A relational disorder occurs between at least two people and involves a pathological problem in the way that they relate to each other. The problem of the relationship is not caused by any one person in the relationship. Rather, the problem is with the relationship itself.
Even though a relationship does not have a mind, a relationship can still exhibit psychological characteristics. In many cases, these characteristics may exist in the relationship, but do not exist in the individuals who make up the relationship. Thus, a relational disorder is looked upon in the same manner as an individual psychological disorder that presents with behavioral and emotional symptoms. These pathological symptoms disrupt the lives of the people involved in the relationship and can lead to the destruction of the relationship.
The DSM-V has defined a relational disorder as “persistent and painful patterns of feelings, behavior, and perceptions involving two or more partners in an important personal relationship.” It is very important to stress that, in a relational disorder, the relationship itself is the problem and not the people involved. Jacob Moreno, psycho-sociologist asserts that it is possible for two psychologically-healthy individuals to have an unhealthy relationship just as it is possible for two psychologically-unhealthy people to have a healthy, constructive relationship.
Currently, relational disorders are broken down into marital and parent-child relational problems. However, a relational disorder can occur to any type of relationship as long as the relationship is important to the people involved in it.
Symptoms of a Relational Disorder:
Symptoms of a relational disorder vary depending on the type of relationship in question. However, symptoms can include:
- Violent Behaviors
The Significance of Relational Disorder:
One of the most significant causes of mental health disorders is unhealthy relationships. Furthermore, most of the individuals seeking help for psychological problems confirm that they do not have stable, supportive relationships (such as family and friends that they can depend on for support). By identifying a relational disorder, a therapist may be able to help you and all the people involved in the relationship avoid future mental health problems. Counseling for relational disorder may also help prevent immediate threats such as: divorce, spousal abuse and/or child abuse.
Issues that may not have been listed above such as issues in relationships or other issues, that may be causing anxiety and may warrant a discussion in a session.