Therapist Blogs


The 5 Most Common Anxiety Symptoms

Are you suffering from anxiety? The list of symptoms is so long and diverse, it almost seems that the answer is always, “Yes!” In fact, everyone suffers from anxiety on occasion – nerves when an important meeting is looming, jitters before even the keenest performer steps on stage, butterflies or heebie-jeebies or cold feet or the shakes in anticipation of even a happy occasion. The number of euphemisms we have created for the condition indicates how universal it is.

But those words describe common anxiety. Anxiety that earns the label of anxiety disorder is something all together different.

There are actually several forms of anxiety disorder, each with its own identity:
• Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by long-lasting worry about unrealistic and unspecific fears. This excessive anxiety and tension interferes with daily life.
• Phobia, on the other hand, is very focused on a specific object, place, or situation. People with a phobia rearrange...

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Catastrophizing - 5 Steps to Calming Calamity

Catastrophizing - 5 Steps to Calming Calamity (part 2)
Suggestions to help limit catastrophizing and to alleviate self-destructive tendencies.
(Part I of Catastrophizing, What If…@

If you were catastrophizing, would you recognize it? Could you spot catastrophizing in someone else? If you don’t know you’re doing it, you won’t be able to stop. Dr. John Grohol recommends recording negative thoughts on paper and to write down what happened as objectively as possible, what you thought about the situation, and then what your reaction or behaviors were. 

Over a week’s time, you’ll begin to see a pattern emerge of when you’re most likely to catastrophize and some of the thoughts or situations that most likely lead to it. 

Now (looking at your negative thoughts recordings) that you can see some of the direct cause and effects of your thoughts, you can begin the process of steering your thoughts in a healthy direction.* Stopp...

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Nine Charactertistics of Anger Behavior

Characteristics of Anger Behavior:

  • You don’t own or state your feelings directly—you slam doors, call people names, refuse to talk.
  • You may use sarcasm to express your anger and frustration.
  • You loose your temper and fly off the handle-have temper tantrums.
  • You intimidate others so they react defensively to you.
  • You insist on getting your own way.
  • You blame others or complain, things are always someone else’s fault
  • You hold grudges and vow to “get even
  • You make statements like “you make m"e mad”
  • You use explosive words and hand gestures

What is anger?

  • relates to a violation of one's standards; either you or someone else has violated these standards
  • sometimes these standards need to get re-evaluated
  • Anger is a secondary emotion- first you feel fear of loss (love, control, your integrity) then hurt, then anger.

Psychological Payoffs / Secondary Gains

  • Attention-getting behavior—people have to notice you
  • You feel a sen...

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Disappointment: How does it Happen?

What are some examples people have reported of experiences that led to feelings of  ‘disappointment?”

1- a love relationship collapses                                         5- no recognition for hard work you have been doing

2- you get turned down for job you really wanted               6- a friend, family member or date does not call

3- feeling misunderstood by a spouse or family member      7- a partner/family cancels a planned dinner

4- you just can't seem to reach a weight target                   8- poor performance and greades at school or s...

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Six Key Factors To Assess in Yourself and Others

Assess Six Factors in Others and Yourself

Whether you are learning about a prospective mate, deciding on a new business partner, or resolving a current problem with a friend or family member, here are six factors to consider.

First and Foremost: a well-developed sense of responsibility

  • Words and actions match;
  • agreed-upon division of labor
  • No withdrawing from difficult situations or blaming another and venting and ranting

Second: Self-Awareness: how well you know yourself

  • and how well someone knows him or herself.
  • Knowing oneself requires you think clearly about your desires and values. 
  • Until you see someone in a variety of situations you won’t know if he can be respectful when angry or communicative when stressed
  • Most people do not lie; they may however employ self-deceptive thinking telling you what they believe to be true about themselves

Third: know what someone values

  • If you know what matters to someone you will be able to adjust your expecta...

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5 Tips For Parenting Adolescents: Part 5

By Matt W. Sandford, LMHC

In part four of the series, we discussed ways to balance between short and long term goals in our parenting. In this last section we will examine the issue of our children’s development towards autonomy and ways we can effectively nurture this process.

5. Foster autonomy

• In the teen years it becomes more readily apparent that your kids are not going to be under your roof forever. Some of you are excited about this, and some are broken up about it. But either way, it has been what you have been actually working towards all along: to see your kids grow up.

• Autonomy is a big part of maturity. Autonomy means to be self governing, self directed. Not in the childish sense of – I want my way! But the maturity to make decisions about what is best based on sound principles. Autonomy goes best when paired with responsibility and wisdom.

• But, here’s the rub for most parents. I want my child to mature and become autonomous, but ...

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5 Tips For Parenting Adolescents: Part 4

By Matt W. Sandford, LMHC

In part three of the series, we took on the difficult challenge of letting go of control. In this section, the topic is managing our short and long-term goals and how keeping these two in balance affects our approach in parenting.

4. Hold Onto Both Short and Long Term Goals

• We all have them: short-term goals, usually being what I want to accomplish right now or today or this week, and long-term goals, usually what I want to accomplish over the next few months or years. Some of these goals we are consciously aware of, and others lie in the back of our minds and surface periodically or when provoked into consciousness by obstacles to their fulfillment. But, whether or not we are aware of them, I believe we are generally purposeful people who are directed by our heart goals. However, sometimes our short-term goals run counter to our long-term ones, and we may not be mindful of how our efforts to address our short-term interests are interfering with our ...

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Your Choices and Meditation

You go through life automatically, not feeling quite right but not knowing why. You go to a job you hate, come home, make dinner, watch TV, and start all over again, waiting for your vacation to forget the emptiness of your life for one or two weeks. And you ask yourself, “This can’t be all there is”. And you’re right…this isn’t all there is. And, believe it or not, you always have a choice to continue to live on automatic pilot or to make the effort to become more aware of who you are and what you really want.

Socrates is reported to have said, “The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being”. Mindfulness is a powerful tool for becoming aware of our own thought processes and, eventually, of your erroneous beliefs. Daily meditation helps to quiet the body and mind and reconnect with your heart and its yearnings. While this can be scary, the rewards are unestimable. There is always the risk that this increased awareness will b...

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You Are A Miracle: Self-acceptance Fosters Resilience

The most difficult thing in the world for many of you is to love yourself. No matter what your issues might be: Addictions, emotional eating, impulse control issues, anger, depression, intense unexplained sadness…you carry with you an inner condemnation of who you are and of your intrinsic goodness. Your self-talk reflects that lack of self-acceptance. You tell yourself, “I should have done this, I’m an idiot”, “Why can’t I get it together once and for all? What’s wrong with me?” “Why bother trying? I’m going to fail anyway. I always do”.

Every time you set a goal for yourself and you do not follow through, you beat yourself up. If you talked to your friends in the same way as you talk to yourself, you wouldn’t have any friends left. You condemn yourself for past behaviours, carry guilt, regret and resentment like badges of honour. “At least if I feel guilty,” you tell yourself, “that shows that...

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5 Tips For Parenting Adolescents: Part 3

By Matt W. Sandford, LMHC

In part two we examined how to deal with negativity in one’s adolescent. Part three is about the parent’s need for control and how to make productive adjustments.
1. Give up Control
• Not many people would label themselves as ‘controlling’. Certainly not when they can put such acceptable and positive terms to it. “I would do anything to help my son”, “I’m just trying to make sure they don’t get into trouble”, “They never would do their homework or their chores if I didn’t remind them”. “They are so lazy”. “My daughter just won’t let up until I let her stay up late, have the newest this or that, etc.”
• Control is not always what you think. Sometimes it is the traditional kind, meaning I believe I am helping you by getting you to do or think what I think you should do or think. Sometimes the form of control is so insidious that it looks like the o...

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