Inner Child Work in RLT Explained

In this clip from one of his live trainings, Terry explains why we conduct trauma work in the presence of the partner and the different parts of the psyche, including how we work with them as therapists.

Please note: In this clip, Terry refers to the Functional Adult, this is what is now known as the Wise Adult. 

Learn how to effectively conduct inner child work in the context of a couples session for profound and lasting character transformations in the RLT Certification.

Become Masterful in Your Work With Couples

Overcome burnout and reignite your passion for couples therapy

Helping couples navigate the rocky path toward lasting intimacy and connection is challenging. 

This is one of the most crucial journeys people can embark on, and they’re relying on us as therapists to guide them.

The pressure we feel to fix things and alleviate pain leads many practitioners to burnout—or compassion fatigue. It’s frustrating when you can’t help couples how you would like, and seeing people relapse or drop out too soon is heartbreaking.

However, couples therapy is also deeply rewarding… There’s no better feeling than when you successfully pull a couple back from the brink of disaster.

Couples therapy is complex, but vital work. So, it’s critical that we find a fresh approach, one that re-energizes us, allowing us to help more people without placing so much strain on ourselves. 

That’s where Relational Life Therapy (RLT) comes in. 

Created by master couples therapist Terry Real, RLT helps couples achieve dramatic transformation-fast. RLT therapists report lower dropout rates, more energy, and reinvestment in their work.

So, if you feel overwhelmed, uninspired, or burnt out from your work with couples, the RLT Certification is for you. You’ll benefit from the optimal mix of theory, practice, observation, and feedback you need to work confidently and elegantly with even the most challenging couples.

You’ll reconnect to your passion and enthusiasm for your work and feel empowered and inspired as you discover how to make an even greater impact in your clients’ lives.

What is the RLT Certification?

The RLT Certification is the most comprehensive, in-depth training in the RLT model to equip you with the skills, confidence, and experience you need to elevate your work with couples.

Up to 2 Years to Complete

You have 24 months to complete all certification components. You also receive unlimited access to all resources, including video trainings, therapy observations, and membership calls with Terry during this time.

100 Hours Live Training

You’ll benefit from small group practicums and a 6-month mentoring scheme facilitated by our faculty, as well as live guidance and demonstrations from Terry Real via monthly calls and live couples therapy observations. 

100 Hours Self-Paced Study

Fit your study into your schedule with bite-sized, pre-recorded trainings on RLT theory to deepen your understanding of the science behind RLT. You’ll also explore special topics in more detail, such as multi-generational trauma.

100% Online

There’s no need to travel or take time away from your practice. All training is delivered via our dedicated learning platform or Zoom to help you maximize your time and easily slot your training in around your other commitments.

Extensive Support

Our faculty and technical support team are here to help every step of the way: From a welcome call to introduce you to the learning platform to weekly faculty office hours and regular group calls with Terry where you can ask him questions.

Like-Minded Community

RLT is more than just a therapy method; it’s a lifestyle. You’ll join a community of like-minded peers, all committed to living relationally professionally and personally. You’re sure to build connections and friendships that last a lifetime. 

How Does It Work?

The RLT certification is split into 4 pillars; you have two years to complete all components. Below is a summary of what’s included in each pillar:



RLT Pillar 1: Core Curriculum
30 hours of self-paced study

Establish a thorough understanding of the RLT model via 3 levels of theory, delivered via pre-recorded video trainings direct from Terry Real. If you have any questions as you move through the training, you can drop into the weekly office hours with senior faculty members.



RLT Pillar 2: Special Topic Courses
30 hours of self-paced study

You receive all of Terry’s short courses on specific topics (currently 10) on a range of subjects from Relational Parenting and Multi-generational Trauma to Love, Sex, and Power and Working with Grandiosity, but you only need to take 3 to certify.



RLT Pillar 3: LIVE Casework with Terry Real
56 hours of live sessions with Terry

This is a unique opportunity to learn directly from the creator of RLT as you observe his RLT couples therapy sessions live in real-time. You also join his monthly interactive membership calls, where you can ask him questions directly and learn from other RLT practitioners’ clinical cases.



RLT Pillar 4: Practice & Integration
63 hours of live sessions with the RLT faculty

Put theory into practice by working in small groups facilitated by the RLT faculty in a supportive environment. Each practicum contains live lectures, video clips, group discussions, and role plays to dive deeper into the theory. As you begin to integrate RLT into your practice, you’ll enter into a 6 month mentoring period to fine-tune your skills and cement your confidence. 

Case Review

Case Review

Once you have completed all 4 pillars, you can apply for certification. This consists of a video or audio recording of your work with a couple and an accompanying case conceptualization which the RLT faculty will assess.



Once your case review is approved, you will receive certification as an RLT Certified Therapist, Coach, or Practitioner.

You’ll also receive these exciting bonuses:

For a more detailed look at the curriculum, please refer to Section 6 of the RLT Certification Guide we emailed to you. 

Why Certify in RLT?

Here are some of the benefits you can look forward to upon successful certification:

Welcome to a Radical Model That’s Changing the Face of Couples Therapy

RLT is an innovative approach to couples therapy that breaks many of the rules of traditional therapy. 

Developed by master couples therapist Terry Real, RLT incorporates perspectives and skills from systems therapy, feminist therapy, and neurobiology, together with current evidence-based modalities, to provide therapists with an innovative way to approach couples work that delivers rapid, dramatic, and lasting results.

RLT will disrupt your long-held beliefs on what couples therapy is and introduce you to a whole new perspective. Here’s what you can expect from your work as an RLT therapist…

You’ll take sides

Therapists typically remain neutral, but in RLT, we aren’t afraid to take sides. Not all relationships are 50/50. Some are 70/30. Some are 99/1. You’ll learn to explicitly side with the disempowered partner to restore balance in the relationship. 

You’ll heal trauma in the presence of the partner

In traditional therapy, trauma work is done individually. But uncovering this type of vulnerability in the partner’s presence helps people go deeper. It also builds empathy as the other partner begins to better understand the behaviors they’ve been subject to for so long.

You’re equal to your clients

No more pressure to be above your clients as an expert, nor are you simply a facilitator. RLT therapists are right in the thick of it with our clients. You’ll learn to step out from behind the mask of professionalism and share your own experiences of relational living to motivate and build trust.

You’ll be compassionately direct

RLT therapists are upfront in telling clients the truth about the dysfunctional stances they have learned and how they are showing up in their relationships. You’ll learn to lovingly confront clients and tell them what to do in certain situations so they can have a corrective emotional experience with their partner.

You’ll teach skills

The nurture that traditional therapy offers isn’t sufficient on its own to provoke lasting change. You’ll learn to focus on educating your clients with the essential skills to repair and sustain intimacy so they can continue cherishing their relationship for life.

What Other People Say About the RLT Certification

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Meet The Faculty

Our faculty possess a wealth of knowledge and expertise in couples therapy, the RLT model, and private practice. United by their passion for bringing full-respect living to a new generation of therapists and clients, they are committed to helping you become the best RLT therapist you can be.

RLT Certified

Terry Real, the Founder of RLT

Terry Real, LICSW, is an internationally recognized couples and family therapist, speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. Terry founded the Relational Life Institute (RLI) to provide workshops for couples, individuals, and parents as well as a professional training program for clinicians wanting to learn his Relational Life Therapy (RLT) methodology. Drawing on more than three decades of experience, Terry knows how to lead couples on a step-by-step journey to greater intimacy—and greater personal fulfillment.

A senior faculty member of the Family Institute of Cambridge in Massachusetts and a retired Clinical Fellow of the Meadows Institute in Arizona, Terry has worked with thousands of individuals, couples, and fellow therapists. Terry’s ideas on men’s issues and couple’s therapy have been celebrated in venues including Psychology Networker, Psychology Today, Good Morning America, The Today Show, Vogue, Forbes, Oprah, and The New York Times.

RLT Certified

Cathy Hill, Licensed Psychologist in Private Practice, Vancouver, Canada

I began training in RLT in 2010 and after my first bootcamp experience was determined that Terry teach others how to do it. I hassled him until he let me help him set up advanced training for his senior therapists, which led eventually into the role of Director of Training. I am 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.

RLT Certified

Anna Sterk, LMFT in Private Practice, St. Paul, Minnesota

Learning how to build and sustain healthy relationships has been the journey of my life, and not always an easy or straightforward path. It was life changing for me to build on the personal work I was doing when I 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.

RLT Certified

Bonny E. Slim, LMFT in Private Practice, West Hartford, Connecticut

I started training in RLT in 2012, and I have participated in most of the courses that Terry has offered since then. Through co-facilitating several Relational Bootcamps, I discovered how transformative the group experience can be. I anticipate the impact that the practicum groups have for participants will be equally valuable. My favorite aspect of RLT is the awareness that practicing relational skills in our own lives is essential to be able to authentically share/teach these skills to others.

RLT Certified

Desirae Ysasi, LPC-S in Private Practice, San Antonio, TX

I have 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 my passion for couples work and ended as a completely transformative experience for myself and my own relationship. I am thrilled to enter into this relational revolution with my fellow faculty members bringing full-respect living to a whole new generation of therapists and clients.

RLT Certified

Julie Rudiger, LCSW, Private Practice, Denver, Co area

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

Is the Certification Right for Me?

The RLT Certification is for therapists, coaches, and mental health practitioners looking to improve their work with couples.

Maybe you’re an LMFT with years of experience behind you, and you’re looking for a fresh perspective on couples therapy to deliver faster results for your clients and increase your impact.

Perhaps you’re a relationship coach looking to take your work to a deeper level, so you can address the root cause of a couple’s presenting problem and help them heal from trauma.

It may be that you’re suffering from compassion fatigue, emotionally drained from the complexities of couples work, and you want to reignite your passion so you can better help your clients—and yourself.

In the RLT Certification, you will learn a powerful set of tools to help you deliver profound, permanent results in couples therapy—fast. You will master the same tools that Terry Real has used for over 30 years to save couples on the brink of disaster. You’ll reconnect to your passion for couples therapy and be able to help even the most fractured couples find their way back to intimacy. 

How Much Does It Cost? Are There Payment Plans?

The full cost of the certification is $7,900 and you have two payment options to choose from:

Single Payment

1 x $7,900

(currently with a $1,000 discount, so you only pay $6,900)

12 Monthly Payments

$950 deposit
Followed by 12 x $580

You May be Eligible for a Discount…

If you pay in full…

Currently, students who choose to pay in full upfront receive $500 off the cost. So, instead of paying $6,900, you only pay $6,400.


If you’ve trained with Terry before…

If you’ve taken one or more of Terry’s other trainings, we may be able to discount your previous spend up to $4,000. To find out if you’re eligible, please apply now following the steps under “How Do I Join?” below.

How Do I Join?

It all starts with a short application…

The application helps us determine whether you have the necessary experience to benefit from the training. It only takes five minutes to complete and is entirely free. Plus, there’s space for you to ask any specific questions you have about the RLT Certification.

Once you’ve submitted your application, a member of our team will reach out to discuss the certification and your experience in more detail. Click “Join Today” below to be taken to the application page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What qualification do I get?

Upon successful completion of all components, you will receive certification as an RLT Certified Therapist, Coach, or Practitioner.

Q: How long does the RLT Certification take to complete?

You have 24 months to fulfill all requirements for certification; however, most students

will complete all components within 18 months.

Q. Do I need to already be working with couples to join?

The final requirement for certification is a case review of your work with a couple, including a recording of that work. The more experience you have working with couples, the more likely your case review will be successful. During the mentoring process, sharing of recordings of your work with couples is required.

Q. I don’t have any clients yet, can I still join?

If you don’t work with clients yet, the RLT Certification isn’t the right starting point for you, as a solid theoretical foundation and experience working with your own clients are prerequisites.

For you, we recommend starting with the RLT Trained Pathway. This will equip you with the necessary theory, and as you move through the training, you can begin working with couples to build your experience. This will perfectly prepare you to move on to the RLT Certification later. To find out which option is best for you, please email

Q: Is there an exam or assessment?

There’s no exam, but you submit a case review at the end of our studies. This is reviewed by the RLT faculty. This consists of a video or audio recording of your work with a couple and an accompanying case conceptualization. Once approved, you will receive certification.

Q: Do I need to attend in-person classes?

No, all training is delivered online so you don’t need to spend time or money traveling. You will find access to all of the training, including the prerecorded theory, community discussion forums, and practicum calendar in the RLT Community Hub which you will receive login details for as soon as you join. 

Q. I have more questions, who can I speak to?

If you’d like more information on any aspect of the certification, there is space to add your questions on the application form. We recommend you complete the application—there’s no obligation to enroll by doing so—and a member of the team will reach out to you.

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