Respect-Focused Therapy

Respect-Focused Therapy (RFT) is a foundation on which all modalities and techniques used in therapy can be strongly grounded, in order to produce sound, effective outcomes. This approach offers clients the opportunity to gain experiential understanding of being respected, possibly for the first time, from the therapeutic relationship and then be able to heal old wounds by creating more respect for self and others in the therapeutic process.

Therapists have a unique opportunity and responsibility to provide a respectful environment for their clients, yet respect has not received adequate attention in the psychotherapy community and related research. Respect-Focused Therapy: Honoring Clients Through the Therapeutic Relationship and Process sets forth the formulation of Respect-Focused Therapy (RFT), a new approach to psychotherapy that addresses the quality of the client–therapist relationship. This volume treats respect as a combination of action, attitude and open-mindedness, urging therapists to recognize their own biases and beliefs and be willing to suspend them for the benefit of their clients. Using Martin Buber’s “I-Thou” relationship as a conceptual model, Slay-Westbrook provides core principles of respect and demonstrates how to incorporate these into the therapeutic relationship and process to best foster a healing environment.

“It’s rare to find a new, emerging approach so comprehensive and concrete. This represents a dynamic move forward for the mental health and social service field.”

—Gena M. Minnix, PhD., Seminary of the Southwest 

“With a sound theoretical base in familiar developmental and psychological theory, Slay-Westbrook offers a unique framework for clinicians that makes respect a centerpiece of the therapeutic process and highlights the importance of respect as a focus in helping to heal damage done by its absence.”

—Diane Harvey, LCSW

“Susanne Slay-Westbrook breathes life into the notion of respect by showing that when deeply understood, it involves far more than civility and good manners. From this viewpoint, respect means engaging with others in an attitude of openness and connecting with and wholeheartedly valuing the particular person who is in front of oneself.”

“Susanne brings integrity and a deep respect for the people to her work as a psychotherapist and counselor. She is someone who has genuine empathy for human suffering and exercises good judgment in her dealings with people.”

— Steen Halling, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, Seattle University