February 19, 2024

Grief Resources in Austin and Beyond

When you need more than your loved ones can provide, there is help.         

Resources for Grief and Support Groups  

Compassionate Friends - National Org.


Grief Recovery ~ The Action Program for Moving Beyond Loss


Cancer Support Community - Benjamin Center

The Widowed Parent - University of North Carolina
A new online resource specifically for parents who have   
lost a spouse or partner and are raising children on their own. 

The aim of Dying Your Way is to promote, educate and provide  
practical solutions for people involved in the process of dying.

Content thanks to Grief Haven

Additional Resources for the Austin, Texas Area 
for women mourning the death of their mothers
1st & 3rd MONDAY EVENINGS In-Person   512.472.7878

for adults grieving the death of a parent

for LGBTQIA+ adults who have experienced disenfranchised loss 

Content thanks to Austin Center for Grief & Loss 

THE CHRISTI CENTER The Christi Center is a free resource for any grieving                                                                                          person in Central Texas. We provide the space for you to build your support network,                                                                              by connecting you with others who have had a similar loss. We welcome all faiths,                                                                                    all backgrounds and all ages starting at age five.

Sandy Andrews, Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist Austin, Texas  
specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT 
Sandy Andrews, PhD Licensed Psychologist CBT Austin Texas 78704 

September 19, 2023

On Desire in Long Term Relationships

Experiencing the sexual doldrums? Bored? Unmotivated? Waiting for your partner to light the spark? This interview with psychotherapist Esther Perel on sexual desire within a long term relationship might provide insights. Give a listen, here. (Interview by Lewis Howe). 

Want more? Take a listen to Esther Perel's TED talk on sexual desire and "erotic intelligence" here.   She is an informed and fascinating speaker.  

Want more still? Read her book, Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence. 

January 19, 2023

New Job? Say Hi with Confidence


Anxiety around introducing yourself at your new job? Ruminating about virtual meeting introductions?  First of all, congratulations! You're hired! 

Second, help is on the way. Prepare by thinking of these three words: Present, Past, and Future. Read more, here

Haven't gotten there yet? Tips for finding a new job, here. Cognitive strategy: Give yourself the pep talk you would give your good friend when they are feeling discouraged. 

Shout out to Hollie Neujahr, Colorado Physical Therapist, for the linkedIn post, here

September 21, 2022

Feeling Low? A Pleasant Events List Might Help

In honor of the first day of the fall season, I am re-posting my Pleasant Events List.  Those of you who read the previous post will be glad to see I've made a few changes, out with some of the old and in with some new ideas.

For those reading this list for the first time, what is it all about?

When someone is experiencing a sad, down, angry, lonely, or otherwise lowered mood, one tip that can help is to consult your own personal Pleasant Events List.

Below is a lonnnnnng list of Pleasant Events. It was compiled from a variety of sources, including group therapy participants, other professionals, and online articles. The list is comprehensive, including some activities that you or I might find anything but pleasant. Cleaning the bathroom, being one that I find a real stretch, but... different strokes. 

The list is meant as a starting point: A list of ideas that will help you generate a list of your own. So that you can write your own personalized list of activities and thoughts you find pleasant, fun, funny, joyful, entertaining, relaxing, soothing, or in some other way, mood-lifting.

So I post this list in the hopes that readers will be inspired to read it, to do some of the things on the list, or to merely think about doing some of the things on the list, to leave a comment with some new pleasant event that can be added to the list, or to generate a new list of your own. Best of all, generate your list with as many readily do-able, easily accessible, easily affordable events as you can come up with.

As one exercise, I often suggest before reading the list that you rate your mood on a scale of 1 to 10, where:

1 = feeling very down or "low"


10 = feeling really happy or "up"

Then, after you have finished reading the list, rate how you feel once again. Any change?


1. Soaking in the bathtub   

2. Looking at the stars       

3. Feeling the wind in my hair

4. Collecting things (coins, shells, etc)

5. Listening to fun, educational programming, such as TED or NPR podcasts

6. Thinking how it will be when I finish school

7. Working a crossword or sudoku puzzle

8. Trying out a new hair style

9. Sitting under a shade tree

10. Going to a movie in the middle of the week

July 18, 2022

Dreaded Conversations and the Sandwich

Most people don’t take negative feedback lightly and most of us dread giving it. Judith Orloff, M.D. explains one way to offer criticism in the most effective and sensitive way: the sandwich technique. This deliberate strategy lessens the risk of offending.

Orloff suggests that you begin and end your feedback on a positive note. For example, emphasize a positive quality, then express your concern, and last, end the conversation with another compliment.  Orloff notes that it’s important to be authentic, stay away from generic people pleasing, and do not, under any circumstances, hand them the kitchen sink (listing every complaint in one sitting).  Read more HERE.

February 7, 2022

Mindfulness is the New Black

Like orange is the new black, mindfulness may be the new psychotherapy.

Talking to a licensed therapist can be a critical step to wellness.  It can include sharing problems, worries, and yes, those reliable and messy mainstays, family of origin issues. Getting evaluated by a professional can be one of the most important tools for treating anxiety, depression, and other emotional disorders.

Learning cognitive behavioral tools ( CBT ) is another branch on the tree called getting back to wellness. One of the most up-and-coming, state-of-the-art CBT tools is mindfulness.  Thirty years ago, when I was walking my dinosaur on my college campus, mindfulness was not echoed in the hallowed halls of learning.  I'm not sure it was even a thing back then.  But it certainly is now.

Mindfulness is a form of meditation.  It is the art and skill of redirecting one's mind away from the everyday thoughts, worries, judgments, and distractions that occupy our brain when it's on auto-pilot. Where are my keys? Did I take the load of laundry out of the dryer? Don't forget to return those pants, pick up that prescription, talk to my professor, get the car inspected.   "Monkey mind" is what Dr. Alejandro Junger, M.D., cardiologist, calls collectively, all those pesky thoughts. 

Today we all have a new worry: the pandemic. To protect us from Covid-19, many new restrictions are in place.  Mask wearing, vaccinations, avoiding unfamilliar people and crowded outdoor spaces.  Mindfulness can be used as a stress reduction tool. Try this mindfulness video, here, let by Dr. Robert Hindman, a clinical psychologist with the Beck Institute*.  

For more ideas on how to learn about and practice mindfulness, have a look at Harvard University Medical School's suggestions, here.    Because maybe, just maybe, fifteen minutes a day is the new 60 minutes on the couch.

*The Beck Institute was founded by Aaron T. Beck, MD, largely considered the father of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and his daughter, Judith Beck, Phd. 

Sandy Andrews, Ph.D. Psychologist
Teaching CBT in South Austin, Texas

Psychologist Austin TX CBT Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Anxiety Depression Panic Disorder Anxiety Attacks Psychologist Psychothrapist Therapy e

December 10, 2021

Have Yourself a More Relaxed Holiday Season

My goal is to post every two weeks at the very minimum.  For one reason or another I looked over my blog today.  I see that I've gone months in between posts. Months! 

Yes, Virginia, even behavioral psychologists fall short of their goals.  More often than some of us would like to admit, surely.  

Another goal I've set for myself over the past few years has to do with the busy holiday season. From the time the Halloween costume box comes down from the attic it feels as though the speed of life is cresting over the highest peak of a roller coaster ride. Gaining rapid momentum with no chance to get out of the cart or make it stop until January 1st.  But then it's time to put away the decorations and think about one of the least favorite times of year:  tax season.

My goal?  To do less.  To shop less.  To let go to some holiday traditions so that I can better enjoy others.  Stress less.  Relax more.

People resoundingly complain about the all-consuming demands of the holiday season.  Recently a friend of mine proclaimed it has gotten to the point where she "hates" Christmas.  An honest and brave friend.  After all, it's downright un-American to make such a statement. 

Bah humbug. 

The reality is we all have choices when it comes to holiday traditions.  Whether it be adorning our homes with lights and decorations, sending seventy-five greeting cards and photos in the mail, baking sugar cookies from scratch, entertaining guests with a punchbowl full of homemade eggnog, singing carols, setting up the train set, hosting large family gatherings around a lavish home cooked meal, hustling over to the in-laws for a second lavish home cooked meal, attending midnight church service, or driving all over town to find just the right gift for loved ones even if it means spending ourselves into debt, we all retain the right to put a stop to the annual practice of wearing ourselves to a frazzle.  

So let's try a little CBT, shall we?

A typical rationalization and automatic negative thought might sound something like this:  

"But it wouldn't be Christmas/Hanukkah if I didn't ______ (fill in the blank)." 

A healthy cognitive replacement involves challenging our long held beliefs and rationalizations.  The holidays are not just about our hand made hot tamales (this is Texas, y'all), are not just about the gifts we give, are not just about the decorations and the lights. These are mere details that add tinsel and sparkle to the true meaning of the season. 

No, the holidays are really about ... what exactly?  

This is where you get to step in and express your own individual sentiments.  What do the holidays mean to you specifically?  Which traditions can you give yourself permission to let go of so that you are free to enjoy the true meaning of the season as it applies to you?   So that you can spend quality time with your family or friends or community and not be too busy to slow down and really appreciate what you've got in life. Or where you want to be.

Examples of more replacement thoughts in cognitive behavioral therapy: 

"I choose to let go of _____, _____, and _____ so that I can be more relaxed."

"I can get more out of the holidays this year by deciding to ______ rather than ______."  

"I want to more fully embrace the meaning of my holiday.  This year I plan to _____ and not _____ so that I am free to devote more time to ______ instead."

Notice I wrote "this year" as opposed to forever because it's best to take it one year at a time.  Next year, who knows?  You can always revise or alternate traditions.  

So there you go, readers.  The framework of change is there.  You get to fill in the blanks.  Give it a try.

Another goal of mine this holiday season?  To give myself permission to post less often.  Maybe not until next year!

Now go and have yourself a more relaxed, more meaningful holiday season.  

Grief Resources in Austin and Beyond

When you need more than your loved ones can provide, there is help.            Resources for Grief and Support Groups     Compassionate Frie...