Therapist Blogs

 

5 Tips on Parenting Adolescents: Part 2

By Matt W. Sandford, LMHC


In part 1, we looked at the influence of stress on our parenting and some ways to relieve and manage it. Here is tip number 2.

2. Examine how you handle negativity


• Here’s a shocking statement: adolescents can be negative sometimes. And dramatic. Or they could demonstrate this by going the other way and withdrawing. And when this happens, what do you usually do? Do you turn negative yourself, getting on their case about their negativity? How does that usually turn out?! Or do you throw up your hands internally and withdraw or avoid them? Most of us have a hard time being around negative people. They drag us down over time, and they resist being cheered up or redirected. So, what are some healthier options?


• First, go back to point one and address your self care and your stress level, so that you can be more present for the person you would like to help and invest in. After all, working with anyone just so you can feel better is a recipe f...

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5 Tips For Parenting Adolescents: Part 1

By Matt W. Sandford, LMHC


Life inherently contains many stressful situations. When you have kids, you multiply the number of stressful situations by a lot, and when they reach adolescence, the number usually goes through the roof. Besides, parenting can be more even challenging if you actually want to do well at it! Meaning you are probably trying hard at it (you are reading an article on parenting after all). You are to be commended. In light of the Olympics, there should be a medal for parenting these days. (In actuality, there is the medal of children who become honorable, virtuous adults). I’d like to offer five broad stroke perspectives that I believe are relevant and helpful for maneuvering through the jungle that is raising adolescents successfully. And successful does not mean just to “survive” it, although it may often feel like that. I know you long for it to be more than just that, and I believe it can be. I’ve broken down the five points into a five...

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The power of choice

We all have choices. Each day we are faced with a myriad of choices from when to get up in the morning, to what to wear and how we spend our time daily. Many choices are small ones with little significance. However, there are choices that have big consequences. If we don't stop and think we can make a choice that can alter the course of our lives forever. I was watching the show Lisa Ling had on Teen Mothers. One girl got pregnant at 14, decided to have her baby. You would think she would've learned her lesson but then she got pregnant at 16 and now has two kids. She made the choice to stop her birth control. Imagine being 17 years old and having two kids under 4. What an overwhelming experience. The choice to not protect herself and use birth control totally altered the course of her life.

Impulsive decisions can cause great consequences. It is so important to really focus and reflect on what you want out of your life and for your future. Write down your long term goals and list the ...

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Healing Grief: Help For Grief Online

Grief is an overwhelmingly painful experience when you've lost someone you love through separation or death. The bond of love and attachment to your loved one is not easily broken and usually remains after the loss of your loved one - at least for a while.

My practice in Grief Coaching & Grief Counseling online provides many resources for healing grief whether it be simple grief that is healed faster or complicated grief that generally lingers longer. In both cases the pain of the loss is very real, hard to cope with it and debilitating for a while. With the right kind of assistance to move through it, you will heal. My sessions are available online via secure, encrypted and confidential video-conferencing or locally at my offices in Santa Fe, NM or Durango, CO. Appointments can be made online at www.BrendaDiller.com

Typically, I use an integrative, holistic approach to help my clients in their healing process that often involves the use of guided imagery, spirituality, neuro-sci...

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Get your Self Esteem on.

Wait.  Now that you are a grown up person, who is making the rules for your life?  Who is telling you what to do?  Your boy friend or girl friend?  Your parents?  Your friends?  Are you allowing others to make deceisions for you?  Why is that?

 

Life is tough, and Murphey's Law is always hanging around (What can go wrong, will go wrong). You cannot make life go away, not really. 10 beers, 6 glasses of wine ,9 Schnapps, or various drugs will make you feel good, then zoned out.  You are trying to forget about the awful event you don't want to face:  your supervisor, your wife, you lost your money at the poker table, death of someone in your life, breaking up.

 

Trying to forget something, does not make it go away.  You just keep trying to forget, but it's still there.  So, the best thing to do instead of covering up your situation by running away, is to stop, turn around, and face the bad situation head on.  You wi...

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The Wall and the Bridge: Constructing a Path to Overcome Past Wounds

By Matt W. Sandford, LMHC


Everybody is wounded. It’s like we’re in a worldwide war that is always going on. From the time we were young there was shooting going on around us and sometimes we got hit. Maybe we got hit by a random bullet of shame or judgment or ridicule from a loved one? Of course they also could have been well timed sniper attacks by those who wished to take us down? Maybe we got caught in the machine gun cross fire of attacks between parents or family members? Maybe we were the victim of a tank assault that blew our church apart? Maybe it was the grenades thrown by bullies at school? Whatever kind of attack it was, I believe that no one arrives at adulthood unscathed. There’s just too much shooting going on for someone to make it with no wounds. And that includes the perpetrators, those wielding the guns and pointing the mortars and grenade launchers. Because I believe the book by Sandra Wilson, with the title, Hurt People, Hurt People. Heck, that is...

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5 Strategies for Combating Shyness And Social Anxiety Disorder: How to Build Social Skills: Part 1

By Matt Sandford, LMHC
In a previous article I provided some helps for sorting out the differences between Shyness, Introversion and Social Anxiety Disorder. This is a companion piece meant to offer suggestions for addressing the skills of the person struggling with shyness. I believe it can certainly be helpful for those who identify as introverts or those struggling with SAD as well. Let me here explain something specific concerning introversion. Unlike shyness and SAD, introversion is a personality trait, and therefore the goal, my goal, is not to change it. No one’s personality needs to change in order to be fulfilled and be their best self. Our goal should be to mature, to grow. We may need to become more comfortable with who we are, but we don’t need to change our identity. Maybe you need to understand and discover your identity, but that’s not changing it. My desire is to provide some helpful skill development, but what that means is simply developing and honing...

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What to Do About Your Little Boy Husband

By Matt W. Sandford, LMHC
I don’t mean to stereotype (too much), but do you think that husbands or boyfriends come in “types”? Although I not a fan of labeling people, I do believe that there are categories of issues that people struggle with. And by taking a look at and understanding a type, which in this case is just a description of a cluster of issues, we can gain perspective on our spouse and we can learn how to be involved in their lives in more helpful ways. My goal is not to start a bash-fest on certain husbands, but rather to equip wives (and girlfriends) to be able to engage with their partner in a way that moves him towards his best self. You see, it is true that you cannot change another person directly and that we cannot control people. But, it is like my friend says to me, “Yes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it. But you can sweeten the water.” Let’s see if we can understand what would be ways to influe...

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Feeling Behind in Life: The Myth of the Self Made Man(Person)

By Matt W. Sandford, LMHC
I often talk with people who are struggling because they feel that they are behind in life in some way. Maybe they have been timid; maybe they missed an opportunity because of circumstances or obligations, or maybe they made some poor choices earlier in their lives. Maybe they struggle with anxiety or shame that kept them from pursuing something they wanted. They talked with me and express how much they long to be married, or have the kind of job they’ve always wanted, or their longing to control their anger, or their compulsive sexual acting out. They feel regret about their past and maybe their current situation as well. And they struggle with hope as we discuss their vision of their future and how they can get there.
It turns out that often the struggle involves a vague belief that they are in some kind of race with their peers and others of their generation. Now, don’t get me wrong, any time I ask them this, invariably they all say they don&rsquo...

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Sexual Trauma and Men - A Path to Thriving

Talking about sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape is difficult for anyone. For men, it has it’s own unique challenges – often putting to question a man’s sense of his own masculinity. Men, some think more then women, are quiet about this experience. They often don’t know what path to take in dealing with such challenging memories. And we know that when people don’t talk about the hard stuff, when they hold it in, that they often get depressed, angry, sad, and feel alone and misunderstood.


For this reason, I’m offering a new path…a therapy group specifically for men who’ve experienced a sexual trauma, whether as children or adults. Anyone who identifies as male, whether he is transgender or cisgender; gay, bisexual or straight; is eligible to join. The main criteria is that he wants to be in a community where he can find ways to improve his satisfaction and contentedness with the way he is living his life. Some of the discussions will...

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