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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Relational therapy sometimes referred to as relational-cultural therapy, is a therapeutic approach based on the idea that mutually satisfying relationships with others are necessary for one’s emotional well-being. This type of psychotherapy takes into account social factors, such as race, class, culture, and gender, and examines the power struggles and other issues that develop as a result of these factors, as well as how they relate to the relationships in a person’s life.

— Susan Stork, Sex Therapist in Baltimore, MD

The people in our life can bring us much joy and unfortunately some pain. Learn how to listen in new ways and communicate in news ways that change interactional patterns that minimize painful interactions and increase the joy and pleasure that healthy relationships can bring into your life. I work with clients on all kinds of relationships in their life, friends, family, work relationships, and romantic relationships/partnerships.

— LISA TARRACH, Marriage & Family Therapist in , WA

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 Livingston, NJ

All my clients bring to therapy the desire to improve relationship functioning. I address issues such as gaining the courage to set stronger boundaries with a difficult person, resolving anxiety from relational trauma, or taking ownership for resolving marital conflict. I serve clients who want to understand and grow in the context of important relationships. I create authentic, trusting therapeutic experiences with clients that they can build on in their everyday lives.

— Margaret  Certain, Marriage & Family Therapist in Seattle, WA

I believe that the centrality of relationships in people's lives (women and non-Western folks in particular) has long been pathologized by the field of mental health. I believe that therapy by its nature is a deeply relational process where mutual growth and empowerment can occur. As a result, I bring my full authentic self to the therapeutic relationship.

— Sophia Boissevain, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

My clinical perspective is rooted in self-inquiry and the non-duality of the Advaita Vedanta tradition which holds the understanding that we all have our own inner wisdom that is clear, compassionate and whole. I draw upon my many years of clinical experience, study and meditation to support clients in opening to their true selves.

— Janet Weber, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Half Moon Bay, CA

The goal of couples counseling isn't to help you avoid or eliminate conflict. All relationships cycle from harmony, disharmony, and repair. The goal of my work is to help you repair more quickly and more effectively. Intimacy can be scary. It is, after all, making one's self vulnerable, allowing the other to see inside you. That's why we will also work to increase your self-awareness in therapy. How can you share of yourself if you don't know yourself?

— Mark Cagle, Counselor in Dallas, TX

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

Relational therapy is all about how you show up in your life- how your identities interact within your relationships and day to day life. The important piece of this is that we will build rapport, a therapeutic relationship, in order to do work together! It's pretty awesome.

— Elaina Vig, Licensed Clinical Social Worker - Candidate in Saint Louis Park, MN

I often work with clients from a relational perspective which means that I look at their patterns of relating to others, and how these patterns often originate from relationships earlier in life. Once people are aware of the patterns they are engaging in, we are able to start working on changing them if needed.

— Ginny Kington, Psychologist in Duluth, GA

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

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

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

Central to the relational therapy approach is the idea that we are shaped by our social world and relationships, and that having good relationships is essential for our well-being and self-esteem.

— Syd Seifert, Psychotherapist in New York, NY

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

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

Harm happens in relationship, and healing happens in relationship. We often carry our past relationships into our current ones, even if we're not aware of it at first. In psychotherapy, we will tend to the truth of the relationship, and together, welcome all it brings up for you. Healing happens not just in you telling stories, but in the ways we recognize how those stories impact each of us in the moment.

— Sarah Peace, Licensed Professional Counselor in Culver City, CA