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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Therapy doesn't work without a strong relationship. Given that, my first priority is always building a relationship that feels safe enough to be a playground for exploration. With a strong relationship, we can make therapy a place for trying out new behaviors, identities, and even relationship patterns. To do this, I will always strive to be transparent, consistent, and humbly thankful when a client is willing to tell me that I've made a mistake or gone astray.

— Ash Levine, Therapist in Chicago, IL

From my foundation as a Person-Centered Counselor, I have begun practicing counseling through the lens of relationships. I explain to my clients that we exist in many relationship structures, and that the most important relationship we have is with our own self. I help my clients explore how they can develop a more compassionate relationship with self as if they were their own friend. I have observed that this can directly lead to feeling more authentic in interpersonal relationships.

— Braden Weinmann, Licensed Professional Counselor in ,

Relationships are critical to our mental health and they effect almost every aspect of our lives. Relational Therapy focuses on exploring and examining the client's relationship patterns and how their relationship history impacts them currently. As a therapist, I work toward exploring current and early relationships, as well as the relationship between the therapist and client.

— Lisa Mustillo, Clinical Social Worker in Kennesaw, GA

A relational approach is humanistic and person-centered. It views individuals as containing an innate capacity to heal from within; we can understand our problems and have the resources within ourselves to resolve them. Therapy from a relational perspective rests in the relationship between the client and therapist, has a flexible structure, and is minimally directive.

— Rebecca Bruno, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Pasadena, CA

Instead of thinking of "mental health problems" as being located "inside" someone, I find it much more useful to think of experiences like depression, anxiety, and trauma as manifestations of the way people relate to the world, to other people, and to the various sides or parts of themselves. Perceiving and understanding these dynamics as they play out in real time between patient and clinician can be a powerfully experiential means of inducing change that goes beyond intellectual insight.

— Vuthy Ou, Clinical Psychologist in Philadelphia, PA

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

As a therapist, I am keenly interested in the art and science of being "in-relationship." Good, relational psychotherapy is able to utilize the rich, dynamic, and here-and-now nature of the therapeutic relationship for the patient's benefit. I have found that patterns in the therapeutic relationship can often mimic patterns in patient's other relationships. Relationally-focused therapy can offer a reparative experience for those who have suffered neglect, abuse, and other relational traumas.

— Danny Silbert, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Philadelphia, PA

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

I believe that it is the relationship between client and therapist that is the most important curative factor in therapy.

— Jonathan Lebolt, PhD, Psychotherapist in Montclair, NJ

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

i work collaboratively with my clients to craft new approaches and solutions. I believe all people have strengths they can build on and together with my experience as a mental health professional clients will achieve real and lasting change.

— Lorraine Gray, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Hudson, NY

I am currently in training with Relational Life Therapy (RLT) and pursuing Certification. This treatment modality aligns therapeutically with my practice and my own personality. I seek authentic relationships with each couple I am honored to work with. This is a direct & compassionate approach focused on the healing of traumatic narratives and skills that are both applicable and transformative.

— Christina Neri, Therapist in Marietta, GA

Therapy with anyone in your life who is important to you! Parents, siblings, co-workers, couples looking to open up, couples looking to split up, co-parenting, step-parenting or any other relationship you'd like help improving.

— Angie Dion, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

Whether we are aware of it or not, our relationships with others impact how we view ourselves and the decisions we make. In order to make changes in the areas of our lives that we want to, it often takes a great deal of reflection to understand these systems and influences. With relational therapy, we can explore the influence relationships have on your life and decision-making, as well as how you can utilize those experiences to help create meaningful and desired change.

— Morghan Weber, Licensed Clinical Social Worker - Candidate in Denver, CO