Life Skills Unlimited

Lisa H. Lang, Ph.D.

110 Red Oak Lane
Flower Mound, TX 75028

Thoughts lead to
Feelings lead to

“I think, therefore I feel.”

Blog > Relationship Counseling

Licensed Professional Counselor
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapist
Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist

Relationship Issues

You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, and the only way, it does not exist. Friedrich Nietzsche

Relationships are a sense of connectedness with others. These connections may be with a personal partner, a family member, a work member or anyone. We have some commonality with that person. In any relationship we give a part of ourselves and expect something from the other person.

In any relationship it is important to remember to respect, nurture and take care of yourself first. You may define what that means – what actions do you use to take care of yourself. When you care for yourself you will be able to give directly, clearly and kindly to others. You will be able to give in a respectful manner – this is not self-absorbed – it is being kind to self and to others. Taking care of self removes the resentment, regret, anger and frustration from the relationship.

When you refuse to take care of yourself this leads to resenting self and others. You begin to believe your value is based on their opinion of you. Remember – “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt.

You may begin by defining and separating your “needs” vs “wants” and how you are expecting the other person to fulfill those needs or wants. Use clear communication – be kindly direct – so there is no misunderstanding. The other person may do the same. Now you both will have a pathway to understanding vs misunderstanding.

This kind of connectedness will require using skills of effective communication. It may also require changing your environment to help you maintain your behavior modification.

Cognitive Behavioral therapy is effective for learning self-appreciation and how to clarify your needs and expectations and willingness to hear the other person.

Learn Cognitive Behavioral Skills to:
Communicate Effectively
Problem Solve
Team Play/Work

Sexuality – How to talk about it with self and others

Sexuality is an interesting and sometimes uncomfortable subject. What do you include in the conversation? Do you talk about your desires/fantasies and if so – when and how do you discuss them?

Sexuality is about your sexual thoughts, feelings, behaviors towards other people. You may find someone physically, sexually or emotionally attractive – all these things are a part of your sexuality. Sexuality is diverse and personal – it is an important part of who you are.

Human sexuality involves the way people experience and express themselves sexually. This involves many biological, physical, and emotional behaviors. Physical and emotional aspects of sexuality are expressed in many different ways that helps to create a bond between individuals that is expressed with profound feelings of physical manifestations of love, trust, and care.

Sexuality is also affected by cultural, political, legal, philosophical, and religious aspects of life. Sexuality is a fundamental component of personality. It is one mode of being and communicating with others and expressing our feelings.

Sex and sexuality are important in our lives. Learning to use these phrases and activities in a healthy way increases intimacy and a sense of connectedness with self and a partner. You may want to have a conversation with yourself and your partner about your desires and your willingness to be attentive to theirs.

Consider the closeness and caring this conversation may bring to your relationship. You start the conversation after you feel comfortable with your own desires and ways to express them. Learn to be relaxed and accepting of expressing your wants and needs and encourage your partner to do the same.

Learn Cognitive Behavioral Skills to:
Communicate Effectively
Problem Solve
Team Play/Work

Relationship Decisions = Risk vs Benefits

Before you make a decision and determine how this decision will affect your and your partner’s lives, pause and consider the logic of what you are telling yourself. Think of this decision as being significant –- write the pluses and the minuses and weigh the outcome. Very simple and complicated because we frequently use our emotions to make this determination. Stop and consider that your feelings are a result of your thinking. Are you thinking logically? Are you considering how this decision will affect your life in short and long terms?

Life is filled with choices. You may be considering having an affair or are currently having an affair. Ask: How does this affect me, my partner and possibly my children and other family members. Affairs are only one example of decisions we make that affects the lives of many people. Some decisions have little influence on our lives and others have extreme impact on our lives. What significance do you believe your decision will have on others? We are not in this world alone.

You may blame circumstances or someone else for your current situation; however, you had choices all along this journey. We know that thoughts lead to feeling and that leads to outward behaviors. External forces, like people or situations are not the catalyst for our behaviors –- it is the perceptions we have of ourselves.

You may want to take a look at how you think and feel about yourself. Do you perceive yourself as valuable to self and others? What do you believe you contribute to your world? Remember — the deceptions we tell ourselves are the remains of our past that we have not dealt with and settled within our own mind. Stop and take a current and clear look at what you are telling yourself. Now you may begin to make the changes that will support you in believing in your value/your worth.

Learn Cognitive Behavioral Skills to:
Communicate Effectively
Problem Solve
Team Play/Work

honesty vs lies

We are judged by our character. Let’s take a look at the basics of an honorable character: honesty and trustworthiness and dependability. These traits are necessary in a healthy relationship.


Integrity means whole or undivided. You are consistent in your actions versus behaving in any situation based on what is your best benefit. Integrity also means strength of character. It is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. You know your beliefs/values/goals and you adhere to those in each situation. Integrity is a “way of life”.


Honesty is the best policy; that is more than just a saying. People hedge the truth for basic reasons: fear of ramifications or they are trying to hide something. Lack of honesty results in destroying your truth and the trust of those who believed in you. Lies are like those tormented shadows that follow you even in the dark.


People with decent character are loyal. People with honest character stick with their friends even in tough times. We all make mistakes and loyalty is important in helping people that we care about. Loyal people ask you to stretch your thinking and behaving to a healthier place than where you are now versus judging/blaming you. This does not mean that we accept responsibility for the other person’s behaviors.


Self-sacrifice creates followers. People are drawn to someone that is willing to help others without the expectation of returns. People of decent character do not use other people. They show sacrifice of personal gain. A person with good character shows that they can give up personal gain for the benefit of the whole.


People of decent character welcome accountability. They are willing to allow others to have a say in their life–to talk with them clearly about their life and conduct. We all have blind spots in evaluating ourselves and it helps to have people we trust to help us see those blind spots. Accountability says a lot about a person’s character. When we allow ourselves to be held accountable, others know that we are honest and honorable in our behaviors.


Our character is based on the ability to make wise decisions about what we will and will not do. There are many opportunities to participate in things that are unhealthy or illegal. Those are everyday temptations. A person with good character knows to exercise self-control (control over your choices). People lose respect for themselves when they refuse to use self-control. Other people also lose respect for that person.

Self-control is using the Cognitive Behavioral Skills to: Communicate Effectively, Problem Solve, Team Play.

Remember: You get to decide how you Think – feel – Behave. Thoughts lead to feelings that lead to Behaviors. CHANGING IS A CHOICE.

Learn Cognitive Behavioral Skills to:
Communicate Effectively
Problem Solve
Team Play/Work


Committed Relationships are based on mutually agreed-upon dedication to one another. A committed relationship involves love, trust, honesty, openness, mutual goals and agreed on ways to accomplish those goals.

There are many forms of committed relationships including close friends, long-term relationships, engagement, marriage, and civil unions. The commonality among these is the commitment and the meaning of the commitment; especially in these trying times.

Frequently couples tend to form their union based on superfluous values; i.e., physical appearance, finances, etc. These are important if we also consider the following: basic belief system about what each values, goals, sexual issues, financial matters, gender responsibilities, family loyalties, expectations, problem solving styles, communication styles.

After reading the above list, do you believe you checked these items before you engaged in a committed relationship?

As you review the items, write down the ones that you believe would be helpful for you and your partner to discuss. You may ask your partner to do the same exercise. Set a time to discuss your findings and use Skills (Reflect and Ask coming down the Fact Funnel). You may both find areas that you have wanted to discuss and was hesitant for whatever reason.

Look back through your history with your partner and ask: “What are the parts of our relationship that I believe are valuable? What are the parts that are destructive for me?” Put weights on your answers and determine which one is most important to you; the valuable ones or the destructive ones.

Note: Many relationships can be salvaged and even flourish after learning basic skills. Skills are important. Skills require people using them to be effective. Learn and Use. Your choice.

Couples Counseling can be helpful when you have issues that you believe are unsolvable. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is focused on effective communication and problem-solving skills.

Note: The grass is usually not greener on the other side of the fence unless there is a septic tank under it. In other words, your relationship may be worth working for and moving forward in a more calm, confident and peaceful manner. A committed relationship is work; sometimes hard work. However, if both people are willing to learn the skills required and to use them consistently, the payoff can be exponential. You decide.

Learn Cognitive Behavioral Skills to:
Communicate Effectively
Problem Solve
Team Play/Work

listen vs lecture

This is a very trying time for all. Just listen to the news for a few minutes and fear comes forward. All those things we are telling ourselves about what is going to happen to us. Some news is truth and some is fear mongering.

However, we can learn to stop and logically evaluate the facts that are available. I would like the news people to tell us what they know as facts and not their opinion. Listen to me – tell me facts.

Listening to oneself is an important part of being able to listen to others. When I listen to you, I am saying you are important to me in some way. When I STOP and listen to what I am telling myself, I am acknowledging that I believe in my value (my worth).

When I tell myself negative things about me, I will automatically interpret what others are saying to me as negative. I am more likely to buy into what others are saying vs evaluating the facts. I am prone to lecturing the other person so they will see things my way and I will feel safer.

Lecturing leads to anger if the other person does not follow our instructions. Show me the level of your anger and I can tell you the depth of your fear. There is a lot of fear in our world today.

Stop: Listen to yourself without judgment and then you can hear others more accurately.

Remember: Survival is the bottom rung on the ladder of life – –
to survive, we have to believe we have Safety – – to have safety,
we have to believe we have Control.

With the fears surrounding us, we have doubts about our ability to control our lives. Let’s learn to listen to what we are telling ourselves and others. In threatening times, we can be kind or we can be cruel to ourselves or others. Separate out what you know to be Facts and then ask: What can I do to make the situation healthier and more productive? Maybe I can do nothing at the moment. Maybe my choice is to change my view (my way of thinking) of what is happening at this moment in time.

We operate using Images – not words. Use your imagery to be productive during this troublesome time. Use it to appreciate yourself and your accomplishments or your plans. Move forward with your thoughts. Listen to yourself in a positive and respectful way and then you will be able to respectfully listen to others.

If you do not know how to live your life more factually, then learn Cognitive Behavioral Skills and use them daily to make the changes that will create the life you want for yourself and your loved ones. A life of calmness, confidence and peace.

Remember: You get to decide how you Think – feel – Behave.
Thoughts lead to feelings that lead to Behaviors.


Learn Cognitive Behavioral Skills to:
Communicate Effectively
Problem Solve
Team Play/Work

free ME – then you

“Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answers.” Denis Waitley

When we spend our time and energy focused on past events and perceived hurts, we are wasting mental, emotion and physical energy because we can do nothing about the past.

Imagine your “past” as a filing cabinet. Now, every time you dwell on past events, you are scrambling thru old files that you cannot change.

Before we leave the filing cabinet, let’s quickly scan thru the files and ask if there are old hurts that we may be able to resolve in the current time. If yes – then do what you think will help you move forward (not willfully hurting others).

How would your life be different if you acknowledged your past as “the past” and then made a commitment to deal with current issues? Have you clearly defined what are the present issues or problems to be solved?

Do you have a format or system to problem solve? Do you know how to communicate effectively with yourself and with others so the real issues are recognized and acknowledged?

Sometimes we focus on old “stuff” to avoid dealing with current concerns. Perhaps the avoidance is created by fear of more pain or answers that we don’t want to hear.

Remember: You get to decide how you Think, feel and Behave.

Learn Cognitive Behavioral Skills to: Communicate Effectively
Problem Solve
Team Play/Work

For more counseling information:

Life Skills Unlimited
110 Red Oak Lane
Flower Mound, TX 75028
© 2024 Life Skills Unlimited & Dr. Lisa H. Lang, PhD. All Rights Reserved.

Lisa H. Lang Ph.D. is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) & marriage and family therapist (LMFT) located in Flower Mound, TX with over 30 years experience. She is a Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and life coach offering psychotherapy, hypnosis, and other solutions to those seeking counseling. Dr. Lang is conveniently located to residents of Flower Mound, Lewisville, Carrollton, Southlake, Grapevine, Coppell, and the Dallas/Fort Worth area.