Everything You Need to Know about Relational Therapy

We often find ourselves caught in a cycle of negative patterns when it comes to relationships. We might feel stuck in a rut, constantly arguing with our partners or continually being disappointed by them. These negative patterns can be challenging to break, but luckily, relational therapy can help. 

Relational therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on helping people improve their relationships. It is based on the belief that our relationships with others are the key to happiness and well-being. Relational life therapy aims to help people improve their relationships with others so they can lead happier, healthier lives.

What Is Relational Therapy?

Dr. Terry Real developed relational life therapy (RLT) in the late 1980s. It is a short-term, intensive therapy based on object relations theory principles. 

Object relations theory is a psychoanalytic theory that emphasizes the importance of early relationships with caregivers in developing the self. 

According to this theory, people develop internal mental representations of themselves and others based on these early relationships. These representations guide our interactions with others and influence our sense of self. 

Relational therapy is designed to help people stuck in unhealthy patterns of relating to others. It is based on the belief that we repeat these patterns because they are familiar to us, even though they may be harmful. Relational therapy aims to help people break out of these unhealthy patterns and develop more healthy and satisfying relationships. 

One of the key ideas in relational therapy is that we all have an “inner child” shaped by our early experiences. This inner child governs our emotions and behaviours in our adult relationships. To heal our current relationships, we need to heal our relationship with our inner child first.

RLT also emphasizes the importance of the “here and now” in our relationships. Our past experiences shape our current relationships but are also shaped by the present moment. 

To change our current relationships, we need to be aware of the past’s role in the present and learn new ways of relating to others in the present.

What Are the Key Principles of Relational Therapy?

  1. The Principle of Self-Responsibility

Each individual is responsible for his or her own emotions and behaviours. We cannot control how others think or feel, but we can control our reactions to them.

  1. The Principle of Mutuality

We need to be in relationships with others to grow and develop. We cannot do it all alone.

  1. The Principle of Balance

We must find a balance between our own needs and the needs of others. We cannot always put our own needs above those of others, nor can we always put others’ needs before our own.

  1. The Principle of Respect

We need to respect ourselves and others. We cannot treat others with disrespect and expect them to respect us.

  1. The Principle of Growth

We need to strive for personal growth and development. We cannot stay stagnant in our relationships or our personal lives.

How Does Relational Life Therapy Work?

Relational therapy is based on the idea that our relationships with others reflect our relationships with ourselves. Therefore, the first step in relational treatment is to help individuals develop a more positive relationship with themselves. 

Once individuals have a better understanding and relationship with themselves, they can then begin to work on developing healthier relationships with others. 

Relational therapy typically consists of four main phases: 

  1. Discovery

During this phase, individuals will explore their past relationships and identify any patterns or negative beliefs impacting their current relationships. 

  1. Awareness

In this phase, individuals will become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours in relationships. They will also learn how to communicate their needs and boundaries better. 

  1. Transformation

In this phase, individuals transform negative patterns and beliefs into positive ones. They will also learn new skills for interacting with others more positively. 

  1. Integration

In this final phase, individuals will learn how to integrate the new skills and perspectives they have learned into their everyday lives.

What Are the Advantages of Relational Therapy?

  1. It Can Help People to Improve Their Communication Skills

Communication is essential in all relationships, but it can be challenging to do well. Relational life therapy can help people learn how to communicate more effectively to build stronger, healthier relationships.

  1. It Can Help People to Understand Their Emotions

Many people struggle to understand and deal with their emotions. This can lead to problems in relationships. Relational life therapy can help people understand their feelings and how to deal with them healthily.

  1. It Can Help People to Learn How to Set Boundaries

Boundaries are an essential part of any relationship. They help to ensure that we are getting our needs met while also respecting the needs of others. Boundaries can be difficult to set, but relational life therapy can help people learn how to put them in a healthy way for both parties.

  1. It Can Help People to Understand Themselves Better

When we are in a relationship, we constantly interact with them. This gives us a lot of information about ourselves. We learn how we react to different situations and what our triggers are.

If you are struggling with mental health, consider seeking relational life therapy. It can offer many advantages that can help you to improve your relationships and to lead a happier, healthier life.

How to Find the Best Relational Therapist

When looking for a relational therapist, finding someone who is a good fit for you and your needs is essential. Here are some things to consider:

  1. What Are Their Training and Experience?

It is important to find a therapist with training and experience in the specific areas you are looking for help with. For example, if you are struggling with relationship issues, you would want to find a therapist specializing in relationships.

  1. Do They Have a Good Understanding of Your Culture and Background?

You need to find a therapist who understands your cultural background and can relate to you on that level.

  1. Do They Have Good Bedside Manners?

A therapist with a suitable bedside manner is essential because you want to find a therapist who you feel comfortable talking to and who makes you feel safe.

  1. Cost Consideration

Cost is an important consideration, as therapy can be expensive. Many therapists offer sliding scale fees based on income, so ask about this.

  1. Do They Have Good References?

When looking for a therapist, getting references from friends, family, or your doctor is always a good idea.

Relational Therapy in Richmond, Burnaby and Vancouver BC

If you’re struggling in your relationship, relational therapy can help you break the negative patterns that keep you stuck. It can also help you improve your communication skills, understand your emotions, learn to set boundaries, and understand yourself better. 

When considering relational therapy, remember that change takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself and your therapist, and you will likely see positive results.

Whether you’re struggling with communication issues or conflict resolution or want to improve your overall relationship, MindRight Counselling & Consulting can help. We have the best relationship counsellors in Vancouver who can provide therapeutic support, guidance, and psycho-educational. Contact us today to learn more!