Some Relationship Advice

If you’re reading this, you must have already heard that “communication is key.” It is a common suggestion for making a relationship work because it is crucial! Communicating about the good stuff is easy, but we tend to stop doing this as our relationship ages, and communicating about the bad stuff is hard and everyone avoids it! So what do we do about it?


We’ll start with the easier one. In the beginning stages of a relationship, we have no issue with this one. We are constantly pointing out to each other what we love about them–some things we actually grow to resent about our partner. Think: “Oh my gosh, he’s so cuddly!” turns in to “OH MY GOSH he won’t give me my space!” I think a large piece of this that isn’t often associated with this topic is leaving space for independent time away from your partner. When we are able to pursue our independent passions, we become more confident, our partner is able to appreciate what makes us us, and this helps to contribute to compliments! It is very easy to fall into the trap of codependence and finding happiness only in your partner’s happiness, but I challenge you to continue (or restart) to leave time for yourself and the things you like to do that you loved before your partner came in to your life. I think this helps to make communicating the good happen more naturally. If this task seems too overwhelming, start by looking out for things your appreciate in your partner, and be vocal to them about it.


I’m going to start this topic with something seemingly unrelated, so be warned!

Let me tell you about one of my bigger pet-peeves, then I’ll connect it to relationship advice, I promise!

Imagine you’re driving on a multi-lane highway. You see a car in the next lane start to slow down and speed up. You wonder, are they trying to come over to your lane? This continues for a bit. Eventually you decide to slow down and leave more room in front of you, and what-do-you-know, they decide to come over. If you’re like me, you might think, “If you’d used your blinker I would have known you wanted to come over and let you in ages ago! Do you expect me to read your mind?” If the other car doesn’t communicate to me that they want to change lanes by utilizing their blinker, how am I supposed to know?

You might see where I’m going with this. Many times I have one member of a couple come in to session very frustrated with something. For example, a wife is frustrated that her husband of ten years never helps with laundry. I ask, have you ever asked for help with the laundry? She answers, no, I want him to want to do it without me nagging him! For ten years she continues to wait for him to make the first move, without giving him warning of what she wants. I ask clients to consider: what do you want, what are you doing to get what you want, and is it working? This is a reality therapy principle, but it is very applicable to situations such as these where people are hoping their partner can read their mind. This client had been waiting years for something to change without doing anything that would cause change. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to just communicate what you’re feeling? Who knows if her husband would then help with the laundry, but at least she would know that he knew it bothered her.

When you decide to communicate something that is bothering you with your partner, remember you must try your best not to come off as aggressive/judgmental, as their first response will be to go on the defense, put up their walls, and then aren’t able to hear you.

So try this formula:

When _____ happens, I feel ______. It would help if you _________.

For my aforementioned client, it might look like:

When the laundry piles up, I feel overwhelmed and like everyone is waiting on me to do it. It would help if you could help with the laundry when you notice it hasn’t been done.

Notice the difference between a more aggressive way of saying this:

You never help around the house. I am a maid around here, and I already have so much going on! Why can’t you ever do the laundry? You’re so selfish!

The second version went to extremes (“never”), was judgmental (“You’re so selfish”), and didn’t communicate how she was feeling or a plan of how to help. The husband is likely to be very guarded and respond in a similar manner–aggressive.

To summarize:

-Compliment your partner on the things you love about them. You can’t compliment too much!

-Don’t expect your partner to read your mind. Let them know what is bothering you, how it makes you feel, and how they can help.

I hope this is helpful! If you feel like you need a bit more professional help communicating with your partner, reach out to a therapist. You’re investing in your relationship and your communication skills!

Your listening ear,


Read More

How do Choice Theory & Reality Therapy Work?

“Blog article on choice theory & reality therapy” for Adam Rahman February 1, 2018

It’s a fact that people are healthier when involved in positive relationships. That said, the psychotherapeutic methods of choice theory and reality therapy teach that personal choices and behaviors influence our ability to connect with others and build meaningful relationships. Negative behaviors lead to damaged and even broken relationships. Bad choices include destructive behaviors like physical, mental and substance abuse, controlling others and even criminal activities. Counselors use choice theory and reality therapy to encourage better choices, habits and behaviors that help their clients develop happier, more fulfilling lives.

First conceptualized by the late American psychiatrist Dr. William Glasser, choice theory provides the foundation upon which reality therapy was built. Psychotherapists began seeing promising client results with reality therapy beginning in the mid-1960s. As time passed, an increasing number of counselors began incorporating reality therapy and choice theory into their counseling sessions. But how exactly do they work, and what are the potential benefits for clients? Let’s take a closer look now.

Choice Theory Starts with Our DNA

According to Dr. Glasser, our lives are based upon our behaviors; ones that for the most part we are able to control. Furthermore, every person is genetically-wired to satisfy 5 basic human needs:

  • Survival
  • Love
  • Sense of belonging
  • Power
  • Freedom & Fun

Of those, love and sense of belonging are the most influential. Dr. Glasser postulated that there are seven caring habits that we all share: supporting, trusting, encouraging, listening to, accepting, respecting and being able to negotiate differences with, others. Juxtaposed with those are a like number of negative, or “deadly”, habits. Those include criticizing, blaming, complaining to/about, nagging, threatening, punishing and bribing/rewarding to control, others.

Negative habits damage relationships. Those eventually lead to disconnecting from someone in your life, and possibly from people in general. When an individual feels disconnected, or that they don’t belong in relationships, destructive behaviors can follow, such as crime, violence, mental illness, addictions, spousal and child abuse, poor job and school performance, and more. Helping a client identify bad habits, while equipping them to positively control their behaviors and improve their ability to cultivate relationships, is the key to choice theory. Reality therapy is the clinical method used to get there.

How can Reality Therapy Help Clients?

Reality therapy teaches that most of life’s problems stem from an inability to connect with others and build positive relationships. Counselors that practice reality therapy methods focus on these key points when working with clients:

  • Human problems come from unfulfilled interpersonal relationships. Clients are urged to forget about their past and instead concentrate on the present.
  • Avoid using excuses for behaviors and ignore symptoms and complaints as much as possible.
  • Concentrate on negative behaviors, and how those can be changed. Clients are encouraged to express what they think and believe. Discussing how to change one’s feelings, mental and physical well-being- all by focusing upon things within a client’s control- is important.
  • Clients develop skills to avoid blaming, criticizing or complaining in their relationships.
  • Clients are encouraged to be non-judgmental and non-coercive, while choosing better behaviors to promote healthy relationships. This important concept originates from choice theory.
  • Clients are taught to avoid excuses that interfere with their ability to enjoy positive relationships.
  • Specific relationship issues are identified. What people in the client’s life are involved, and how can they reconnect with them using positive behaviors? If a given relationship is damaged permanently, the client is encouraged to cultivate new ones.
  • Clients learn to formulate a series of doable action plans in the event one falls short. Progress and success are discussed.

During reality therapy sessions, it is of the utmost importance that both counselor and client practice a high level of patience. For most people that are having relationship problems it took a while to develop their negative habits. As a result, the road to happiness requires time spent and hard work, but the rewards are truly unlimited for both client and counselor.

Help is Only a Phone Call Away!Are you having trouble connecting with others and building healthy relationships? Are you making bad choices and using destructive habits? If you’re ready to make a change, help is only a phone call away. The Social House Wellness Center in Houston provides clients with the counseling they need in order to turn their lives around. Led by Clinical Director Adam Rahman, the staff at Social House specializes in choice theory and reality therapy counseling methods. To learn more call us at: 210-816-2992 or visit now.

Read More