‘Relationship’ is not just at the heart of social work (Trevithick, 2003), it is the heart of social work. The essence of social work has always been the importance of this collaborative partnership with service users. As the profession has evolved relationships have grown in scope and complexity. This article, arising from the 2019 Irish Association of Social Work (IASW) conference, Putting Relationships First, considers relationships in an expansive way addressing key relationships in practice. Adopting an ecological approach to social work practice relationships, the article considers the importance of collaborative relationships between social worker and service user across the range of practice activities. It considers factors that may contribute to, support or detract from relationship building in social work practice; it explores the opportunities for collaborative relationships in therapeutic practice; it looks at relationships in co-working opportunities that can emerge through engagement with volunteers in service support and delivery; and moving beyond therapeutic practice, it considers service users as partners in social work education, research and service delivery.