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 is founded in the belief that healing happens in the context of relationships with one another. This approach to treatment is based in strengths-based empowerment. Exploring your wants and needs in the relationships around you, as well as your relationships with yourself. Increasing connection with yourself and others can be profoundly transformative.

— Kian Leggett, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Tacoma, WA

We’re all born with a built-in capacity for relating to ourselves, to others, and to our highest work — but most of us aren’t taught how to tend to that ecosystem. Instead of connecting with the deep knowing within us, we look to outside sources for guidance, acceptance, and recognition. Connectfulness® is a research-based practice I’ve developed that gets to the heart of relationship issues, helps you integrate them, and leaves you with the skills to decide how you want to show up relationally.

— Rebecca Wong, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in New Paltz, NY

I chose a relationship and family therapy focus in my studies, and understand most healing occurs in relationships. We internalize others' messages, beliefs, and build our inner world based on interactions. Sometimes our inner world or the way we interact needs to be restructured for us to develop fully or live in a way that feels healthy and satisfying. The therapy relationship can be an effective place to work on making changes.

— Leah Gregory, Counselor in Portland, OR

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

Humans are hardwired for connection. When our connections are broken down, it becomes increasingly difficult to deal with stressors in our lives. Likewise, stressors can break down connections with others and may do so without us even realizing it. I aim to work with relational issues to increase connection and help you to reduce things you are dealing with.

— Kate Gebbie, Licensed Professional Counselor in , CT

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

Therapy is a very particular kind of relationship, but a relationship none the less. Sometimes dynamics and patterns you experience outside of therapy will find their way into therapy too. This creates a perfect opportunity to work through whatever feelings may be coming up in the moment and to explore them in real time to create deeper understanding and change.

— Laurie Ebbe-Wheeler, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

A relational approach to therapy means that I will operate as an active participant in your therapy. The foundation of this work is the relationship between you and I and the dynamics that manifest during our sessions as they illuminate and relate to your other relationships. I often use the immediacy of the therapeutic relationship with the goal of increasing awareness and discovering previously hidden processes and beliefs that undermine well-being.

— Matthew Beeble, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Vancouver, WA

Relational Therapy (RT)work identifies, builds, and creates a person's relationships; professional, partner, food, etc. Identifying discord in relationships provides rich context in which to resolve conflicts, develop personal accountability, and improve relationships as a whole. It is crucial to RT that we include race, social class, culture, gender, identity and other factors as we work to alleviate possible symptoms such as anxiety, stress, depression, which leads to low-self esteem & more.

— Brendon Mendoza, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Seattle, WA

I have been trained and supervised in attending to my relationships with my clients. Research shows that the therapeutic relationship is the single most identifiable factor in therapy that the client finds helpful. In our work together, I will invite us to talk about our experiences with each other. Our relationship will have a lot to teach us.

— Meggie Twible, Therapist in Arlington Heights, IL

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

I believe that we heal through connection, and that the relationship between my clients and I is an opportunity to explore new ways of connecting. Challenges that can come up in interpersonal dynamics are likely to come up in our professional relationship as well, so we have the opportunity to work through those challenges together.

— Maya Grodman, Counselor in Portland, OR

I am certified in Relational Life Therapy and currently engage in coaching calls 3x/month to improve my skills.

— Victoria Easa, Clinical Social Worker in Norwood, MA

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

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

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

Most of the wounding that brings us to therapy can be seen through the eyes of how we relate to others. And research shows that the relationship we develop with our therapist matters more than their specific therapeutic techniques. A tremendous amount of healing and growing (and challenge) can occur within the dynamics of our relationship. As a relational therapist, I will wonder how patterns in your relationship with others might be playing out between us and want to help bring those explorations consciously into our sessions.

— Lily Sloane, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

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

It is through relationships that we are able to heal and make deeper sense of ourselves, others in the world around us. I use a relational framework in addressing client concerns by exploring with clients the ways in which they have learned to attach and maintain relationships with others while honoring clients unique identities. The therapeutic relationship is a foundation for promoting healing and building a healthier way of connecting with others that clients can use outside of therapy.

— Chelsea Twiss, Psychologist in Fort Collins, CO

Relational psychotherapy is an offshoot of psychoanalysis or psychoanalytic psychotherapy, both of which have a long and varied history going back to Sigmund Freud. As its basic premise, psychoanalysis assumes that people are often unaware of the factors that contribute to their mental and emotional state, and that uncovering these unconscious processes and assumptions leads to wellness. The way it is practiced today, there is a wide variety of approaches and styles in psychoanalysis (i.e. Freudian, Jungian, Object-Relations, Relational) that can look and feel quite different from the stereotype of the silent analyst saying only “Mmm Hmm” as the patient talks. Psychoanalysis is distinguished from psychoanalytic psychotherapy by both the frequency and setup of therapy. In psychoanalysis the patient usually comes in 2 – 5 times per week and often lays on a couch facing away from the therapist, whereas psychoanalytic psychotherapy incorporates the same theories and methodology of analysis without the same level of involvement. Psychoanalysts are required to undergo an additional educational training that often lasts for many years before being able to be called an analyst and perform analysis, whereas many therapists work from psychoanalytically-informed perspective and are well-trained in a psychoanalytic approach.

— Bear Korngold, Clinical Psychologist in San Francisco, CA

A relational approach to therapy means that I will operate as an active participant in your therapy. The foundation of this work is the relationship between you and I and the dynamics that manifest during our sessions as they illuminate and relate to your other relationships. I often use the immediacy of the therapeutic relationship with the goal of increasing awareness and discovering previously hidden processes and beliefs that undermine well-being.

— Matthew Beeble, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Vancouver, WA