RLT Level 1 - Online Training

Learn to harness powerful Relational Life Therapy techniques to set couples on the path to reconnection. Discover how to swiftly get to the root of the problem in couples therapy, build trust with your clients, and help them make rapid and substantive changes.

A 10.5-hour live online training including real-time couples therapy demonstrations with Terry Real and the RLI faculty.

Terry Real

“Family dysfunction rolls down from generation to generation, like a fire in the woods, taking down everything in its path until one person in one generation has the courage to turn and face the flames. That person brings peace to their ancestors and spares the children that follow.”
— Terry Real, Creator of Relational Life Therapy

A Note From Terry Real


Connection has never felt more precious or critical. We have never wanted more from our relationships, not just our romantic relationships but friends, family, and 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.

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 thirty-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 inadequate for 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 all over the U.S., I created this online course to make the material available to more people. I designed RLT Level 1 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 Level 2 & 3 trainings.

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 and understand the negative patterns in the relationship quickly to help clients make rapid and substantive changes.

I will give you the fruit of my life’s work in this training. 

And this is likely the last time I will be running RLT Level 1 LIVE, so I encourage you to join me and my terrific faculty for 10.5 hours of live training. You’ll join myself and Cathy Hill (Director of the RLT Training School) for 5 90-minute classes starting July 6, which will be packed full of real case demonstrations so you can see how the techniques translate into practice. To enhance your learning, you’ll also benefit from 3 60-minute Q&A calls from senior RLT therapists and teachers.

I look forward to seeing you in the training and sharing the transformative power of RLT 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 received myself. As you get deeper into it, you’ll see that there are many refinements and subtleties to the RLT model.

What's included in RLT Level 1:

01. Core Modules

Over 7 hours of live calls

5 LIVE 90-minute Classes with Terry Real

In these interactive live calls, Terry and Cathy Hill, Director of the RLT Training School, will teach you all the core foundational material that forms the basis of the RLT model. (Don’t worry if you can’t attend all of the live calls as they’ll be recorded.)

Class 1: An Introduction to Relational Life Therapy
Thursday, July 6, 12–1:30pm ET

Class 2: Data Gathering and RLT Lenses 1-5
Thursday, July 13, 12–1:30pm ET

Class 3: Data Gathering and RLT Lenses 6-7
Tuesday, July 18, 12–1:30pm ET

Class 4: Finding Leverage
Tuesday, July 25, 12–1:30pm ET

Class 5: Recap & Common Mistakes 
Thursday, July 27, 12–1:30pm ET 

02. Q&A Calls

3 hours of live calls

3 LIVE 60-minute Q&A Calls with RLT Faculty

Join senior RLT therapists and teachers to deepen your understanding of the course material. This is you chance to ask any questions you may have and get crystal clear on how to apply RLT Phase 1 in your client sessions.

Q&A 1 with Desirae Ysasi, LPC-S
Monday, July 17, 11am–12pm ET 

Q&A 2 with Julie Rudiger, LCSW
Thursday, July 20, 11am–12pm ET

Q&A 3 with Anna Sterk, LMFT
Wednesday, July 26, 10-11 am ET 

Bonus: RLT Demonstration
Private Membership Site With Lifetime Access to All Training Materials

You’ll receive access to our private membership site, the RLT Community Hub, where all call recordings will be stored so you can refer back to them as often as you need. You also access a discussion forum to connect with your fellow students and share your experiences.

Here’s what you’ll learn inside each class:

Class 1.

Content types included in this module:

An Introduction to 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 Relational Mindfulness, Joining Through the Truth, and psychological patriarchy.

Learning objectives:

  • Explain the 3 Phases of RLT and how RLT differs from traditional therapy
  • Understand the RLT view of power imbalances in couples, of psychological patriarchy, and how these are addressed through therapy
  • Describe the role and approach of the therapist in RLT
  • Explain Relational Mindfulness and the “fight, flight, fix” responses 
Class 2.

Content types included in this module:


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 first explored in depth. 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 is expressed. Losing strategies, preconditions, and blatant/latent stances are explored.

Learning objectives:

  • 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
Class 3.

Content types included in this module:


Relational trauma and its impact on adult relationships is explored. The three major family of origin roles are discussed, and advice is given on how to work with grandiose partners. The Relationship Grid diagnostic tool is laid out as a tool to help you identify each partner’s relational stance. You will also explore the two kinds of boundaries and self-esteem, with advice on how to work with grandiosity.

Learning objectives:

  • Explain the relational grid and track losing strategies against it
  • Describe the two kinds of boundaries
  • Outline 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
Class 4.

Content types included in this module:


We move from diagnosis to treatment. Here, you will learn how to use the RLT approach of Joining Through the Truth to lovingly confront clients and engage them in the therapeutic process. The concept of leverage is explored: what it is, why it’s necessary, and how it can be used. Advice is given on empowering latent people, and the concept of the “relational champion” is presented.

Learning objectives:

  • 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
Class 5.

Content types included in this module:


In this module, we consolidate all of your learnings from the previous modules as we fill in the gaps. Some common therapeutic mistakes are described to help you fine-tune your understanding of how to apply the RLT Phases 1 techniques in client sessions. We will preview RLT Phases 2 and 3 to outline how the therapy deepens as we begin inner child work and teaching relational skills. 

Learning objectives:

  • Identify the common therapeutic mistakes and how to avoid them
  • Explain how RLT Phase 1 techniques can be applied to get to the root of the presenting problem
  • Understand how RLT Phases 2 and 3 take this work deeper to create profound change in relationships
“Terry helps reawaken couples who seem trapped in a long-term stalemate and allows them to move toward growth and fuller Selfhood.”

Richard Schwartz, originator of Internal Family Systems

8 Ways RLT is Different From Traditional Therapy


Traditional psychotherapy 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 the level ground, neither “one-up” and superior nor “one-down” and inferior.


In traditional therapy, character is considered deeply embedded and hard to change. In RLT, we see character as more or less equal to one’s internalized family—the repertoire of relational themes inherited from the family of origin. Character is changeable. We set the bar high: we expect to see dramatic change in our clients. It’s not unusual for clients to simply stop doing negative things they’ve done their whole lives. And, with support, these changes can be permanent. RLT moves fast and makes things happen—its techniques help clients make real characterological changes.


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. In RLT, we focus on helping clients work as a team with an “us vs. the problem” mindset and move beyond the “you vs. me” mindset and the power struggle of who’s right.


In RLT, therapists are not neutral—we take sides. Not all problems in a relationship are 50/50, some are 70/30, some are 99/1. When there’s power imbalance, we explicitly side 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 engage resistant clients in the process.


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, and this work helps build empathy and connection between couples.


Traditional therapy heals through nurturing; RLT believes that nurturing and empathy are necessary but not sufficient. In RLT, we also teach our clients how to live relationally—in a way that is connected to oneself, one’s thoughts, feelings, sensations, and to others. RLT is educational and it empowers clients with the skills to repair and cherish their relationships for life.


We lovingly confront our clients: RLT is all about telling people what to do in certain situations, educating, and 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.


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: we are in the mud with them, and our main authority comes from our personal relational recovery. RLT therapists make use of judicious self-disclosure—telling stories of how we use these skills in our own relationships and know what works.

A tip: “Don’t get out ahead of your client. They’re the ones to assert the leverage, not you. You go too far when you act as if you have more leverage than you have. You go too far if you take on the offender of the blatant, rather than have the latent take on the blatant, generally.”

Terry Real

What Others Say About RLT

“Terry Real helps overturn old-fashioned, confining roles and opens up a treasury of hope for lasting and exciting intimacy for couples everywhere.”

— Edward Hallowell, M.D., author of Crazy Busy

“Terry’s work provided foundations of “telling the truth” to clients. I did it easily with individuals but stumbled with couples. Now I LOVE working with couples. It is now always profoundly moving & instructive.” 

— Jeanne O.

“Some of the things I love about Terry Real and his work are the practical steps, down-to-earth guidance and his model of having the courage and respect to be honest with couples when one partner is behaving in a way that needs to be addressed first.”

— Rachel M.

“Terry, you are an absolute gift to the the mental health community. “

— David Feder, MSW, RSW, CSAT, Close Connections, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

“Before learning Terry Real’s model I’d work with couples to problem-solve their dilemmas of the day. I always had misgivings about the long-term potential of my work because I didn’t know how to move in deeper to address with them their relational processes. Now, having Terry’s model for teaching clients healthy relating, I have guidelines to help them perform the modest miracle of personal transformation on a permanent level. “

— R.D.

“You have lots of ideas that are very useful with couple work – particularly with the male client. I love your stuff about gender discourses and boundaries, asking clearly for what you need from your partner.”

— Claire O

The Shift from Individualistic to Relational Thinking

by Terry Real

Objective vs. Subjective Reality

“He won’t listen!” cries Lucy, flinging open her arms, as she sits on the edge of the couch, as if to implore me.

“I don’t get her,” says Stan, sinking his face in his hands, beleaguered, exhausted, as if to say, “No matter what I do…”

And then there’s me, watching, listening. Couples on the brink fly in to see me. Together we spend one or two full days working, at the end of which time we agree that you’re either back on track or divorcing. One way or another, this is the last stop. Lucy and Stan are on the edge of dissolution, have been for over a year. This past weekend was a disaster.

So, what happened?” I ask.

Stan snorts. “This whole thing is ridiculous,” he declares, one leg pumping, impatient, annoyed.

Lucy cuts him off, taking charge. “We took two cars, for a weekend alone at our house on the Cape. Both were loaded with groceries. So, I can’t see out the back. Already I’m nervous. I don’t like driving at night. I ask Stan to stay by me, in case I… I don’t know, get lost, take a wrong turn, whatever.

She wanted me to keep an eye on her,” Stan tells me, wanting to hurry the story along. “Which I did.

Which you didn’t!” says Lucy.

Which is exactly what I did. Look,” Stan turns to me, the arbiter. “I was winding my way through the traffic. I’m about two cars up ahead of her…

But I can’t see him,” Lucy interjects.

I’ve got her square in my rearview mirror.” I look at Stan’s harried expression. I’m already sensing where this going. “She calls me, panicked, out of her mind. ‘You said you wouldn’t leave me!’ Already, she’s like screaming at me.

But you left me! After you said…

Okay,” I interrupt. “I think I’ve got it.” Stan and Lucy were caught in a typical who’s right / who’s wrong battle – hinging on their slightly different definitions of what it meant to “be there for” Lucy. To Lucy, “being there” meant being right by her side. For Stan, it meant keeping an eye on her. Who was objectively right?

Taking Sides

That’s a trick question. In marital relationships it’s never a matter of landing on the one true reality, but rather two people in need of negotiating differing subjective realities.

Between the two, I sided with Lucy – a difference between RLT and other therapies. We take sides. Stan was factually correct but relationally incorrect. Was he, as promised, looking after Lucy to make sure she was alright? Yes, absolutely. And if Stan had been the one to make the request, he would have been fine. But Stan wasn’t married to Stan. Lucy wanted the comfort of Stan by her side, in sight of her. It wasn’t his aid she was after, but the reassurance of his company. In this instance – as in so many others just like it, Lucy assured me, Stan didn’t “get it.” He missed the point because he wasn’t thinking relationally.

Shifting into
Relational Thinking

Even though on the brink of divorce, Stan wasn’t a bad guy. What he argued so vehemently for, the point he got so defensive about was, in fact right – in the linear, individualistic, Newtonian world we all live in. But I have a saying, “You can be right, or you can be married. What’s more important to you?”

Repair & Reconnection

I turn to Stan: “In this moment, right now, ask yourself, would you rather make the case that you’re right or would you rather make peace with your wife and help her feel better?”

“Meaning?” he says, tentative but listening.

“Turn to your wife right now and tell her something from the heart,” I coach him.

And, bless him, with a little encouragement, he tries it.

“Lucy,” he takes her hand. “I’m sorry, okay? I’m sorry if you felt so abandoned that day.”

“And you’re sorry you didn’t hear her,” I add.

“I am,” he says. “Really. No BS. I wish I could have listened better.” Stan looks at his wife’s tearful face.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for years,” she says, crying, her body straining toward him.

“Wanna hug from the guy?” I ask her and she lurches forward, reaching for him.

“Take your time,” I tell them, as Stan rocks her gently. “Take all the time you need.”

Stan’s well-meaning but misguided loyalty to “sorting things out,” that is, determining the one right reality about it, deprived them both of moments like the one they had now in my office. Moments of repair. When Stan stopped defending himself and instead tended to his wife’s bruised feelings, she felt heard, the chasm between them was bridged, and everyone could breathe again.

Once Again, Here’s Everything You’ll Receive:
Relational Life Therapy Level One Training

Plus, these special bonuses:

Bonus #1 – Making Love Work Digital CD Set [VALUE: $40]
Bonus #2 – Working With Infidelity in Couples Therapy [VALUE $65]

How Much Does Level 1 Cost?

Choose the single payment option or easy payment plan:

One Payment

$ 497
Best Value

3 Payments

$ 179*3

The deepest training in the RLT model.

Did you know...

This course is part of the RLT Certification program
To learn more, get the free guide

We’re confident you’ll be happy with the Relational Life Therapy Level 1 Training. However, if you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase, simply contact us at support@terryreal.com within 14 days of the first live call (July 6, 2023), and we’ll give you a full refund, no questions asked.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I access the live calls?

All live calls take place online over Zoom. All Zoom links will be listed in your private learning platform (which you will receive log ins for when you enroll). We will also send you 24-hour reminder emails ahead of each call with the Zoom link. 

Q: When are the live calls?

The live calls take place on the following dates:

Training calls with Terry Real & Cathy Hill

  • Module 1: Thursday, July 6, 12–1:30pm ET
  • Module 2: Thursday, July 13, 12–1:30pm ET
  • Module 3: Tuesday, July 18, 12–1:30pm ET
  • Module 4: Tuesday, July 25, 12–1:30pm ET
  • Module 5: Thursday, July 27, 12–1:30pm ET

Q&A Calls with RLT Faculty

  • Monday, July 17, 11am–12pm ET (Desirae Ysasi)
  • Thursday, July 20, 11am–12pm ET (Julie Rudiger)
  • Wednesday, July 26, 10-11 am ET (Anna Sterk)

Q: What if I can’t make all of the call dates?

Don’t worry, all calls will be recorded and you will have lifetime access to the replays to watch back as often as you wish. (Please note: CEUs are only available if you attend all aspects live.)

Q: How long will I have access to the course?

Forever! All course materials, including the call recordings, will be stored in your private learning platform (the RLT Community Hub) for you to review at your convenience.

Q: Are CEs available for this course?

12 CEs are only available if you attend the 5 LIVE calls with Terry Real (Q&A calls with the faculty are not compulsory). Click here for full CE details.

Q: Is RLT Level 1 part of the RLT Certification?

Yes—when you enroll in the RLT Certification (our deepest, richest couples therapy training), you automatically receive access to RLT Level 1. Find more information on the RLT Certification download the free guide.

Meet Your Teachers

Terry Real, creator of Relational Life Therapy

Terry Real, LICSW, is a leading couples and family therapist, speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. Having worked with thousands of individuals, couples, and fellow therapists, Terry knows how to lead people on a step-by-step journey to greater intimacy and personal fulfillment. His expertise has been featured in outlets such as Psychology Networker, Psychology Today, Good Morning America, The Today Show, Vogue, Forbes, Oprah, and The New York Times.

With 30+ years of clinical experience, Terry is a former senior faculty member of the Family Institute of Cambridge in Massachusetts and a retired Clinical Fellow of the Meadows Institute in Arizona.

He is the founder of the Relational Life Institute, which provides workshops for couples and individuals as well as a professional training program for clinicians wanting to learn his Relational Life Therapy (RLT) methodology. RLT teaches people how to make their relationships work by equipping them with the relational skills they need to cultivate and sustain authentic connections—to themselves, each other, and the planet as whole.

Cathy Hill, Director of the RLT Training School

A licensed psychologist in private practice, Cathay is located in Vancouver, Canada. She began training in RLT in 2010 and after her first bootcamp experience was determined that Terry teach others how to do it. She hassled him until he enlisted her help in setting up advanced training for his senior therapists, which led eventually into the role of Director of Training.
Cathy is trained in the ‘scientist-practitioner’ model, and very keen on getting RLT ‘evidence-based,’ which requires excellence in training in order to translate into excellence in practice.

Anna Sterk, LMFT & Senior RLT Therapist

Learning how to build and sustain healthy relationships has been the journey of Anna’s life, and not always an easy or straightforward path. It was life changing for Anna to build on the personal work she was doing when she started studying with Terry Real in 2012, and it is an honor for me to pass along what I have learned to clients and through teaching the relational skills in bootcamps, practicums, and mentoring.

Desirae Ysasi, LPC-S & Senior RLT Therapist

Desirae has been a licensed therapist since 2006 and a certified Relational Life Therapist since 2018. The road to RLT certification began as a desire to learn more about her passion for couples work and ended as a completely transformative experience for herself and her own relationship. Desirae is thrilled to enter into this relational revolution with her fellow faculty members bringing full-respect living to a whole new generation of therapists and clients.

Julie Rudiger, LCSW & Senior RLT Therapist

Julie has been a licensed therapist since 1993 and was introduced to Terry Real’s Relational Life Therapy in 2008. She became certified in 2010, and since then, her practice and personal life has transformed.
Julie loves the value of Full Respect Living, which is the tenant of RLT. Teaching clients and therapists the model remains the central focus of her practice. She loves the role of “coach” in teaching the skills. She believes most couples and individuals just need the education and tools to better care for themselves and their partners and families. Julie is also co-leader of the Relationship Boot Camp in Denver, which helps individuals and couples learn the skills in 2-day intensive workshops.

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Satisfactory Completion –Live Interactive Online Classes

NOTE – All participants will receive an email from us AFTER THE COURSE ENDS with the link to purchase and receive the CEUs.

Participants must have paid tuition fee of $40, attended the five LIVE classes, and completed an evaluation to receive a certificate. Failure to complete any of the course will result in forfeiture of credit for the entire course. No exceptions will be made. Attendance will be taken. Partial credit is not available. Certificates will be available following course completion.

Any questions regarding accreditation must be directed to you own Board Authority

Satisfactory Completion

Participants must have paid tuition fee, signed in and out each day, attended the entire seminar, and completed an evaluation in order to receive a certificate. Failure to sign in or out each day will result in forfeiture of credit for the entire course. No exceptions will be made. Partial credit is not available.Certificates available after satisfactory course completion at www.ceuregistration.com


NY: R. Cassidy Seminars is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists #PSY-0018. 7.5 contact hour.

Social Workers 

IL-SWs: Illinois Dept of Professional Regulation, Approved Continuing Education Sponsor, #159.000785. 7.5 CE hour. 

MN: R. Cassidy Seminars is recognized by the Minnesota Board of Social Work, CEP #2281 approval 12/27/22 – 12/27/23. 7.5 CE hour. 

NY: R. Cassidy Seminars is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider (#0006) of continuing education for licensed social workers. This program is approved for 7.5 contact hour. 

OH: Provider approved by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board for 7.5 clock hour, #RCST110701

Counselors/Marriage and Family Therapists 

IL-MFTs: Illinois Dept of Professional Regulation, Approved Continuing Education Sponsor, #168-000141. 7.5 hour. 

NY-LMHCs: R. Cassidy Seminars is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board of Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors. #MHC-0015. 7.5 contact hour. 

NY-LMFTs: R. Cassidy Seminars is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board of Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed marriage and family therapists. #MFT0011. 7.5 contact hour. 

OH: Provider approved by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board for 7.5 clock hour, #RCST110701 

TX: Approved CE Sponsor through the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists. Provider #151 7.5 CE hour. 

Creative Arts Therapists 

NY: R. Cassidy Seminars is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board of Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed creative arts therapists, #CAT-0005. 7.5 contact hour. 

Chemical Dependency Counselors

CA: Provider approved by CCAPP, Provider #4N-00-434-0224 for 1vCEH. CCAPP is an ICRC member which has reciprocity with most ICRC member states 

TX: Provider approved by the TCBAP Standards Committee, Provider No. 1749- 06, 7.5 hour general. Expires 1/31/24. Complaints about provider or workshop content may be directed to the TCBAP Standards Committee, 1005 Congress Avenue, Ste. 460, Austin, Texas 78701, Fax Number (515) 476-7597. 


TX: R. Cassidy Seminars is an approved provider with the Texas Education Agency CPE# 501456. This course is 7.5 CE hour. 


CA: Provider approved by the CA Board of Registered Nursing, Provider #CeP15554, for 7.5 contact hour 


CA: R. Cassidy Seminars is a provider approved by the Dental Board of California as a registered provider of continuing education. RP# 4874 7.5 CE hour. 

Disability Access – If you require ADA accommodations please contact our office 30 days Or more before the event. We cannot ensure accommodations without adequate prior notification. 

Please Note: Licensing Boards change regulations often And while we attempt to stay abreast of their most recent changes, if you have questions Or concerns about this course meeting your specific board’s approval, we recommend you contact your board directly to obtain a ruling.