What is it?


Relational psychotherapy is a mode of therapy that emphasizes and examines a client’s beliefs about relationships past and present, taking into account race, gender, class, and sexual orientation.


"The lessons aren't about wealth or fame or working

harder and harder. The clearest message that we get

from this 75-year study is this:

Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period."
-- one of the key findings of a 75-year (and counting)

study of human development at Harvard University

called The Grant Study

Without fulfilling, ongoing relationships, emotional health is adversely affected and a person’s self in the present is deadened. Past relational experiences live in us, and if left unexamined, tend to repeat. If past relational experiences were stressful or traumatic, those experiences can inhibit a person’s ability to live in the present, connect to others, and engage in healthy relationships. Clients often describe this emotional state as “flat”.


It is the work of a relational therapist to empathetically guide clients through a full range of relational experiences and events in order to  examine and understand the discordant effects they have had and continue to have on present-day relationships and other social interactions (such as those of the workplace).


"Extensive research suggests that... psychotherapy's power
to heal lies mainly in its human and relational aspects."*


The therapist works with the client to create a new, secure and supportive relationship which serves as a model for the client going forward. There is room in this new relationship for the safe exploration of all emotions and states, including those the client may have previously thought of as dangerous and perhaps disavowed, such as anger, disappointment, or sadness.


"Evidence from numerous disciplines shows that humans are

evolved with the ability to heal one another emotionally through

human connection and social interaction and that psychotherapy

is an expression of this evolutionarily derived ability."

 -- *Psychology Today Blog


Since progress in relational therapy is cumulative, weekly sessions are the most effective, especially for those new to therapy. I recommend a client come to six weekly sessions before making any decision about frequency or the effectiveness of the treatment.

What is it good for?


Relational therapy is useful in the treatment of many issues and emotions, including but not limited to: aging, anger, anxiety, bereavement, body-image, childhood abuse, coming out, depression, despair, difficulty communicating, divorce, eating disorders, emotional numbness, emptiness, family issues, fatigue, grief, identity crisis, isolation, issues facing artists (creativity), loss, midlife crisis, procrastination, relationship problems, sadness, self-esteem, self-harm, sexuality (including kink), shame, shyness, social anxiety, stress, suicidal ideation, and trauma.

Have you been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or suffer from chronic thoughts of sucide? While relational therapy may be helpful, Dialectical BehaviorTherapy (DBT) would probably be more helpful. Click to link to a colleague, Laval Martin, who provides DBT. Contact him directly if you have any inquries.

Your confidentiality is guaranteed

(With these four exceptions):

  1. If Ibelieve that disclosure is essential to prevent physical injury to you or others.
  2. If I believe that a minor is in need of protection from abuse or neglect.
  3. If my records are subpoenaed by court order.
  4. If  you tell me about unethical behaviour of another Registered health care professional, I am obligated to report this to their professional College.


If we encounter each other outside the therapy setting, I will not initiate contact with you to protect your confidentiality, but I will happily engage if you approach me.

To protect the therapeutic aspect of our work, I cannot accept requests to link to you on social networks (Facebook, Linked In, etc.)

Relational Psychotherapy

Relational Therapy Toronto