Meet the Expert Behind
 The Relationship Protocol

Hi I’m Debra Roberts, LCSW….

I developed the Relationship Protocol model after 25+ years of working with challenging relationships in my private practice. I am a relationship expert, an experienced speaker and trainer. My simple yet practical approach is a way of making relationships and communication less complicated. It's essentially a system for helping people to communicate effectively, defuse conflicts, and repair and build healthier relationships.

My book, The Relationship Protocol describes the RP model in easy to read and friendly language. The model itself is a common sense approach to teaching people  how to talk to each other and it applies to all relationships. Everyone can benefit from using the RP!

I believe that “Healthy Communication = Healthy Relationships.”

As a licensed certified social worker with a master’s degree in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University, I have spent my career in the areas of mental health, poverty legal services, health, and youth programs. After many years in the non-profit sector, I struck out on my own, and have been in private practice for more than twenty years.

I specialize in working with adults in individual, group, and relationship therapy - which is where the Relationship Protocol inspiration first emerged. This communication model grew out of extensive experience working with all types of relationships.

What makes me an expert?  I've been in the trenches, working with struggling, stuck and strained relationships! My communication method, now known as the Relationship Protocol, stems from my belief that if I can teach people how to communicate better – how to talk to each other, they start to feel more comfortable with each other and experience more positive and satisfying relationships. The model offers a straightforward approach to healthy, relationship-oriented communication. 

Over the years, the Relationship Protocol has proven to be a helpful method for improving communication in everyday life, including business relationships. I’ve felt honored and humbled to witness all kinds of changes in my clients – from subtle changes, such as a simple shift in someone’s thinking about their relationship, to more obvious changes, where there is less volatility and more thoughtfulness between the individuals. I’ve found that when people have sincere intentions and they make an effort to follow the model, they usually experience a positive outcome. I've been teaching this model to my clients for years with great success and have also trained hundreds of professionals and nonprofessionals in the RP.

Why did I write the book? The true impetus to write this book came from two sources, my colleagues and my clients. Over the years, I frequently received unsolicited, positive feedback from many well-respected colleagues. These talented clinicians expressed interest in knowing how and why my method of working with relationships seemed to be different from others in our field. They told me that I had significantly higher success rates and quicker results than other clinicians who worked with challenging relationships. At the time, I thought all professionals worked as I did, focusing on teaching people how to talk to each other to create safer and more comfortable communication. When I realized that this was something unique to my practice, it made me want to share it with others, to positively impact more people.

Throughout the years, countless numbers of clients have suggested that I spread the word about this communication method. They’ve often said that my simple communication tools have made a world of difference in their lives and in all of their close relationships, including, business, family and friendships. And so, I decided to put the model on paper for the first time. My hope is that more people will now benefit from reading this book and using the Relationship Protocol.



In The Media


“Love & Friendship: Expert tips for lifelong marriage happiness”
by Melissa Erickson for Gatehouse Media

This article appeared in Sunday magazine sections across the country. It suggests that marrying your best friend can lead to greater and longer lasting happiness. In the article, Debra offers helpful tips for building a healthier marital relationship and a friendship.

LI Love: How to build healthier relationships

Watch Debra talk about healthy relationships and how to address conflict in a constructive way during this News 12 television segment.

How to Be the Best Damn Listener You Can Be

It's simple: a better listener is a better husband. Here's how to up your game, from

How to Communicate with your Team and Your Clients Effectively with Debra Roberts

Listen to Debra talk about effective team and client communication on the Accelerating CFO podcast.


Other Media Appearances



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