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What is Life Skills?
Tell me about the curriculum.
Who benefits?
Let's talk about abuse?
But, I'm not an angry person, will I benefit?
How successful is this particular program?
So what are some of the topics covered in class?
What does healthy look like?
Where did Life Skills come from and how long has it been around?
Who is Dr. Paul Hegstrom?

What is Life Skills?

Life Skills is an educational program that was originally targeted toward anger issues, but the solution is for anyone who feels a need to grow personally. It helps to identify, so one can understand, root issues from childhood that prevent one from living out of a healthy responsive and communicative attitude.

Tell me about the curriculum.

“Learning to Live, Learning to Love” is a faith-based curriculum developed by Dr. Paul Hegstrom to help individuals recognize the extent of their dysfunctional issues.  If they are/become teachable and apply what they learn, they will see great results by the end of the class.  If anger is not an issue for us, we can still recognize that the source of our deepest pain and expectations is usually found in childhood.  Becoming aware of where we are “stuck” emotionally frees us to “grow up” as we change our thinking.  This is called “renewing of the mind”.  Finally, as we describe what healthy looks like, it gives individuals new hope and goals as they learn to make good choices and to use the tools received throughout the program.

Who benefits?

Mostly the person attending class benefits because we focus on the individual’s issues.  We can’t change anyone but ourselves.  When we become more aware of our part of the problems we are having, we can learn how to change our behavior.  In turn others feel more respected and responsive to our communication and they benefit too.

Let's talk about abuse?

This may not be your issue, but what if it is.....

Physical Abuse: Any touch not given in love, respect, and dignity.
Emotional Abuse: Any communication, admonition, reprimand, or reproof that does not uplift, edify, or bring conflict resolution.
Domestic abuse can range from a look to a gunshot.

Anger is amoral.  It is neither right nor wrong.  The emotion of anger is not the problem, but how we mishandle it.  Anger is an emotional reaction to certain kinds of stress-producing situations and is always the secondary emotion.  More basic emotions underlie it.  Basic emotion examples are:  hurt, resentment, disappointment, frustration, helplessness, anxiety or fear.

But, I'm not an angry person, will I benefit?

Many people have benefited from Life Skills because they simply want to fine tune their relationship(s).  Because Life Skills deals with the "big picture", we give tools and teach principles often not taught in the family of origin or in school.  Many people finish the program stating that they wish they had this material at the beginning of their relationship...it would have been so much easier.  Others say that every high schooler should have this material before graduating so they can have a better start on life.  There is always room for improvement on oneself and relationships.  Some people who finished raising their children want to learn how to refresh their relationship and re-connect with the love of their life.  Life Skills tends to be for nearly anyone who wants to grow.

How successful is this particular program?

With regard to anger, the Life Skills program is 90% - 95% successful.  This is extraordinary!  Life Skills is different because it is more than anger management.  It helps bring understanding and answers a lot of the “why” questions people have about their behavior.

So what are some of the topics covered in class?

The curriculum will help any individual gain life-changing skills in a variety of topics including:

Developing Trust
Respecting Self and Others/Self-Esteem
Awareness and Processing of Feelings
Anger Management
Childhood Wounds, Life Span Development and
Understanding Ones Anger
Defining Domestic Violence and Abuse
Conflict Resolution
Love and Family Bonding
Male/Female Differences
Guilt and Shame
Reactive Lifestyles
Healthy and Lasting Relationships

The curriculum was originally formulated to address the concerns of anger and people involved in difficult relationships, however, it has proven to bring enrichment to any relationship, whether anger and dysfunction are present or not.

What does healthy look like?

Our goal is to help individuals recognize healthy when they see it.  Most of us believe that what we learned as a child is what we should pass on to our families because that is how “love” was expressed to us.  Dysfunctional families pass on dysfunctions.  Healthy families continue to grow and encourage each other. 

Proper bonding – Emotional support. Each person
       keeps their individuality while creating a new
       entity called “we”.
Economic cooperation – Open communication and
       consent on financial matters.
Respect of property – What’s yours is yours,
  what’s mine is mine and what’s ours is ours…..           children’s too.
Appropriate social behaviors – Respecting each
       other in public and checking first before
       commitments are made for both.
Appropriate individuality – The right to personal
       space, personal interests, activities, decisions,
       friends, growth, and to decline dislikes.
Respectful requests – To be able to identify and
       communicate needs and desires without fear of
Rearing healthy children – Mom loves Dad, Dad
       loves Mom and the children are safe and secure.
       The family communicates and feelings are allowed.
Appropriate communications – Freedom to
       express thoughts and feelings and know you have
       been heard.
Equitable responsibilities – Sharing tasks.
       Developing mutually enjoyable activities.  Helping
       when needed.  Commitment to specific share
Healthy sexual relationship – Communicating with
       each other about needs, preferences or desires.
       Respecting each other’s inhibitions and each
       having the right to initiate or decline without fear
       of rejection.
Spiritual development – Personal relationship with
       God.  Family activities and expressions of
       individual worship and spiritual training for
Appropriate touching – value each other through
       non-sexual touching and the ability to express when
       you need a hug.

Where did Life Skills come from and how long has it been around?

Dr. Paul Hegstrom began searching for deeper answers as to why he had such built-up issues.  He spent well over 20,000 hours in research and 36,000 hours facilitating groups while continuing to develop a curriculum that would offer hope and help to individuals, including  families involved in domestic violence.  The program also helps others to understand some of the “why” questions for their reactive behaviors.  Out of Paul’s life and testimony, Life Skills International was founded in 1985.

Who is Dr. Paul Hegstrom?

Dr. Paul Hegstrom is the founder of Life Skills International.  The organization grew out of Paul’s personal battle with dysfunctional behavior.  He spent the first forty years of his life not understanding the driving force that caused him to self-destruct again and again.  He could not communicate or identify his feelings.  He knew something was wrong, but lived his life in denial.  Over $20,000 was spent on counseling where he was given “labels”, but never got to the root of his problems, and this only added to his anger and frustration.

Paul not only found peace with God and himself, but the wife he had divorced after nearly 17 years of marriage, became his bride again and they have now been successfully married the second time longer than the first and they are still growing together.


  • Ph.D. in Pastoral Marriage and Family Therapy, Evangelical Theological Seminary
  • M.S. in Pastoral Counseling, Evangelical Theological Seminary
  • B.S. in Pastoral Counseling, Evangelical Theological Seminary
  • Honorary Doctorate, Doctor of Humane Letters, Evangelical Theological Seminary
  • Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and Domestic Violence Counselor
  • Endorsement, National Board of Cognitive Behavioral Therapists
  • Level IV Domestic Violence Certification, National Association of Forensic
  • Member of AACC (American Association of Christian Counselors)
  • Member of CAPS (Christian Association of Psychological Studies)
  • 20,000+ hours of research in Domestic Violence and related issues
  • 36,000 hours facilitating clinics for victims and perpetrators of abuse
  • An internationally recognized authority in attitude and behavioral changes
  • Author of Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them, Beacon Hill Press, Spring 1999
  • Author of Broken Children, Grown Up Pain, Beacon Hill Press, Summer 2001
  • Founder/Developer of the Life Skills International Program