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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I believe the most important factor in whether or not therapy works is the relationship between the client and therapist, so we can work together to create a space that feels helpful to you. I always welcome feedback about what is and isn't working, and this can often lead to important insights.

— Sammy Kirk, 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

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

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

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

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

The best predictor of success in counseling is the relationship between client and therapist. I pour my energy into hearing, understanding and respecting my clients, believing what they tell me, and checking in to ensure the space we share is safe and supportive. We build relational skills that clients then take into their own relationships outside of therapy, enriching their support networks to ensure success is sustained.

— Janae Andrew, Licensed Professional Counselor in Phoenix, AZ

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

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

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 Vancouver, WA

Relational therapy posits that satisfying relationships are necessary for your well-being. The therapeutic relationship we share is seen as a mirror that is reflective of your relationships outside of the therapy space. We examine our dynamics in the therapy space and work together to help you gain more awareness and connect patterns that may be negatively and positively affecting your relationships, including with yourself.

— Carol Covelli, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in ,

As humans, we are relational beings. I believe that what transpires in the therapy room is a unique and valuable exchange that enables a non-judgmental, in the moment discussion of how we are impacting one another.

— Lindsay Anderson, Professional Counselor Associate in , OR

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

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

The core foundation of good therapeutic work is a relationship built on warmth, authenticity, and trust, where all parties learn from one another. Our approach pays close attention to what is happening moment-to-moment and explores the ways that we are impacting each other. We know that therapy is incredibly vulnerable and can feel intimidating! Our therapists are not blank slates-knowing about the person you're sharing with and what they stand for makes sharing a little bit easier.

— Kindman & Co. Therapy Practice, Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

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

My approach to relationship counseling comes from my training in Integrative Systemic Therapy, in which we analyze the positive feedback loops that occur between people and solidify unhealthy patterns of relating, and discover ways to change these sequences to become more responsive than reactive. I am trained in aspects of the Gottman Method, Emotionally Focused Therapy, Imago, and Attachment Theory.

— Grace Norberg, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Oak Park, IL