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 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

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, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Seattle, WA

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

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

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

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

Relational Therapy values the relationship between the client and therapist to work through psychological and behavioral issues. Relationships are considered central to mental/emotional health and the therapeutic relationship is used to help facilitate awareness, growth, and positive change. The concepts of Relational Therapy are Relatedness, Transference and Countertransference between the client and therapist, Enactment, Projective Identification, Intersubjectivity, and Self-Disclosure.

— Feliz Lucia Molina, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Los Angeles, CA

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

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 Los Angeles, CA

Many people find being in deep and authentic connection with others in the outside world to be terrifyingly vulnerable. I see therapy as the perfect opportunity to explore how to be in healthy relationship with a safe other. My job is to create a safe and inviting space, tailor made for you, your lived experience, and your needs each time we meet. Let's practice vulnerability together!

— Sam Krehel, Mental Health Counselor in , WA

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, Licensed Professional Counselor Intern in Portland, OR

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

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

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