feels really hard. I feel like I can get you the same results in a way that will be easier and less stressful on you and your baby. So I’m constantly having to have conversations with parents about that.

For parents who have already stretched their eight or nine-week-old baby to go four hours without a feed during the day, it feels like a step backwards for them to go to more frequent feeds. It feels to them like they’re going in the wrong direction, but it’s the only way that I know how to help them. It’s to make it an easier day both for their baby and for them. So then I feel like we’re not aligned, because I don’t feel like it can help them have a good day on a schedule that doesn’t feel age appropriate for the baby.

Moorea Malatt: Absolutely. I think age appropriate, developmentally appropriate is so important in terms of how we support folks and keep our legal butts protected. And so it’s really important that if we hear something like a family—

Another thing I had on my list was if a family tells me that they want to do a more sped-up process — which sometimes I can work with — or they have a younger baby who needs like more “traditional sleep training” but then they’re also kind of telling me that there are some feeding challenges, and maybe the baby is really low on the growth chart, that’s another no for me. It’s going to be like, well, I know you have this goal. But you also have this risky situation, so I’m probably not the right person to take on that risk with you.

In that situation, it’s not that they shouldn’t get help. They should get help with sleep. But in that situation, I’m more likely to refer out to someone who can be in the home with them to get a better sense of how much food this baby is actually getting and making sure to look at the baby and see everything looks okay. Tone is good, and color is good, and all of that.

Jayne Havens: Okay. That’s really interesting. I always separate teaching sleep from feeding. I always separate those two. I feel like I can work on sleep with any baby. We’re just still going to feed the baby. So I guess my hard line there would be like if parents weren’t willing to feed a baby that I felt like needed to be fed, then obviously, we’d have a problem. But I’m personally comfortable with teaching the baby independent sleep skills really at any age, as long as they’re willing to feed their hungry baby. Right? So I guess we’re aligned there.

I don’t know if these are hard lines. But things that lead me to tell the client that I’m not a good fit for them are situations as sort of benign as a time zone difference. I personally don’t like to work with families on the West Coast because I’m on the East Coast, and I go to bed at 9:30 at night. And for my clients who are putting their babies or their toddlers to sleep at 8 or 8:30, that’s 11 or 11:30 for me. I’m just not cut out for it.

I feel like these parents deserve support at bedtime, and I just can’t give it to them. I just can’t, you know. I have people on the West Coast who I know will do a really great job, and I will send those families elsewhere and not feel bad about it at all. I know, in the beginning, I didn’t want to turn business away. So I was staying up super late, and I could barely keep my eyes open. I was trying my best to support them and falling asleep mid support. That’s just not fair to our clients, right? Would you agree?

Moorea Malatt: I would so agree. And I would also say, with that last bit you said, if we are not properly taking care of our sleep, then we’re a bit of hypocrites.

Jayne Havens: Well, that’s how I felt. That’s how I felt. It’s like I actually really prioritize my own sleep. That’s something that’s important for me. My husband regularly survives on five hours of sleep a night, and I have no idea how he does it. I need eight hours. That’s what my body needs. I can’t survive on less. Here I am coaching families to establish healthy sleep hygiene in their homes, and I’m up until two or three hours past my bedtime? That’s not fair to me.

Moorea Malatt: Yeah, absolutely. I think with the coastal situation, I don’t come across that too much because I actually don’t offer time of text service or anything like that for most of my packages. Only for my VIP clients. So I have the highest package which is like a VIP package. And for those folks, yeah, I couldn’t take on an East Coast client because I am not going to be up that late. It’s just not going to happen for me.

Jayne Havens: That’s so interesting. We’ll have to do a whole other episode on what it looks like for you to support—

Moorea Malatt: For them it’s like…

Jayne Havens: —sorry. I was just going to say we have to do a whole episode another day to talk about what it looks like for you to support your clients not in real time.

Moorea Malatt: Yeah, totally.

Jayne Havens: Let’s put that on the list.

Moorea Malatt: It’s actually something that took a while to come up with. In my practice, and also for my students too, it has led to families actually taking more control over their own sleep plan. So it’s been a good process for me to make that shift. But when they’re doing bedtime on the East Coast, I’m feeding my children dinner, right? So that’s not maybe the ideal situation for a VIP client for me.

Jayne Havens: Right. What about just when you get onto a discovery call with a mom or a dad, and you just feel like you aren’t jiving? You don’t necessarily — you can’t pinpoint the red flag, but you just feel like it’s not entirely a good fit. Are you at the point in your business where you are making recommendations for them to work with somebody else? Are you taking the gamble? What does that look like for you?

Moorea Malatt: Well, it rarely happens that someone doesn’t feel like a good fit just for a simple energetic reason. Usually, it’s more of like a red flag. That might be, to me, what stands out as a red flag in all the years I’ve been doing this might be just a weird energetic feeling for someone who hasn’t been doing it. As long I think as my guess about why I feel just the energetic not alignment last and more just see a red flag in someone — something that’s said or something where their goal doesn’t seem to align with where I can get them to.

I would say that the most common feeling that I get on a discovery call, which I do for about 15 minutes, is when someone is pretty clearly struggling really hard with postpartum mental health challenges, which I work with quite a bit. I’m perinatal mental health certified and almost a marriage and family therapist right now.

But if they don’t already have a care team surrounding them for that parent who’s experiencing mental health challenges and it seems like things are really severe, and they also either don’t have the family or hired support that can really get them through this process or a partner who can take over the sleep plan, or they just don’t have the resources, and they don’t have the support, and they don’t have the care team, that’s not going to be a good fit for my business.

Sometimes it works out because I can help them find those people. And so that’s where I kind of tend to try and start. But then if there’s resistance about getting extra help, getting household help, giving over some nighttime childcare to the other parent, if they’re unwilling to do that — which is so common with postpartum anxiety, like we as parents with postpartum anxiety feel like we can’t give over any care to another adult — that’s going to be really hard.

If someone’s really very upset and on just the 15-minute call is crying, then it’s also telling me, “I don’t think I can do this. I don’t know if I can do this. I don’t know if this is—” If they’re specifically telling me things like, “I don’t know if I can do it. I don’t think I can do it,” that’s probably not going to be somebody who’s ready.

And so that might not be the client who I turn away. But it’s probably the client who I honestly for free help set up with other resources, and then let them know that when they’re more ready in terms of getting more support for themselves and their life, that I’ll be ready and willing and happy to help them with sleep.

Then I can also tell them that while they’re figuring that out, I can be someone that they talk to, just vent to about sleep. I can give them a sleep education as well. I have packages for that, where if they just want to talk about how awful sleep is — because I went through it, so I’m a good person to talk to about that — we can do that. I can give them a sleep education so that they can start thinking about where we’re going to be headed. But that doesn’t mean that I’m going to be supporting them through a significant sleep plan that they’re clearly not going to be able to implement.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, so, really, you just answered my next question which was going to be, like, do you have verbiage or language that you use in these circumstances to handle it? I love the idea of providing them with a safe space to just vent about their struggles without any pressure to make any changes. Just I’m here to hear you, and I understand how hard it is because I’ve been there myself. I also love the idea of just providing education without support. I’m curious what that looks like for you. Is that like online courses where you sort of walk them through what it would look like to make the changes without any support?

Moorea Malatt: Yeah, I can refer them to my online courses. That’s something that I do. Because that’s going to be a cheaper option for them, right? So if it seems like if the support package was going to be a stretch for them already, and I’m not really going to help them get to their goals in this situation, it seems best to send them the online course which is really going to talk a lot about the concepts of what we’re going for.

Then if they wanted to try and do, I would counsel them probably not to try and do it on their own in this case. But I would say use it as a way to get some sleep education, because there’s quite a bit of sleep education in my courses. But I also sometimes just do it. People sometimes just want to talk to somebody.

Sometimes I’ll just say like, “Give me all your questions about sleep.” So I’ll let them vent. I’ll send them a package which is not as significantly priced as a full-on, long-term support package. We might meet a couple of times. They’re going to vent to me about how awful sleep is, and how they’re not ready, and what all their feelings are. I usually, in that case, make sure they also have a therapist.

But often, that therapist doesn’t really know anything about sleep. Oftentimes, they have never even raised children. Unfortunately, that’s the case a lot of the time. So then they’ll vent to me and I will then say, what are all your questions about sleep? Tell me your questions. You’ve probably heard and read so many things on the internet. I need to know what’s true and what’s not true. You have so many worries about so many things around sleep, so let’s discuss those. Then I’ll write down what the topics are. Then afterward, I’ll email you data on every single question you had so that you can have evidence-based answers.

Jayne Havens: I love that. Then I would imagine some of them at some point circle back around for support when they’re ready, and others just don’t. Right?

Moorea Malatt: Honestly, I would say a good 90% of them circle back around.

Jayne Havens: That’s amazing. To me, when I listened to you describe that, it just sounds like you’re building a level of trust with them. Like, I’m not here to change anything that you don’t want to change. I’m just here to listen to you and to educate you. And when you’re ready to make a change, we can do that together.

Moorea Malatt: Yeah, and sometimes that even happens when someone has purchased a sleep plan package, and everything seemed okay and we started moving forward. I’ve had this new branding change where I call what I do sleep counseling. That’s part of all this that we’re talking about. But sometimes I think we’re going to spend our first 60-minute call co-creating a sleep plan together. But then it kind of turns out that as we’re doing that, they realize, “Oh, gosh. I’m really not ready for this.” Then there’s more time and space for listening to why they feel like that.

Then sometimes we end the call with, “I’m going to write you a sleep plan. I’m going to send it to you. You can send a bunch of questions back, and I’ll answer them. You don’t have to start the plan. You don’t have to start it. You can wait a little bit. If you wait three months or more, we’re going to have to redo a new package. But you can wait and then let me know later when you want to start night one.” So that’s something I think is maybe sometimes a little different in the way that I work. I’ll start like a two-week support time when they tell me that night one starts, not when they signed up for it or something.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, sure. Going back to the families that you really feel like you just aren’t best suited to support for one reason or another, have you developed — I don’t know. I sort of want to call them strategic alliances, people that you refer out to that you just know would be a better fit in those unique circumstances. How does that look for you? Do you feel like what goes around comes around? If you’re referring business one way, it comes back to you in another, and you don’t worry about it so much anymore?

Moorea Malatt: Yeah. In terms of other sleep professionals, you mean?

Jayne Havens: Yeah.

Moorea Malatt: Well, I think what’s nice — I’m sure you might understand this too as a teacher — is that sometimes our students have other trainings even that we don’t have, right? Like you and I both probably have newborn care specialists as some of our students and postpartum doulas as some of our students. And so I would say one of the most common referrals that I make is for someone who has a young baby, especially like the three- to four-month transition that’s happening, and they’re just struggling so hard.

When they’re really underwater, with sleep deprivation, and they’re struggling really hard, and maybe there’s some colic, and maybe this is just a baby who’s just feeling like they’re really struggling with life, sometimes it’s so helpful to have the sleep professional be someone who can really be in home, which I can’t do because I work internationally. So I can’t be in everybody’s home.

So that’s often going to be — ideally, first, it’ll be my students. They might not even be utilizing anything I taught them. They might be utilizing, just giving like respite support. So that would be a big thing that happens. I would say, “Let’s work together maybe later. I’m going to send you some respite support. Because I think what you really need before you can implement this sleep plan is to sleep a little bit first.”

Jayne Havens: Sure.

Moorea Malatt: Or it’s someone who really has some significant early sleep goals, because they have to go back to work really early. They have an idea about the kind of sleep training that they want to do, and it’s not something that aligns with my practice. So I’m likely to send that to one of my students who also does that kind of work or one of my peers who does that kind of work.

I guess I know sleep professionals all over the country who can do that, so it’s been pretty easy. I get the same kind of referrals from them. Because usually, most of us lean a little to the side of a spectrum. And so we’re going to have people who don’t align, and then we know who we can send them to. So that happens all of the time.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, I personally don’t support families that want to continue to bedshare and improve sleep. It’s just not my wheelhouse. I fully think that those parents deserve support. I think that parents should be free to raise their babies and sleep with their children however they want to. That’s fine.

You do you. I just don’t feel like I’m the best person to help them out. I love that I have a network of sleep consultants, including you, who feel more comfortable supporting those cases and will serve them at a higher level. Because that’s just not what I do. Those families deserve the same support as the clients that I regularly help out. And if I can’t do it, absolutely, I want to make sure that they are in the best of hands.

Moorea Malatt: Yeah, and I think that that makes sense. Because I think the only reason that I work with those families is because I went through it. And I wasn’t even planning on nursing as long as I nursed and all of that. And so I think sometimes it just helps to have more familiarity with what it’s actually like for the parents to do the sleep work. Sometimes if we haven’t been in that spot before and we can’t empathize, then somebody else maybe can.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, I agree. I think that’s helpful, but I don’t think it’s a hard line. I think it’s important to say that. Because as somebody who teaches people how to support others, I always tell them there are so many circumstances that we will support that we’ve never been through ourselves. Right? I don’t have multiples, and I work with twins all the time. Not all the time but, like, enough. I’m comfortable with it. I’ve never lived it. I’ve never had two babies at once.

I’ve never had kids who share a room. My two kids have always been in separate bedrooms. I regularly am supporting — I’m actually working with two-and-a-half-year-old twin boys right now who share a room. I’ve worked with kids who are three and five who share a room. I think sometimes these are major mental hurdles for sleep consultants, where they want to refer out because they haven’t personally had experience with it before. But I don’t know.

Look, I think that we should all step aside and let somebody step in if we’re feeling like we lack confidence and that we’re really not going to be able to get our clients results. I think that that’s really important. But as somebody who teaches others, I also think that there’s a place and a time to jump in and try and, at least with my students, lean on our community for support so that we can help you through it.

Moorea Malatt: Yeah, definitely. I think I would agree with you on all of the instances that you just mentioned, with the twins and the figuring out how to share a room together and all of that. I think, for me, what feels different about bed sharing is that when we have new professionals who are — let’s say, they’re in your program, and they’re learning from you. My guess is that they’re learning a set of principles.

A lot of the principles can be — same in my program. A lot of the principles can be taken from one scenario to the other. Because the situation is different and the details might be different. But the principles around behavior and stuff and how a parent shows up in the room, those principles really carry over. And in my experience, a family who wants to stay bedsharing, is operating, is going to need to operate under some kind of different principle—

Jayne Havens: Different principles.

Moorea Malatt: —than the usual ones, you know.

Jayne Havens: Fair enough, yeah.

Moorea Malatt: And so that’s why it’s like, okay, if you’ve learned those principles or if you have experienced working through them yourself, it could go either way. You don’t have to have been in that experience. But it’s a different set of principles.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, I think that that’s right. I’m glad that you were able to articulate the difference, because I think that that’s exactly right. As you’ve sort of gained experience in your career, I would imagine you’re way more comfortable making these calls, seeing it from a mile away, whether or not it’s going to be a good fit for you, whether you’re going to be able to fully serve those clients or not. Is that a way easier decision and something that you can pinpoint and see than if you were to look back however many years ago?

Moorea Malatt: Oh, my goodness, yes. I just had a call with my students where it was like the first call of our quarter. We talked about fit and assessment. So we just got through with this. I can even share with you one of the case study emails if you want.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, sure.

Moorea Malatt: Because, you know, you and I can only do so much to teach what some of the red flags may be that have come from our practice. Then still, what I told them was they’re going to need to learn some hard lessons. Right? Because even if we tell them like, especially when new professionals are getting out there trying to make a name for themselves, yeah, of course, we’re not wanting to turn down clients. We probably need the money as well, right? And so sometimes it just takes getting through that experience to then really know. Oh, I wish I hadn’t taken that because I did have a feeling about it right away.

So yes, absolutely. It’s so easy for me now to know who’s going to be the right fit. I would say I only recently have one instance in the last few years of someone who wasn’t the right fit. I sadly took them anyway. But it’s super easy now. And for our students, it’s not going to be super easy to know right away. It is a learning process, and it is trial by fire sometimes.

Jayne Havens: Yeah. So are you willing to share?

Moorea Malatt: Yeah, so this was an email from a client. I changed the names so that I could share it with my students. I thought it’d be fun to share it on your podcast.

Jayne Havens: Please do.

Moorea Malatt: Okay. So it goes like this. “Hello. I’m Jennifer. My husband is Jack and won’t be a part of this as he is often on tour and not involved much with childcare. My baby boy is Hurley. With the help of overnight nannies, we did a sort of cry-it-out Ferber with longer periods with our first two children. And it was easy. But our new baby is 10 weeks and immediately cries whenever I lay him down, so I can’t do our regular method.

I’m reaching out for something that will be better for him. I’d like a plan where I can hold him as much as I want to and then transfer him asleep into his crib, so I don’t have to hear any crying. Because I don’t seem to be able to tolerate it the way that I used to.

Can we have a quick call so that you can tell me what all the steps of your sleep plan would be so that I will know if I agree with your method or not? I need to be able to get eight hours of sleep, and I’m happy to wean to a formula if I need to. And can you let me know if you could possibly give us a cheaper price? Because we just spent a lot of money on vacation we’re taking next week.” So I brought that up to my students because I’m like, how many red flags can you spot? Right?

Jayne Havens: Yeah, right. I think, actually, I’m really glad you read that. Because I actually think a lot of people would take it on in the beginning.

Moorea Malatt: Go with it, yeah.

Jayne Havens: They would.

Moorea Malatt: Yeah, they would.

Jayne Havens: They would take it on. Yeah, I had a little bit of a — I don’t want to say a horror story. We were using that word before when we were chatting offline. I had a situation recently where it’s mom and dad with, I think the baby was about eight months old. The dad, I think, was verbally abusive. I could tell from our joint text message thread when we first got started.

He wasn’t on the discovery call. The way that mom spoke about him felt like she was a little scared. That was a red flag. I ignored it because, or I didn’t ignore it. But I let it slide through because she told me that he wasn’t going to be involved in the process. So I thought, okay, I can work with just mom, and we can get this done.

But then, when we started the first night of teaching this little boy how to fall asleep in a new way, all of a sudden, dad was on the text yelling at me on the text message thread, and had so many criticisms and was so angry about everything that we were doing. He wasn’t on the discovery call. He did not read the sleep plan. He was not on the call where we talked about the plan, where I include three to four different sleep training techniques in every sleep plan that I send for infants — all the way from a very gradual, very parent-present, as they say, gentle sleep training approaches, all the way through the more sort of traditional stuff.

This dad took no part in any of these conversations until the eleventh hour. Then I found myself in this dynamic between the two parents where I felt like, wow, they don’t need a sleep consultant. They need marriage counseling. She might need a safe space. Like, this is really bad. I had to then put it on pause and say that we need to get you guys some resources before I can help you. Right?

Moorea Malatt: Absolutely.

Jayne Havens: That was after I had already started. So this wasn’t like referring out in advance. This was like, we’re going to put a stop to this. Here are some resources for you, mom, and circle back around when things are in a better place. That was the end of that.

Moorea Malatt: I do the same thing, Jayne. Sometimes we have to stop the sleep plan that we’ve already started, and sometimes we have to really say hard things. I’ve been exactly in that same position a long time ago. It’s so great that you bring it up, because it’s one of those where I didn’t write it down because it’s so like a normal part of the way that I filter people. It’s making sure that the other part, the non-default partner or the one who hasn’t reached out if there is another partner, is if not participating, supportive.

That’s something I’ve got to know. Because even if it weren’t someone who were abusive, like in this situation which that has happened as well, even if that’s not that kind of scenario, I really want the person having to do the work of this plan. This is really a hard work. This is not easy. I want to know that that person has some support in their life, especially if the other adult who lives in the home with them is supportive of them. That’s what we need to be happening.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, those situations are really hard.

Moorea Malatt: I wanted to ask you, did you actually send them resources from marriage counseling?

Jayne Havens: I did.

Moorea Malatt: You did? That’s amazing.

Jayne Havens: I did. Well, because I got the impression that this mom was not entirely safe, honestly. This was really bad. This wasn’t just me being nervous and overreacting. I had never seen anything like this. I actually have a really good relationship with a therapist who specializes in perinatal mental health who lived near them. I called her right away. I was like, I need some resources. I didn’t just send them a marriage therapist. I sent her a list of recommendations. So it wasn’t just like, “You need marriage counseling.” It was like, “Here are all—” I basically compiled a short list of resources for her. And on that list was marriage counseling.

Moorea Malatt: Perfect. Because that’s the way that I do it, is I send. I’ll kind of embed it.

Jayne Havens: That’s exactly what I did. It was embedded.

Moorea Malatt: Sandwich it, you know.

Jayne Havens: Yeah.

Moorea Malatt: Yeah, that’s sometimes what we need to do, is sandwich some important resources. Oh, gosh. And also, it would have been so — I guess in that case, it would have been a risk, but I probably might have also sent some resources around domestic violence.

Jayne Havens: I did.

Moorea Malatt: Yeah, but I would’ve might send it directly to her.

Jayne Havens: I did, yeah. I didn’t send it to him. I sent it to her. I first had a phone call with her asking her if that would be okay. I asked her: “I don’t know. Does your husband read your text messages? Does he read your emails?” I asked all of those questions. I was coached by an amazing mental health professional to make sure that I could keep her safe. I don’t know what she did with those resources. I can’t say. But I did my best as somebody who’s a lay person to try and set her up for success.

Moorea Malatt: Yeah, beautiful story. That’s really great for our students to hear.

Jayne Havens: I hadn’t thought about it until we were chatting a little bit pre-hitting the record button. I hadn’t thought about that in a really long time. And now it’s like all flooding back to me. I hope she’s okay.

Moorea Malatt: That’s as far as you can go.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, that’s as far as I could go. Going back to sort of why do we refer out, why do we pause, why do we say no to families, at the end of the day, I think we have to protect our own mental health. In that situation, my mental health was about to be compromised.

First of all, very quickly, this father was very intimidating to me. He had me shaking in my boots within the first ten minutes of being on the text message thread. So right away, I wanted to protect myself. Because this is my business, and I get to run it my way. At the end of the day, it has to serve me. Of course, I’m helping families, and I want to get them results. I want to support them at the highest level. But also, I can’t have my own mental health be in the gutter over somebody else’s marital problems. I’m not in the position to do that to myself and my business.

Moorea Malatt: And I think that sometimes our students or our folks who are newer to the business might look at that same situation, might be in that same situation, and take it to a place of worry that the toxic individual, if you pause your sleep plan and don’t deliver, is then going to lash out on social media, on Yelp, or whatever and might continue just to try and appease the toxic person so that you feel like it doesn’t hurt your business.

So I think it’s really important to have the kind of confidence that Jayne has had in that situation, to be able to know ethics and principles and taking care of yourself has to come before all of your worries about a bad review. They have to come before.

Jayne Havens: Yes, absolutely. Before we wrap up, I think we got to bring it home on a more positive note. Since I just shared my horror story, I think I would be—

Moorea Malatt: I didn’t really share my horror story yet though, Jayne.

Jayne Havens: I know. Okay. Fine. Do you want to share your horror story? You share your horror story.

Moorea Malatt: Let me quickly share my horror story, and then let’s go to the positive. Okay. So my horror story is that, this was just early last year. It came back into my head because I did my taxes. I was like, oh, this is some weird numbers happening. Oh, I remember that.

I had a client reached out to me because one of my old students was in a place in her life where she couldn’t take on her friends as a client. First off, I now know that I’m not going to take my student’s friends as clients. But this is folks who I was told, you know, the mom was struggling really hard but did have two mental health professionals already supporting her, had a partner who was home most of the time.

And so I took on these clients. They had a baby who was about three and a half months old. Perfect time to do a bunch of sleep work. She was extremely sleep-deprived and had a basinet by the bed. Okay. Everything seems okay. We can do this.

Everything went off without a hitch. The only thing was that I had a weird feeling. I knew mom was upset. But this is the work that I do, right? She had postpartum depression and anxiety but was getting treatment. There was a weird dynamic between mom and dad. He did show up on the call, but he was looking at his phone a bunch but then would interject. It seemed like he was alternately thinking she was wrong about everything, and then alternately protecting her from trying to change anything.

But the call kind of went okay, and we came up with a sleep plan together. I sent the tailored sleep plan for them. They said they were about to go on vacation. They would read it on the plane. I guess his way of supporting her was take her on a vacation. But then they’re taking the baby, so it’s not really that easy, right? So that also could’ve been a red flag. Vacation is not necessarily going to make it easier on this mom. Then they wrote me from the airplane and said, “It looks perfect. We can’t wait to get started.”

They were on vacation. Bad things happened on vacation. They didn’t really tell me all the details of it. They came back and wanted to talk with me again because they had a bunch of questions about the plan suddenly. I was like, okay. We’ll do that. We’ll get the answers in the call.” I answered all their questions. She said, “Okay. I’m getting it now. I just need to buckle down, and I might be able to do this.” He was on the call too. He said, “I’m going to take this portion.” He actually said what he was going to do. Perfect. You’re going to support each other.

But at the end of the call, he turned to her and said something like, “I don’t really know if you’re going to be able to do this. I might have to do everything myself.” It felt kind of abusive, right? It felt kind of like she just said she’s going to do it, and you’re going to help. And now you’re telling her you don’t think she can do it. The next thing I heard from them was, he emailed me. He’s a lawyer. He emailed me and said, “You’re going to give me all of our money back.” I was like, what the heck? It’s just so weird. So weird.

I said no, here’s my refund policy. I said, “And if you don’t want to go forward with the plan, here are couple other ways you can use your investment with me.” I gave various options for the future, for toilet learning for the future. I gave all the possible ways. I don’t want you to feel like if you don’t want to do this, that your money is wasted. It’s a lot of money. So I sent that. The next that I heard was PayPal shutting down my account, because he filed this massive complaint that I wouldn’t return his money. It was a very long process. I had every email to prove that I had delivered.

And so, after a long process, first, they took all my money out of my — PayPal took like all my money out of my account. They wouldn’t give me access. Then finally, they eventually refunded. First, they refunded him. Then they had take it out of him and refund me again. It all wound up being okay. It’s just another example of one of those.

You just get the tiniest feeling where something might be slightly wrong but not super overt. You either learn something or you just feel like, well, that was kind of a fluke. And I hope that never happens again. Even me in my knowing what to look for, it wasn’t quite enough. I still don’t know what the dynamic was between them that led to all of this. But it was something between them. I don’t think it had anything to do with me.

Jayne Havens: No, I think it rarely does have anything to do with us. I’m very impressed that you were able to get your money back in PayPal. Because I feel like PayPal always, always sides with the customer in my experience. I truly actually don’t use PayPal for that reason.

Moorea Malatt: Thank you. It’s just that I had so much documentation.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, that’s amazing. Well, kudos to you. That’s the positive on the negative right there. It’s that you ultimately won. But in the spirit of this conversation, talking about when to refer out and when to send people in another direction, I’d love to give you a few moments to just share a little bit about your sleep consultant certification course. Because while I would love to have all of the listeners enroll in CPSM, I recognize that different types of people are looking for different types of education. So tell everybody a bit about your training. And where they can connect with you if they’d like to learn more about what you teach?

Moorea Malatt: Yeah, thank you. So I have been teaching some version of my sleep certification course for a little over eight years. It used to be called Sleep Savvy Certification. But I recently, early on this year, had a rebranding. And so now my website is sleepcounselinginstitute.com. You can click from there over to the page that tells you all about sleep certification. I take typically really small cohorts of students. So either two quarters a year, or sometimes I do more than two quarters a year depending on what I’ve got going on in my life. I take up to about 10 professionals.

We do online course work. Then we get together on Zoom and workshop cases, sometimes difficult cases. Then form there, it’s more of a mentorship program, more on one-on-one, to help students through practicum cases in their own business that I help them figure out how to get. Then I have like, as little as three months, they can complete it in three months. Or they can take it as long as a year, depending on what’s going on with their work and how quickly they’re able to drum up clients with all the other work they might have. And yeah, that’s basically it. Sleepcounselinginstitute.com.

Jayne Havens: Perfect. It’s always so great chatting with you. I’ve really enjoyed our conversations. I feel like you and I, we probably, our businesses look very different in a lot of ways but also very similar in others. We may coach different types families in different ways. But also, in many ways, I think you and I always sort of come back to the center and align on a lot of different things. And I always really appreciate that.

I think that there’s room for all different types of support. All different types of families deserve whatever support they’re looking for. I love being connected with a professional like you who can maybe take on some of the cases that are not best suited for me and vice versa.

Moorea Malatt: Same. I love watching your business flourish.

Jayne Havens: Thank you.

Moorea Malatt: I think that, yeah, we have different ways that we practice, but we’re very aligned on things like the ethics of making sure everybody gets the support that they need and want.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, first and foremost, I think that that’s always the most important. I think that that’s the key to growing a healthy business. It’s really when you’re looking our for the best interest of the people who you serve. Sometimes, that means that you don’t actually serve them yourself. Right?

Moorea Malatt: That’s right. That’s absolutely right. Sometimes it means that you’d actually need an occupational therapist and not a sleep consultant too.

Jayne Havens: Right. Sometimes they need other supports. Maybe they need a neuro-counselor. Maybe they need an OT. Right? There are all sorts of things — breast feeding support, whatever it is — to make sure that these families are thriving and just doing better than they were yesterday. I don’t know. That’s what it’s about for me.

Moorea Malatt: That’s it.

Jayne Havens: Well, thank you as always.

Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, it would mean so much to me if you would rate, review, and subscribe. When you rate, review, and subscribe, this helps the podcast reach a greater audience. I am so grateful for your support.

If you would like to learn more about how you can become a certified sleep consultant, head over to my Facebook Group, Becoming a Sleep Consultant or to my website thecpsm.com. Thanks so much, and I hope you will tune in for the next episode.

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