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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All relationships experience cycles of harmony, disharmony, and repair. Relationship issues arise if either partner is not aware of how to properly repair the damage associated with disharmony. Relational life therapy was developed to address relationship concerns, but it may also be used to address family of origin issues and individual relationship conflicts. Therapists who practice this approach work to encourage people to develop assertiveness and the skills that may be necessary to achieve

— Danielle Hatem, Licensed Clinical Social Worker - Candidate in Nashua, NH

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, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

We are formed in relationships. Using the therapeutic relationship as a tool is a powerful way to integrate theory into practice. Slowing down and noticing the process of therapy can have a profound impact.

— Zem Chance, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Eugene, OR

Challenges with sexuality and intimacy often stem from our past difficult experiences like unresolved fears or some anxiety about closeness, and other elusive factors like lack of sexual education that we may not easily see. These are sensitive topics that are difficult to navigate, and it is helpful to have some guided discussion to draw out and address roadblocks getting in the way of deepening your sexual relationships.

— Trisha Andrews, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Parker, CO

I have been using relational therapy for the past two years. It is a useful modality to understand the ways in which you may be pushing people away, as well as understanding how these behaviors are related to your past experiences in relationships. Many clients I work with experience relational distress and conflict and often have histories of this. Relational therapy is a useful way to improve and change these unhelpful dynamics.

— Erin Davis, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Because I work relationally, it’s my goal that we develop a genuine relationship where we can safely have difficult conversations, have and resolve conflicts, and you feel comfortable experiencing vulnerability and a wide range of emotions from joy to pain. Therapy can create a reparative relational experience that brings you more self-understanding and helps you function with resilience and self-love in your interconnected world.

— Jennifer Alt, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

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

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

Embracing what happens between us as valuable information needed in our understanding of you and your opportunities for growth and healing.

— David Brown, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

In more modern therapeutic approaches, providers allow themselves to be a part of the therapeutic work, engaging in collaborative conversation and mutual exploration towards personal growth. An integrative treatment methodology removes the perceived "expert" stance in the client-provider dynamic because you expect your own life. We are supports to help facilitate a more explicit understanding. This paradigm shift encourages the evaluation of all relationships and how they impact your life.

— Kyle McEvoy, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in New York, NY

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

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

We as humans all have a desire and drive to form meaningful relationships and find acceptance. Relational Therapy is an approach that views relationships as central to psychological health and wellbeing and uses the therapeutic relationship to help facilitate awareness, growth, and positive change.

— Meaghan Decker, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Hudson, MA