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Relational Therapy

two teenage girls sitting on a bed and laughing

Human beings are wired for social connection. We all need others to celebrate the good things in our lives and support us when things get tough. It’s no surprise that people who have strong, meaningful relationships with others report higher satisfaction with life than those who don’t.

Relational therapy operates under the philosophy that in order to be emotionally healthy, a person must have fulfilling and satisfying relationships with the people around him/her. Thus, relational therapists treat emotional and psychological distress by looking at the client’s patterns of behavior and experiences in interpersonal relationships. The goal of relational therapy is to help clients build the skills to establish and maintain healthy relationships in their lives.

Relational therapists recognize that the change process is enhanced by the quality of the relationship between the therapist and the client. Some research shows that change in therapy is attributed to the therapeutic relationship more than the model of therapy being used.

3 Important Facts

  • Relational therapists believe most emotional and psychological distress is caused by upheaval in past and present relationships.
  • Relational therapy is widely practiced by therapists around the world.
  • Relational therapists seek to forge a safe, strong relationship with their clients as a model that clients can use when building relationships outside of the therapy room.

Signs to Look For

Relational therapy is used to treat all manners of emotional or psychological distress. It’s also particularly useful in treating clients with interpersonal problems.

What Are My Next Steps?

To learn more about relational therapy and how it might benefit you, speak with a therapist who practices interpersonal or relational therapy.