Relational Life Therapy

Offering a common sense approach to couples counseling.

Relational Life Therapy is a form of therapy that positively and proactively addresses behaviors—and their origins—to repair intimacy and trust. It’s a realistic and direct therapy that teaches conflict resolution, personal accountability and honest communication so that you and your partner can enjoy a more loving and balanced relationship.


Relational Life Therapy was created by Terry Real, a celebrated psychotherapist, speaker, and author who focuses on men’s issues, relationship distress and depression. From his decades of practical experience with couples and individuals, his work with other clinicians and research at the Relational Life Institute, Real has developed a rigorous and practical approach to repairing partnerships.

In his own words, “Nothing is more important in our lives than our relationships. A great relationship boosts your immune system, opens your heart, and keeps you vital and creative.”

How It Works

As we grow up, we’re encouraged to fit into certain roles. To adapt to the cultural mainstream, we may have adopted behaviors that aren’t reflections of our inner desires. Social pressures encourage men, for example, to embrace aggressive and defensive behaviors to avoid being labeled “weak”.

We’re all products of our family of origin and our environment which have provided us with the often dysfunctional models we have for patterning our behavior. As we follow those societal cues, we are robbed of the much needed relational skills that support harmonious relationships.

RLT proposes that balance and equality are at the heart of harmony.

It’s normal for relationships to cycle through periods of harmony, disharmony and repair. When thedynamic of a relationship is unequal, it can create disharmony. The resulting barriers to connection make the repair feel impossible.

In Relational Life Therapy, we take an honest and look at both partners behavior and “join through truth” to directly address the issues without blame, anger or retaliation.

The goal is to move from insight to action empowering meaningful change. The end result is a new relationship skillset for how to communicate with each other, respect each other and enjoy lasting intimacy.

This form of therapy is very action oriented and addresses issues and behaviors in a clear and direct way.

RLT is particularly useful in situations where there is an imbalance of power between partners, helping the more dominant partner recognize their need for control and then stand down, while empowering the less dominant one to find their voice and be less reactive. This restores equilibrium and respect to the partnership.

We find the methods of Relational Life Therapy to be extremely useful in these situations and draw on them as appropriate.

Why We Incorporate Relational Life Therapy​

Relational Life Therapy encourages the therapist to be his or her imperfect self and draw upon personal experiences and challenges. As a couple, each with 30 years of experience counseling other couples, we incorporate our own life and love lessons from the living laboratory of our own marriage.

Debbie and Craig have both received training with Terry Real in Relational Life Therapy.