Therapist Blogs


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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

Don't Break the Bank...Or Each Other: 3 Ways to Divorce Cheaply and Peacefully

Even though divorce can be incredibly difficult with emotions running high, the truth is that any couple – that’s right, any couple can truly find common ground when it comes to the expenses associated with divorce.

Between attorneys, court fees and orders, therapy and financing a new place to live, divorce is, needless to say, expensive. Through the years, I’ve never met a couple who didn’t want to save money during the process of their separation. And when both individuals can work toward a common goal of saving money, other details of the divorce tend to go smoothly in the spirit of mutual collaboration.

Make your divorce easier – both financially and emotionally — by following these three out-of-the-box money saving tips.

Opt for Mediation

You can save a whole lot of cash if you know how to navigate the divorce process wisely. One of the best ways to reduce costs associated with divorce is to avoid the old school “lawyering up” an...

read more

'Til Age 50 Do Us Part: Divorce Commonplace Among Baby Boomers

These days, marriage is more of a long-term lease than a forever sentiment. That’s because according to the latest reports on divorce statistics, more Americans age 50 and up are divorced than widowed – and that’s the first time since 1990.

A recent article published at The New York Times tells us that divorce rates among those 50 and older has grown in the last fifty years from 2.8 percent to 15.4 percent.

Divorce trend? Maybe. But most likely, divorcees are realizing that being single at an older age isn’t so bad. That’s not to say divorce isn’t difficult. It is – but with reduced stigma and working women, divorce is becoming a feasible option when counseling doesn’t work.

As much as the stigma has been reduced, though, rising divorce rates among the older American population is not without risk. Researchers at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio say that just like widowers, divorcees will generally face economic st...

read more

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 ...

read more

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

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

Found 844 records:  Showing page 1 of 85 pages