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.

Meet the specialists


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. This type of psychotherapy takes into account social factors, such as race, class, culture, and gender, and examines the power struggles and other issues that develop as a result of these factors, as well as how they relate to the relationships in a person’s life.

— Gwen Kinney, Counselor in Austin, TX

Social connection assists in bringing the system back into balance, but it also gives us information into how we are relating to one another. These relationships offer clues into how we are showing up in the world. When the relationships in our lives are healthy and vibrant, our energy begins to shift into a psychological balanced state. In the therapy room, a relationship begins to develop that can play out old behaviors and patterns and we can work with this information to begin to shift and d

— Jessica Provenza, Counselor in Napa, CA

The core of human existence is relating to others and ourselves. My approach to therapy -and life- is relational. Building healthy relationship, teaching others how to have healthy relationships, showing what a healthy relationship is. Relationships are healing. I heal through relationships with others.

— Julie Reichenberger, Counselor in Denver, CO

I am one of a handful of RLT therapists in New York, Massachusetts and New Mexico. I do online sessions in each of these states.

— Jerry Sander, Clinical Social Worker in New York, NY

Relationships matter, including your relationship with your therapist. Our work together will use what happens in therapy as a way of gaining more insight on what is happening in your relationships outside of therapy.

— Bronwyn Shiffer, Clinical Social Worker in Madison, WI

Working together on a level playing field, we will locate and identify your internal wisdom and the organic intelligence hidden in your body and your psyche. I believe that each of us has a hidden guide, or “breadcrumb trail” which we can follow into the forest of the unconscious. Much of our therapy process together will consist of us finding this internal, intuitive guide and discovering where you want to go next in your life.

— Connor Moss, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA

I combine Emotionally Focused Therapy and Gottman Method to help clients in relationship challenges. By creating emotional safety in therapy, I help the client to enact and re-construct her relationship strategies. I love working both intrapsychic and interpersonal space. The strength of EFT is that a therapist connects with her client emotionally rather than from an analytical distance.

— Kaori Oto, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Seattle, WA

Do you wish that you were better understood? Do you need help finding your voice? Do you struggle to communicate without getting defensive or offensive? I help individuals and couples learn to listen to each other and to communicate in a more effective manner to help them feel more connected.

— Kathi Hennessey, Clinical Social Worker in , MA

Psychodynamic therapy emphasizes the relationship between past & present. I will be curious about the thoughts & emotions you’re experiencing while also thinking about the ways they reflect formative past experiences & relationships. From time to time, I may also comment on something that I think might be happening between the two of us. Paying attention to the happenings between client & therapist provides a direct route to underlying sources of emotions that are otherwise difficult to access.

— Katie Flach, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Jose, CA

I am an interactive therapist. We use our relationship to heal so that you may thrive.

— Janet Zinn, Clinical Social Worker in New York, NY

We carry hurt, fear, and rejection from early wounds that impact how we are able to reach out and connect with those we love. I will work with you to unpack how you feel about previous experiences in order to move forward and form relationships based in love, compassion, respect, and security.

— Madeline Fox, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Portland, OR

Often times, change occurs within the context of a relationship. While I will utilize immediate skills to help you feel better soon, we will also explore the underlying trends that allow this issue to arise. Chances are, this is not your first time feeling this way. Let's help you feel better now and stay feeling better for the years to come.

— Kevin Goldberg, Clinical Psychologist in DALLAS, TX

I believe strongly that the therapeutic alliance we build together informs much of the work we do as therapist and client. I commit to using my warmth, sense of humor, compassion and empathy to build strong rapport with my clients, and find that the unique nature of the alliance we build can be truly healing in and of itself-especially for those with histories of trauma, relational and otherwise.

— Alex Altman, Clinical Social Worker in Bethesda, MD

Often times my clients find more stability in their lives when they are experiencing harmony in their relationships. An element of our work may be the utilization the relational skills/tools we use in session and adapting those to out of session relationships.

— Kassondra Wilson, Mental Health Counselor in Tacoma, WA

A tenant of relational therapy is that relationships have a large impact on our emotional wellbeing and understanding who and how we are in relationships via attachment, cultural experiences, power/oppression, and historical experiences. As a relational therapist, I understand our relationship as an important piece of the work and my relational work is heavily informed by feminist therapy.

— Jesse Kahn, Sex Therapist in new york, NY

I believe the therapeutic relationship to be the crux of our work together. I am committed to building trust between us and will utilize our relationship to understand how you show up in your life. To that end, I will show up as a real person who responds to you in real time. We will also explore your relational patterns throughout your life to form more secure, healthier connections in the future.

— Laurel Meng, Psychotherapist in Chicago, IL

I have extensive training and experience working with relationships. I have a master's degree in marriage and family therapy and I am currently a PhD student in a program that specializes in marriage and family therapy. My dissertation and research focuses on intimate/romantic/sexual relationships

— Amber Ray, Counselor in University Heights, OH

Relational therapy refers to how I pay attention to what is transpiring in the therapeutic relationship - what am I experiencing, how are you responding to me, how am I responding to you? Relational experiences shape our life experiences.

— Erin Pierson, Counselor in Seattle, WA

The relationships we have with ourselves and the important people in our lives are the cornerstones of our emotional health. From infancy and onward, how others see us and how we see them profoundly impact our sense of safety, curiosity, and agency. A relational therapy framework allows us to better see the patterns that play out in various areas of your life so that we can understand why they exist and open up new possibilities.

— Liz Gustafson, Psychologist in Los Angeles, CA

The core foundation of good therapeutic work is a relationship built on warmth, authenticity, and trust, where all parties learn from one another. Our approach pays close attention to what is happening moment-to-moment and explores the ways that we are impacting each other. We know that therapy is incredibly vulnerable and can feel intimidating! Our therapists are not blank slates-knowing about the person you're sharing with and what they stand for makes sharing a little bit easier.

— Kindman & Co. Therapy Practice, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Los Angeles, CA

Working relationally means I will connect with you as myself. I am a real person in the room with you, with humor and personality. I am not a blank slate, I will not sit silently and stare at you while you talk. I will still maintain professional boundaries and the focus will always be on you, I will listen empathically and share in your human experience.

— Rebecca Doppelt, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

Relationship therapy isn’t just for married people: cohabiting couples, people in non-monogamous relationships and LGBTQ people can also benefit. It can also be helpful for siblings dealing with family issues, or even business partners!

— Kira Hayes, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Newark, OH