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Relational Theory: All About Relationships Essay

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Relational Theory
There has been some recent argument against the current understanding of the place of relationships in psychotherapy. While most theories argue that relationships are important or even essential to good mental health, other theorists claim that the way relationships are conceptualized in these theories is insufficient (Slife & Wiggins, 2009). Most of these theories conceptualize the individuals first, and then talk about the way these individuals relate. Relationships are often understood as two or more independent self-contained individuals interacting (Slife & Wiggins, 2009). An alternative way to look at relationships is offered by relational psychoanalysts and other theorists, though again it should be noted that
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It takes two friends actively being friends to each other for the relational good of friendship to occur (Fowers, 2005). In real life there is no taking turns in “doing” friendship between friends because it is a shared good.
When a client attends individual therapy, the focus is traditionally on the client and their internal thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. A relational therapy would encourage an inward look, but also a recognition that the goal of therapy is to help the client not to understand themselves through introspection, but to relate to others well and to experience belonging (Slife & Wiggins, 2009). RACT theorizes that interpersonal problems are often what bring clients into the therapy room and good relational connections with the therapist and others is often what they are looking for. As Wachtel (2008) explains, relational therapy is less of an interview or an examination and more of a conversation. Relational therapy is a relationship and has the potential to be a good healing one as therapist and client(s) work towards common goals.
It is important to note that it is the right type of relationships, rather than a large quantity of relationships which are the goal of relational therapy. An integration of ideas from structural family therapy helps us see that relationships can also be the source of many problems. In families, if there are imbalances or structural disorganization, the relationships are not able to
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