In this time of enforced isolation, what I have found and what I’ve experienced with my clients is that connection has never felt more precious or critical. We have never wanted more from our relationships. Not just sexual intimates, but friends, family, children. At no time in history has it been more clear that intimacy is life’s grail.
Yet divorce attorneys have never been busier. Perhaps this is because we all have lived in an anti-relational, addictive, narcissistic culture that may give lip service to the importance of relationships but has not taught us the skills to realize them — and certainly not during these delicate times.
As therapists, we can fill in those gaps. There is a world of relational technology that can be taught and mastered once we open to the need for it. We can give our clients those tools. This is the basis of Relational Life Therapy (RLT) — my life’s work.
Developing my approach has been a twenty-year project. When I first got into the reality of practice, the couples who came to me were suffering, and the tools I had were not adequate to the task. So I made it my mission to figure out a way to bring relief, healing, and change to my clients.
After teaching RLT workshops around the US for more than a decade, I created this online course to make the material even more available to more people. I designed the Level 1 class to give you an in-depth introduction to the theory and practice of the RLT model. It is also the first step toward RLT certification and will prepare you for the in-person Level 2 & 3 trainings.
There are several key aspects of Relational Life Therapy:
First, I developed this approach to work with couples who are stuck. Often, they come to me as a last resort: they’re there to heal the relationship or move on to separation and divorce. RLT has an extraordinary track record in helping these couples understand and change the dynamics of their relationship, restore it to balance, and pull it back from the brink.
Next, this model is all about empowering you as a therapist to use your own wisdom and intuition in your sessions. It gives you the framework and practical tools to build trust and rapport quickly. And the RLT approach can be used very successfully in less extreme cases and alongside other therapy models.
Finally, I have seen this model help thousands of therapists get faster and more effective results for their clients. In the kinds of cases I see, it can be quite detrimental to let therapy drag on. RLT allows you to go deep, understand quickly the negative patterns in the relationship, and help clients make rapid and substantive changes.
In this training I will be giving you the fruit of my life’s work. You will get over 12 hours of video training, live calls with me and RLT-certified therapist Dr. Pam Staples, and a wealth of practical case studies and demos designed to help you become a better, more confident therapist.
I encourage you to join me for this special program.
I look forward to seeing you on the inside and to working with you.
P.S. I’ve put my heart into the Level 1 training we are about to start together—to make it exactly the training I wish I could have gotten myself. As you get deeper into it, you’ll see that there are many refinements and subtleties to the RLT model.
9 Ways RLT is Different from
1. One-Up & One-Down
Traditional psychodynamic therapy focuses primarily on healing shame--helping people come up from feeling “one-down,” or inferior. RLT is just as concerned with shame’s cousin grandiosity. We help people come to level ground, neither “one-up” and superior nor one-down.
2. Taking Sides for Balance
In RLT, therapists are not neutral—we take sides. Not all problems in a relationship are 50/50, and particularly when there’s a power imbalance, the therapist explicitly sides with the one-down person to restore balance. RLT therapists don’t try to seduce or earn the trust of grandiose people; instead, we gather data and use leverage to enlist clients in working through their issues.
3. Being Directive
RLT is not non-directive: we are all about telling people what to do in situations, educating & equipping them to have a corrective emotional experience with their partner. RLT therapists take sides and tell people what to do—and what the consequences will be if they don’t do it.
5. Individual Work in the Presence of the Partner
Deep character and trauma work are done right in the room, in the presence of the partner. This is different from traditional therapy, with its emphasis on individual work. It’s not about transference; it’s about the client changing their relationship with themselves and their partner. Unless one of the partners is quite viciously critical, people will go deeper in the presence of their partner.
6. Therapist as Fellow-Traveler
In traditional therapy, the therapist is an expert; either that, or in the Carl Rogers-style approach, the therapist is a follower. In RLT, the therapist is neither above nor below the client; he or she is the coach and fellow-traveler, whose main authority comes from their personal relational recovery. RLT therapists make use of judicious self-disclosure—telling stories of how they use these skills in their own marriages and know what works.
7. It's About Subjective Reality
There is no room for objective reality in personal relationships. Who’s right or wrong doesn’t matter. It’s about two subjective realities that have to negotiate with each other, make things work for themselves as a team.
8. Teaching Relational Living
Traditional therapy heals through nurturing; RLT believes that nurturing and empathy are necessary but not sufficient. The RLT therapist also coaches, confronts, teaches how to actually live relationally—in a way that is connected to oneself, one’s thoughts, feelings, sensations, and to others. RLT is educational—it teaches what relational living looks and feels like.
9. Meeting at a Shared Connection Point
RLT believes that true intimacy can only happen when partners are “same as”—neither one-up nor one-down. This means helping couples navigate where they are with awareness of where the other partner is in the moment, so they can make the conscious decision to find a meeting point.
1. 12+ hours of Training Videos
In 6 modules of recordings of our training, you will learn all of the core foundation material that is the basis of the Relational Life Therapy model:
- Introduction to Relational Life Therapy
- Relational Mindfulness
- Data Gathering and Seven Lenses 1-4
- Data Gathering and Seven Lenses 5-7
- Finding Leverage
2. Five LIVE Q&A
I use these sessions to explore the material in-depth and answer your questions. I find these calls very rewarding. The students are invariably bright, sincere, committed, and challenging, and I learn as much as you do from the work together.
3. Transcripts and Downloads of ALL the calls and recordings
Along with transcripts and summaries of all the course training videos, you will also have access to transcripts and downloads of the call recordings.
4. Private Facebook Group
Amazing connections and breakthroughs routinely happen in the private Facebook Group. Students discuss the week’s course material, share personal and clinical experiences, give and receive support, and become members of a worldwide community of practitioners.
5. Private Membership Site with Easy Access to All Training Materials
You can access all of the training materials (including recordings of the live calls, demos, and case consults) at your leisure inside the site. Everything (except the demos, for reasons of confidentiality) will be downloadable.
Making Love Work Digital CD Set
In this teaching, Terry Real addresses in a very practical way, what you can do RIGHT NOW to make relationships work in your own life. In today’s relationships, we want to become life-long lovers, but we simply don’t have the skills or tools to realize this dream.
Working With Infidelity in Couples Therapy
Terry presents tools and techniques for therapists to use to help couples reeling from this particular relationship crisis. The set contains four one-hour classes, covering the following topics:
- The first question: What kind of infidelity and why?
- To what degree is it primarily the involved partner’s character issues?
- To what degree is it primarily a reaction to the relationship?
- What about sex addiction?
- The goals of treatment – changing the relationship by changing the character of the partners within it.
- The therapeutic use of self – holding the disparate parts.
- The very different experience and interactions of the key players.
- How to diagnose the relationship itself.
- The healing process/levels of healing.
- Critical elements of rebuilding.
- Different reasons for infidelity.
- Types of infidelities.
Relational Life Therapy
The differences between RLT and traditional psychodynamic therapy are explored. Also considered are the stances of “one-down shame” and “one-up grandiosity” in couples; according to RLT, true intimacy can only happen when partners are “same-as” with each other. RLT is about action and swift results, helping people to make major changes to the negative parts of their character, and the critical role and stance of the therapist is described. Presented also are the concepts of Joining Through the Truth and psychological patriarchy.
In this module, you will learn:
- The RLT phases, and how RLT differs from traditional therapy
- To understand the RLT view of power imbalances in couples, of psychological patriarchy, and how these are addressed through therapy
- To describe the role and approach of the therapist in RLT
with Dr. Pam Staples
The core practice of Relational Mindfulness is explained. In essence it is about being conscious of the “whoosh” of being swept away by our habitual responses (known in RLT as the “first consciousness”) as it happens, and applying the skills of stop, breathe, think (or the “second consciousness”) to whatever the situation is. Also explored are the three parts of the psyche (the Functional Adult, Adaptive Child, and Wounded Child) according to RLT.
In this module, you will learn to:
- Understand the practice of Relational Mindfulness
- Explain the “fight, flight, or fix” responses to the “whoosh” of the first consciousness
- Understand the functions of the three aspects of the psyche
Data Gathering and the Seven Lenses (1-4)
The reasons why, in RLT, data must be gathered as a first stage of therapy. Also laid out are the seven diagnostic lenses of RLT, and the first four explored in depth.
In this module, you will learn to:
- List the seven lenses
- Explain the role of data gathering
- Understand how preconditions are addressed in RLT
- Differentiate the various losing strategies clients employ
- Explain the difference between blatant and latent stances
Data Gathering and the Seven Lenses (5-7)
The “stance, stance, dance” dynamic is explained, tools are given to describe each partner’s pattern and the dance that results, and the goal of therapy in working with this entire dynamic expressed. Losing strategies are revisited, and the “relational grid” diagnostic tool is laid out, as are descriptions of the two kinds of boundaries. The three major family of origin roles are discussed, and advice is given on how to work with grandiose women as well as grandiose men.
In this module, you will learn to:
- Understand “stance, stance, dance”
- Explain the relational grid and track losing strategies against it
- Explain the two kinds of boundaries
- Understand the major family of origin roles and how they play with stances
- Understand effective approaches to working with grandiose women as well as grandiose men
With Dr. Pam Staples
This module moves from diagnosis to treatment. Some common therapeutic mistakes are described, as are the two kinds of grandiosity and the differences between grandiosity and shame. The concept of leverage--what it is, why it’s necessary, and how it can be used—is explored. Advice is given on empowering latent people, and the concept of the “relational champion” is presented.
In this module, you will learn to:
- Understand some common therapeutic mistakes
- Describe the kinds of grandiosity, and contrast it to shame
- Understand the concept of leverage and how to use it
- Describe strategies for latent people
- Understand that RLT requires that the latent person be a “relational champion” in therapy
Methods for “reconnecting’—for using leverage to make patterns apparent and for engaging clients in the therapy—are explored. The different roles of the therapist are presented, and the heroic nature of the RLT work is described: how it is a heroic act for clients to face multi-generational dysfunction and, for the benefit of future generations, put an end to it.
In this module, you will learn to:
- Understand the concept of “reconnecting”
- Recognize three therapeutic roles
- Appreciate the heroism of RLT work
Terry Real is the bestselling author of I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression, the straight-talking How Can I Get Through to You? Reconnecting Men and Women, and most recently The New Rules of Marriage: What You Need to Make Love Work. Terry knows how to lead couples on a step-by-step journey to greater intimacy—and greater personal fulfillment.
Terry founded the Relational Life Institute, offering workshops for couples, individuals, and parents as well as a professional training program for clinicians.
Dr. Pam Staples holds both a Master’s (1984) and Doctoral degree (1993) in psychology. She has 36 years of clinical experience serving individuals, couples, and families across a variety of settings. She began training in Relational Life Therapy with Terry Real in 2007. She is a certified RLT practitioner and is in a private practice as a relational coach in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Dr. Pam has also trained with Pia Mellody at The Meadows and is certified in her relational trauma model. The primary focus of her coaching practice is helping couples get the results they want.
Approved for 12 CEs
(Available for purchase after the course.)
Professions include: Psychologists, Psychoanalysts, Social Workers, Counselors/Marriage and Family Therapists, Creative Arts Therapists, Chemical Dependency Counselors
Frequently Asked Questions
When are the Live Calls?
All calls are at 11am ET/10am CT/9am MT/8am PT and last one hour.
Call One with Terry Real: Tuesday, June 9th, 2020
Call Two with Dr. Pamela Staples: Tuesday, June 16th, 2020
Call Three with Terry Real: Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020
Call Four with Dr. Pamela Staples: Tuesday, June 30th, 2020
Call Five with Terry Real: Tuesday July 7th, 2020
If I miss a call, will it be recorded?
We understand you have busy schedules and live in many different time zones, so all the calls will be recorded and transcribed so you can listen to them anytime, as many times as you like. You will also be able to download the calls. The calls are uploaded into the membership, usually within 48 hours.
Are CEUs available for this course?
For the live 2020 Relational Life Therapy Level One course, CEUs are pending approval. Please check back periodically for updated information on number of CEUs available and what professions they are available for.
You will be sent an email at the end of the course, after the last live Q&A call has completed, with a link to purchase the CEUs.
Will I be able to ask questions during the program and is it interactive?
YES! You are encouraged to participate in the calls. My aim is to make this as interactive and personal as possible….to be in relationship with you and the entire group.
All calls will be live and you’ll have opportunities to ask questions (time permitting). You can also post questions in our private Facebook Community.