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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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 believes our relationships (even the one we have with ourselves) is the foundation for mental relief of the symptoms that often keep us stuck or immobilized. And AJ focuses heavily on the relationship between each client and himself to model healthy boundaries and ways of positively interacting.

— AJ Rich, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

since i believe the essence of trauma contains profound experiences of disconnection, i also believe in the profound necessity of connection, aka relationship. not only interpersonal relationships, but also cultural and systemic relationships. plus, research shows that the primary predictor of "successful" therapy is the relationship between counselor and client. i take a relational stance so that i honor not only the therapeutic relationship but also the entire web of a client's relationships.

— summer koo, Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate in Denver, CO

Relationships are rich with opportunities to understand ourselves, to heal through corrective experiences and to create new frameworks to understand how to relate to others. For those who have endured deep pain and trauma in relationships, I undestand how important healthy boundaries and emotional safety are to develop real intimacy that heals. I welcome work on our relationship and will both bring my authenticity and emotions to our work when helpful for your healing and self understanding.

— Natalie Spautz, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA

Relational Therapy (RT) is an approach rooted in Psychodynamic Therapy. Psychodynamic therapy puts emphases on the psychological cause of emotional pain. Self-reflection and self-examination are its major focus. RT asserts the relationship is in fact what is needed for true reflection, examination, and ultimately change. Major tenants of RT are the therapist's stance, authenticity, presence, reflection, and engagement.

— Gary Alexander, Therapist in Seattle, WA

In sessions, our relationship is important in that it will often reflect how you are in relationships outside of the session. And I believe almost everything is a relationship, your marriage, family, work, your relationship to yourself. If you have difficulties with relationships our sessions will be a safe space to practice overcoming these issues.

— Tracy Sondern, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

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 use relational psychodynamic therapy because I see the relationship we build together as the crucible of change: it acts as both a window into your interpersonal world, and also an arena in which you can try on new ways of being. We learn how to see ourselves and the world around in relationship, and this can become known and changed in relationship. In a non-judgmental, compassionate space, we contact and rework the dynamics that keep you feeling stuck, dissatisfied, and in pain.

— Dave McNew, Psychologist in Seattle, 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

I believe harm and healing occur within relationships. The relationship we cultivate of trust and honesty in the therapy space can be a learning lab, where we practice new skills that can then be translated into other relationships in your life. I believe the "click" and fit between therapist and client is one of the most important predictors of success in therapy, so I will be very open and honest in helping you find the best person with whom to seek care!

— Katie Vigneulle, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Seattle, WA

We grow through and towards relationship. My training emphasizes the importance of relationships to our mental health.

— Jason Wang, Psychologist in Washington, DC

My relational approach is influenced by attachment theory and psychodynamic therapies. I believe healing happens in the space between therapist and client through attuned, authentic connection. Sessions focus on our relationship and the interpersonal dynamics unfolding in the room. My role is to be fully present and engaged with you and your unfolding narrative without judgment. I believe the therapeutic relationship is the vehicle for increased self-awareness, vulnerability and change.

— Bee Cook, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate in Seattle, WA

Understanding the relationships in individuals lives that have impacted them in the past and present. I am trained in psychodynamic theories that evaluate how our social world shapes our understanding of ourselves and others we are in relationship with.

— Emily Russell, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

A good portion of my Relational Therapy is informed by experience combined with the Imago lens. I have found that relationships are usually helpful crucibles for change and thus have learned how to use the therapy relationship as a part of that crucible. Practice has helped me to find that some of my personal stories are useful in pointing out patterns. It helps to demonstrate the humanness of our dilemmas in order to help a client see that their challenge is natural, given their situation.

— Chris Hermesch, Counselor in Kansas City, MO

I have been working with relationship, culture and role throughout my career.

— Rafe Stepto, Psychotherapist in Brooklyn, NY

I am a relational therapist, and I am comfortable working with clients on various issues that arise in their relationships. For nearly the past five years, I have facilitated a "Healthy Relationships" group. Some of the recurring relational therapy topics are social factors, such as culture, race, class, heteronormativity, and intersectionality. Relational therapy is helpful when an individual is experiencing some discomfort from their intimate, professional, family, or social relationships.

— Uriah Cty M.A., LMFT # 121606, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Beverly Hills, 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