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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We encourage you to view the therapeutic space as your “relational home,” where your experiences will be honored and held by our empathetic team of clinicians. Our goal is to collaborate to help you make meaning of your story, ultimately searching for opportunities for relief and personal growth. By embracing what happens in the therapeutic relationship, valuable information is gained and is helpful in our understanding of you and your opportunities for growth and healing.

— Brown Therapy Center, Psychotherapist in San Francisco, CA

Relational therapists believe in the importance and transformative nature of human relationships, collaboration, and sharing of experiences. Our relationship in therapy is authentic and an important factor in our success together.

— Kristen Verge, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Beacon, NY

I was trained primarily in a Relational approach to therapy. I love the relational approach because it allows the therapeutic relationship to become a place where we can explore the dynamics that are at play in a client's other relationships in real time during the therapy hour, which I believe can be a truly transformative experience.

— Ashley Eisenlohr, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate in Everett, WA

My approach to treatment is rooted in Relational theories (psychodynamic, attachment theory, and object relations) as such theories connect our neurobiology with our experience of relationships from infancy to the present. I work to help clients understand, highlight, and create a narrative for past events that have occurred, in order to process experiences and allow them to heal in the present.

— Ariel VanDoren, Licensed Professional Counselor in Washington, DC

I have focused on Relational-Cultural Therapy, which recognizes that relationships happen within a cultural context, and that context can be very important in understanding one's relationships. This form of therapy focuses on connection with others as a core human need, and works on modeling relational skills within the therapeutic relationship. I am happy to offer this form of therapy.

— Caera Gramore, Mental Health Practitioner in Arlington, WA

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

Relational-cultural theory, and by extension, relational-cultural therapy (RCT) stems from the work of Jean Baker Miller, M.D.. Often, relational-cultural theory is aligned with the feminist and or multicultural movements in psychology. In fact, RCT embraces many social justice aspects from these movements.

— Michele Yurgin, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Rainier, OR

I see the therapeutic relationship as the foundation for the work of therapy. I strive to engage compassionately and authentically, and to enter into a collaborative space with the client that is based on building trust, openness, and curiosity. I invite clients to provide me with feedback about their experiences in our time together, as these reactions can often help us strengthen our relationship as well as build insight into patterns a client may be experiencing in the rest of their life.

— Dr. Luana Bessa, Psychologist in Boston, MA

Relational therapy focuses on the use of the relationship between the therapist and the individuals, and couples, they work with to create opportunities and experiences for self-reflection and interpersonal growth. Relational therapy often integrates multiple models and approaches to create a safe, supportive and experiential therapy where emotional risk taking and self exploration is both supported and encouraged.

— Joseph Winn, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Concord, MA

I'm well trained in psychodynamic and systems-oriented relational therapy. This means that we'll work together to improve your relationships and overall wellbeing, through both exploring the past, and looking with curiosity at your current connections and patterns of communication. We'll be able to learn from the way you and I work and communicate together, trying new behaviors along the way. We'll discover what "old roles" worked in the past, that no longer serve you in the present.

— Joseph Hovey, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Brooklyn, NY

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

The primary reason I chose to become a marriage and family therapist is because I believe in the impact of relationships on our lives; therefore, I have spent the past several years consuming current studies on relational therapy.  I bring a curiosity to my practice that invites family dynamics, environments, friendships, and romantic relationships to have a role in one's identity.  I believe relational therapy techniques can be used with anybody - individuals, couples, families, etc.

— Ajay Dheer, Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern in Beaverton, OR

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 social animals, relationships are the core of our well being. We learn them first in our caregivers' arms, and then through siblings, friends, & others. I have extensive training in relational therapy, using radical transparency in our therapeutic relationship to highlight & strengthen your relational capacities, assisting you to build healthier, stronger, mutually respectful bonds of your own.

— Polly Harrison, Marriage and Family Therapist Associate in Portland, OR

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