Language of Listening® Team

Sandra Blackard

Sandy Blackard, parent coach and founder of Language of Listening®, teaches life coaching skills to parents and teachers. Her three simple steps for bringing out the greatness in children are introduced in a handbook that has changed thousands of lives: SAY WHAT YOU SEE® for Parents and Teachers: More hugs. More respect. Elegantly simple.

Sandy and her husband Patrick have two grown daughters, Colleen and Betsy, who brought wonder, delight and lots of personal growth into their lives.

When Colleen was 4, a sudden shift in her behavior from confident to clingy led Sandy to Dr. Garry Landreth, founder of the Center for Play Therapy, University of North Texas, who taught her the skills play therapist use and a new way to see children. Within a few months, Colleen skipped off to Kindergarten without looking back. 

Stunned at the rapid transformation in her daughter and herself, Sandy's thought, "Every parent should know this!" became a vow. Her drive to get an easy-to-use version of these skills into the hands of parents worldwide led to the development of the unique and powerful approach she teaches today.

Along the way she co-authored Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) Treatment Manual, 1st Ed. (2006) with Drs. Landreth, Bratton, and Kellam. Both SAY WHAT YOU SEE and CPRT Treatment Manual have won awards.

Betsy Blackard

Betsy Blackard

Raised in a Language of Listening household, Betsy, our publications manager and instructor-in-training, naturally uses our simple techniques in all her interactions with children—and she has had many. Betsy has over ten years’ experience working with kids, and loves the way that they invite her to see the world, and herself, in new ways. She also loves the way that SAY WHAT YOU SEE enables her to connect with children of all ages with ease.

She has a BA in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Positive Developmental Psychology at Claremont Graduate University. She is fascinated by language and passionate about joyful self-expression and effective communication.

Eva Sim-Zabka

Eva Sim-Zabka

Eva Sim-Zabka

Ewa "Eva" Sim-Zabka,  instructor, life coach and results expert, inspires clients with her enthusiasm for life. Around Eva, anything is possible! She brings her life-changing clarity to our workshops, classes and coaching with a colorful style all her own.

Eva is an accomplished professional with many years of experience in personal development training, workshops and group facilitation, content creation for classroom and online training materials, management and client support. She is a dynamic speaker, visionary and original thinker regarding business and lifestyle choices that result in happiness, fulfillment and satisfaction. Eva is an inspirational leader known for creating transformational insights for audiences of all sizes.

Eva is responsible for the rapid expansion of Language of Listening beyond parenting into the field of personal development. Her revolutionary self-coaching For YOU (Art of No Compromise) class and 3-Month Breakthrough Program provide astonishing breakthroughs in happiness and self-confidence with lasting results in only 12 sessions.

Eva earned her Master's Degree in Psychology in her native Poland. She is also an artist, a musician, a dance instructor, a world-traveler and the mother of two delightful children - a son in high school and a grown daughter.

Learn more about Eva and her special brand of confidence coaching at her website:


Adrian Ionescu & Ruxandra Golea

Adrian Ionescu & Family

Adrian Ionescu & Family

High energy and passionate about personal development, instructors Adrian and Ruxi are committed to raising their level of consciousness and not taking themselves too seriously.

In their first Language of Listening Mastery class, they quickly recognized the global potential of Language of Listening parenting and self-coaching and immediately joined the Language of Listening Advisory Board and spent two years in training to become instructors.

Adrian is a certified Transcendental Meditation teacher and sees Language of Listening as the perfect compliment to meditation. Ruxi feels the same about her training as a yoga instructor.

A force for good in their family and community and for you, this couple is committed to making a difference in the world.

Advisory Board

Theresa Kellam, PhD

Dr. Theresa Kellam

Dr. Theresa Kellam

Advisory board member, Dr. Theresa Kellam, is a licensed psychologist, author and parent devoted to the well-being of children and families. She has extensive experience in helping adults, children, couples and families work through a wide variety of problems.

Dr. Kellam enjoys public speaking and has spoken at many community organizations and at the University of North Texas Play Therapy Institute. She offers workshops and training for parents, teachers and therapists. She has several publications on relationship enhancement. Her most current is entitled The Parent Survival Guide: From Chaos to Harmony in 10 weeks or Less. She is also co-author of Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) Treatment Manual with Dr. Garry Landreth, Dr. Sue Bratton, and our own Sandra Blackard.

Dr. Kellam has been a visiting supervisor for graduate students at the University of North Texas and has taught psychology classes at Dallas area colleges. She has written and secured grants for non-profit organizations and has developed treatment programs for organizations who serve children and families. Follow her blog and learn more about The Parent Survival Guide at

Our Instructors in Training

Michelle Amriel

Michelle can't wait to be a Language of Listening Instructor and Coach. She was introduced to our work through private coaching with Sandy to reduce her two-year-old son's tantrum's. Within a few weeks she noticed a sharp decline and now reports with confidence that she knows how to prevent tantrums before they start! She's noticed her son becoming a confident problem-solver and loves seeing his face light up when she points out his STRENGTHs...all this before he turned three! She is committed to sharing her new-found ease of parenting with others as part of our team.

Deborah Dorff

Deborah has a BA in Education and an MA in Professional Counseling. She and her husband have a grown son and two preschool age grandsons. She previously worked as a counselor with children and families and has always enjoyed teaching. She is excited to be part of the team and is eager to share her enthusiasm and support for our straightforward and very practical approach. She has seen how parents struggle to connect with their children and would love to share her skills and knowledge to allow parents to better connect with their children as well as learn from them.