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


My way of working is a relational one that views therapy as a collaborative experience in which the relationship between client and therapist greatly contributes to healing. Through the therapeutic relationship work can be done to heal, maintain, or create fulfilling relationships with others in your life. Having healthy relationships and connections supports overall emotional well-being

— Kelly Jacobs, Art Therapist in Frederick, MD

Through the therapeutic relationship and in-the-moment feedback, clients learn and grow and can apply lessons from sessions to their relationships outside the therapy room. Sessions and the therapeutic relationship are viewed as a microcosm of a client’s outside life.

— Jessica Magenheimer, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in , CA

As humans, we are relational by nature. The relationships we have affect our health and well being. It is also important to have a good relationship with ourselves. The therapeutic relationship can be one of healing and growth that will affect all other relationships in your life.

— Allison Rice, Counselor in San Luis Obispo, CA

In Relational Cultural Therapy we believe that healing happens in relationship and all people are impacted by culture.

— La Shanda Sugg, Licensed Professional Counselor in Mason, OH

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

I was trained by Dr. Roy Barsness at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology on Relational Psychodynamic Therapy. This modality is based on the belief that we are relational beings and so often times the reason we come to therapy is because of harm caused in relationship to someone else. Since this is true, it is also true that we can heal from harm within a therapeutic, healing relationship like that of a therapist and client.

— Kristen Rix, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Vancouver, WA

We relate to everyone we know, and there lies the beauty of healing in relationship. It can happen everywhere.

— Julie Holt, Therapist in Seattle, WA

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 Rich, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

Trauma often impacts a client's relationships with the self and others. With the use of relational therapy, I capitalize on the client-therapist relationship to help foster safe and healing relationships in efforts to re-write a former trauma narrative. I also prioritize how these relationships are impacted by the client's personal cultures which surround their personal identities.

— Christie Sanchez, Counselor in Chicago, IL

Many things I hear from clients is that they had therapy before where they felt like they were talking to a wall. I am not a robot, but a very real person with thoughts, feelings, and life experiences just like anyone else. Acknowledging this and utilizing this information as a tool in therapy can be beneficial and create safety for clients to explore all that they need to in order to get where they are trying to go.

— Kate Naomi Aldridge, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Champaign, IL

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

Just as the patterns that hold you back were wired within your earliest relationships, they only transform when met with gentleness and care. Understanding the neuroscience of relationship can help you understand and transform your challenges.

— Marc Otto, Creative Art Therapist in Portland, OR

Many people find being in deep and authentic connection with others in the outside world to be terrifyingly vulnerable. I see therapy as the perfect opportunity to explore how to be in healthy relationship with a safe other. My job is to create a safe and inviting space, tailor made for you, your lived experience, and your needs each time you enter the room. Let's practice vulnerability together!

— Sam Krehel, Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA

I graduated from The Relational Center after three intensive training years in both Relational and Gestalt therapy. I have practiced from this perspective since 2010 and I continue to receive training and experience in this area. Relational therapy is truly a place where I can teach you how to be in relation with me, and you can teach me how to be in relation to you. Through this experience, we both learn how to connect better with others and with ourselves.

— Kathryn Sills-Payne, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Intern in Oakland, CA

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

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

My clinical training has been largely psychodynamic and relational in nature, with a focus on adolescents and young adults.

— Jennifer Trinkle, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Berkeley, CA

With the belief that we can only be fully known in relationship, relational therapy puts special emphasis on how we show up in relationships as a tool to empower others to live more fully

— Whitney Losee, Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA

In order to feel good about ourselves and our lives we need to have good relationships with others. Connection matters, disconnection leads to distress, authenticity is key, and the past informs the present. If we are depressed or anxious, inevitably it can be traced back to tension or breakdowns in relationships, or an inability to connect. Explores how your background and past experiences are causing you to relate to others in unhelpful ways that leave you unhappy.

— Canh Tran, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Seattle, WA

I am training under Terry Real in Relational Life Therapy, which is a highly directive and realistic method for assisting couples to reach their potential of finding connection with each other.

— Naomi Painter, Licensed Professional Counselor Intern in Portland, OR

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

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

Our damage happened through relationships with other people, so it needs to be healed through our relationships with other people. Our earliest experiences starting in the womb shape our bodies and our brains and impact how we are able to interact with the world around us. It takes repeated positive interactions in order to heal the repeated negative interactions that so many experienced as infants and toddlers.

— Tia (Christia) Young, Counselor

Our relationships create us. As a relational therapist, I attune to the patterns and dynamics of how you learned to relate to others early in your life through present day. We'll examine together how these relational patterns have both benefited and held you back. As we get to know each other, the relationship we share on a weekly basis will be an important source of self-understanding and healing.

— Christine Hutchison, Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA