Cross River Wellbeing Counselling & Psychotherapy in East Sussex

Relational Life Therapy (RLT) is a form of couples therapy that aims to help partners resolve conflicts, develop personal accountability, improve communication and foster intimacy within their relationship. RLT was developed by Terry Real, a psychotherapist, speaker, and author who specializes in addressing men's issues and relationships. The approach is based primarily on his practical experience in working with couples, individuals, and other clinicians, as well as his extensive research at the Relational Life Institute, which he founded in 2002.

Couples seeking help to improve their relationships, especially when a relationship has been affected by societal assumptions about the roles of intimate partners, may find relational life therapy a helpful approach. Although RLT was initially developed to address couples’ concerns,  it may also be used to address difficult family dynamics and individual relationship conflicts. Therapists who practice this approach work to encourage people to develop assertiveness and the skills that may be necessary to achieve intimacy, passion, and unity.

The long-term goal of RLT is to help people establish relational, productive environments where all relationships are valued, balanced, and grounded in equality and mutual respect. Thus, the approach may be a helpful tool of empowerment for educators, parents, and even communities, as well as intimate partners. 

How does RLT work?

RLT therapists aim to provide people with the confidence and ability to break out of the traditional societal roles so that they can better achieve more harmonious relationships. We understand that society and culture have created an environment that is not always conducive to relational living. 

As an RLT therapist, I acknowledge that all relationships experience cycles of harmony, disharmony, and repair. Relationship problems may arise if either partner is not aware of how to properly repair the damage associated with disharmony. The relationship may become more troubled if either partner begins to develop feelings of disillusionment and/or resignation when faced with relationship issues.

The aim of RLT is to achieve a sense of balance and dispel the social myths that often impact modern relationships and to celebrate the true nature of each partner and role that partner plays in the couple dynamic. I therefore help couples to identify their unique dance, develop the skills needed to repair their relationship, and encourage them to take decisive action towards repair. I have a deep understanding that balance and equality are at the heart of harmony. The approach allows for freedom of expression without fear of blame, anger, retaliation, or condemnation.

Like many other forms of talk therapy, relational life therapy sessions involve communication between the therapist and an individual, couple, or group. In each case, the therapist aims to provide those seeking treatment with compassionate, professional care. However, there are some key differences between traditional psychotherapy and RLT:

  • Traditional talk therapists may present themselves as experts in their fields, while RLT therapists speak as imperfect people who are themselves in recovery.
  • Traditional talk therapists tend not to directly address behaviours. Relational life therapists address issues and behaviours in a clear and direct way, without shaming the person seeking help.
  • Frequently, traditional talk therapists encourage people in their care to develop insight, but relational life therapists also encourage people in their care to take decisive action and may, in fact, emphasize action.
  • A traditional therapist may choose not to confront people in treatment for fear these people may leave therapy. RLT therapists may instead tell people in treatment they will take them on in order to help them recover.
  • Traditional psychotherapists may try to help ease disruptive individuals into therapy or attempt to make therapy more palatable/acceptable for disruptive people. A relational life therapist may instead make therapy as uncomfortable as necessary for deep insight and healing to occur.


©2024 Dee Mcdonald — powered by WebHealer
Website Cookies  Privacy Policy  Administration