Seidenfaden & Draiby

Relationship Focused Therapy is a Mentalization-based therapy for couples, families and groups.

It is our supposition that the abilities, beliefs, and thinking of the individual human being are created in relationships with others and that these relationships also set the limits on the extent of individual development.  Thus relations have priority in our theoretical thinking as well as in our practical work. Relational problems, and the emotional pain we may experience as adults, have to do with patterns created during childhood that are sustained and brought to bear on the present.


Values – a Relational Ethics


Click here

See also

Our Methods

Theories and Values.

Rather than focusing just on the individual or on the system (the couple, the family, the group), we focus on both, that is, the individual-in-the-relationship.

We call this “the space in between”, understood as the quality of the psychic space created by the interplay between individuals.

Acknowledgment is a crucial concept in our thinking and we find that so much suffering and stagnated development is caused by major or minor struggles to define ‘reality’ (power struggles).

Acknowledging communication is an expression of an attitude towards others that allow for a differing view on things without fighting about who is right. In our thinking, this is an attitude that should prevail in all aspects of life. An ethics allowing for all members of the community to feel acknowledged and thereby facilitating their self esteem and further their development. Acknowledgment implies willingness - for a moment - to see the world through the eyes of the other, so that this other person may experience that his or her ‘world view’ makes sense – that s/he is not isolated or alone.

Acknowledgment implies a process of hinging on to the experience, understanding, and belief of the other and thereby - in the deepest sense - share the responsibility we all have for each other’s growth and well-being.

This relational responsibility may seem obvious in relation to our closest kin, but it also applies in the encounter with for instance the bus driver : “The individual, when relating to others, always have some part of the other person’s life in his hand. It may be a minor part, a fleeting atmosphere, some energy that withers or awakens, - a disgust that is augmented or neutralized. But it can also be an overwhelmingly big part in which the success of one person’s life depends on the other person”, said the Danish philosopher K.E. Løgstrup.

Some might ask does this mean anything? Well, in a way, it means everything since acknowledgment is the prerequisite for feeling safe, for human growth, and for creativity.

Acknowledgment is always a matter of mutuality. We are only able to learn about ourselves in relation to that which is different. Here the ‘fight for acknowledgment’ starts. It is through confrontation followed by mutual acknowledgment that the new emerges. The differences are powering the fight, the acknowledgment as well as the new understanding. Human beings are able to change their own beliefs thereby influencing others in new ways.

Acknowledgment as such cannot be claimed. You can only contribute by assisting the relation from which the acknowledgment emerges. We ourselves have a responsibility establishing an acknowledging relation. And we ourselves have a responsibility to make sure that ‘the other’ has the possibility to unfold his or her to us strange qualities and points of views.

The Dialogue of Acknowledgment is a method to re-establish self esteem and self respect after a ‘drawback situation’. Fundamentally, we have reasons to believe that the development of our identity rests on acknowledgment in our primary relationships. Human beings must be seen by others or else we become invisible. Without acknowledgment we experience contempt and the threat of losing our personality. Thus the development of the self presupposes knowing our qualities through the acknowledgment by others. We cannot postulate our own worthiness - it emerges through the acknowledgment by others. Naturally, we are all connected so in a way it might seem unnecessary to talk about a relational ethics. If ethics was not about relations what would it then be about? When we do find it necessary to include these aspects it is to remind us of how we incessantly are co-creating the world which we inhabit and also because we in our work constantly are experiencing how the acknowledging dialogue creates positive changes toward more satisfaction and intimacy. Finally, we find many optimistic and affirming notes from developmental psychology as well as from neuroscience indicating that the developmental potential of the individual is decisively dependent on, or actually shaped by, the character of the relations in which we participate.

In this way, we are deeply dependent on each other - also in the exchanges pertaining to the micro situation as proposed by Løgstrup -  and it becomes of vital importance to establish a relational ethics common to all.

Contact by Mail         Mobile +45 2964 6855