Relational Therapy

Relational therapy is a therapeutic approach that was founded on the belief that a person must have fulfilling and satisfying relationships with the people around them in order to be emotionally healthy. Relational therapy handles emotional and psychological distress by looking at the client’s patterns of behavior and experiences in interpersonal relationships, taking social factors, such as race, class, culture, and gender, into account. Relational therapy can be useful in the treatment of many issues, but is especially successful when working with individuals seeking to address long-term emotional distress, particularly when that distress related to relationships. Relational therapy will help clients learn skills to create and maintain healthy relationships. Think this approach might be right for you? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s relational therapy experts today.

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The secret sauce to good therapy is the relationship between therapist and client. This is why you've probably heard so much about "fit." For therapy to work, you need to feel safe. It's not that you'll trust your therapist right away, because trust has to be earned and built. But you'll have the sense you can share personal or vulnerable information with your therapist and they'll hold it close, with love and respect.

— TESSA SINCLAIR, Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

My therapy is oriented toward thinking about relationships.

— Jennifer Yalof, Psychologist in Philadelphia, PA

I often work with clients from a relational perspective which means that I look at their patterns of relating to others, and how these patterns often originate from relationships earlier in life. Even though they begin early in life, they often continue throughout life, and they may cause problems in adulthood. Once people are aware of the interpersonal patterns they are engaging in during adulthood, we are able to start working on altering them if needed.

— Ginny Kington, Psychologist in Duluth, GA

As a relational therapist, what happens between you and me can sometimes replicate other relationships that you have in your life outside of therapy. As we get to know each other, we may look at how we are relating, and if we can find patterns in our relationship that are similar to other important relationships in your life. By looking at those patterns, we can sometimes find parts of you that are looking for some attention or healing.

— Dan Walinsky, Psychologist in Philadelphia, PA

The relationship (safety, trust, feedback, consistency, empathy, understanding) between client and therapist is the #1 predictor of success in mental health treatment. I believe relationships/connection is the key to healing. Relationship with ourselves, loved ones, the planet, etc. Using the therapeutic relationship to practice new ways of thinking, feeling, and interacting can be a powerful way to heal and redesign your life outside of therapy.

— Dr. Desiree Howell, Psychologist in Kingsland, GA

My study of Relational Therapy began with some research work with Otto Kernberg and his interactions with an outpatient with borderline personality organization.

— Eliot Altschul, Psychologist in Arcata, CA

I am a relational therapist, and I am comfortable working with clients on various issues that arise in their relationships. For nearly the past five years, I have facilitated a "Healthy Relationships" group. Some of the recurring relational therapy topics are social factors, such as culture, race, class, heteronormativity, and intersectionality. Relational therapy is helpful when an individual is experiencing some discomfort from their intimate, professional, family, or social relationships.

— Uriah Cty M.A., LMFT # 121606, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Beverly Hills, CA

As a Marriage and Family Therapist I am always steering couples and individuals towards relational health. Moving towards relational health can be challenging. Often it requires stronger boundaries which upsets the dynamics families and couples are used to. However, the rewards of relational health are living a more purpose, authenticity, and joy.

— Kelly Edwards, Marriage & Family Therapist in Austin, TX

We do not live in isolation, and our relationships to others and to our communities and culture influence us in many ways. Relational therapy aims to understand how the relationships in our lives and cultural/systemic forces shape who we are, and how we are doing in turn influences our relationships. The therapeutic relationship offers a direct experiential opportunity for us to explore and work on relationship dynamics.

— Nick Vaske, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Portland, OR

since i believe the essence of trauma contains profound experiences of disconnection, i also believe in the profound necessity of connection, aka relationship. not only interpersonal relationships, but also cultural and systemic relationships. plus, research shows that the primary predictor of "successful" therapy is the relationship between counselor and client. i take a relational stance so that i honor not only the therapeutic relationship but also the entire web of a client's relationships.

— summer koo, Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate in Denver, CO

We are all relational beings seeking to make sense of the ourselves, others and the world. In response, the therapeutic relationship can be used as a vehicle to gain insight, self-compassion and understanding. Slowing down to consider why we (and others) act, believe and think the way we do can result in healthier relationships and boundaries while getting our needs met.

— Olivia Carollo, Clinical Psychologist in Chicago, IL

For many of us, problems with our partners can be the most frustrating issues we have to face, leaving us feeling “crazy,” overwhelmed, and miserable. We start our relationships feeling hopeful, buoyant, and exhilarated, believing we have found our “soul mate”. All too often, this dream fades within years, and we do one of two things: we jump from one relationship to another, blaming problems on our partners; or we stay in a miserable union, hurting each other and/or stagnating.

— Shawn Oak, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in LOUISVILLE, KY

All my clients bring to therapy the desire to improve relationship functioning. I address issues such as gaining the courage to set stronger boundaries with a difficult person, resolving anxiety from relational trauma, or taking ownership for resolving marital conflict. I serve clients who want to understand and grow in the context of important relationships. I create authentic, trusting therapeutic experiences with clients that they can build on in their everyday lives.

— Margaret  Certain, Marriage & Family Therapist in Seattle, WA

As a proponent of interpersonal theory, and a disciple of Harry Stack Sullivan's work, I use Sullivan's approach of treating individuals with respect, empathy, kindness, and compassion (not only the people I work with).

— Michael Serpico, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Hallandale Beach, FL

Relational therapy delves into the fabric of our interpersonal relationships and how they shape our mental health. This form of psychotherapy recognizes that each person's unique experiences within their relationships profoundly influence emotions and behaviors. I work with clients on all kinds of relationships in their life, friends, family, work relationships, and romantic relationships/partnerships.

— LISA TARRACH, Marriage & Family Therapist in , WA

I see the therapeutic relationship as the foundation for the work of therapy. I strive to engage compassionately and authentically, and to enter into a collaborative space with the client that is based on building trust, openness, and curiosity. I invite clients to provide me with feedback about their experiences in our time together, as these reactions can often help us strengthen our relationship as well as build insight into patterns a client may be experiencing in the rest of their life.

— Dr. Luana Bessa, Psychologist in Boston, MA

You are the expert on your own life. I don't do cookie-cutter therapy and each session is led by you, processing the things YOU want to focus on. AJ believes our relationships (even the one we have with ourselves) is the foundation for mental relief of the symptoms that often keep us stuck or immobilized. And AJ focuses heavily on the relationship between each client and himself to model healthy boundaries and ways of positively interacting.

— AJ Rich, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

Trained to focus on therapeutic relationship, transference, and countertransference.

— K. Chinwe Idigo, Psychologist in Teaneck NJ 07666, NJ

Relational therapy, sometimes referred to as relational-cultural therapy, is a therapeutic approach based on the idea that mutually satisfying relationships with others are necessary for one’s emotional well-being. I believe that building authentic connection creates a space for vulnerability and ultimately change.

— Gloria Hatfield, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Austin, TX