Creating Connection: A Relational-Cultural Approach with Couples (Paperback) book cover

Creating Connection

A Relational-Cultural Approach with Couples

Edited by Judith V. Jordan, Jon Carlson

© 2013 – Routledge

252 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415817585
pub: 2013-06-12
Hardback: 9780415529914
pub: 2013-06-10
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203117347
pub: 2014-05-01
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Relational-Cultural Theory (RCT) posits that people grow through and toward relationship throughout the lifespan. Rather than emphasizing movement toward autonomy and self-sufficiency, it focuses on the power of connection in people’s lives. Culture and power are seen as formative in individual and social development. As a model, RCT is ideal for work with couples: it encourages active participation in relationships, fosters the well-being of everyone involved, and provides guidelines for working with disconnections and building relational resilience. Creating Connection helps readers to understand the pain of disconnection and to use RCT to heal relationships in a variety of settings, including with heterosexual couples, stepparents, lesbian and gay couples, and mixed race couples. In addition to an emphasis on helping couples find authentic connection, RCT points to the need for changing the cultural conditions that contribute to the problems of disconnection. Polarities of “you vs. me” will be replaced with the healing concept of “us.”


“Relational-Cultural Theory alerts us to the power of connection in people's lives and also the impediments to closeness. This book will be of great value to therapists working with couples whose relationships cross culturally monitored boundaries. In describing ways of moving through impasse, it illuminates the power of love to upset a patriarchal order.” - Carol Gilligan, Author of In a Different Voice and The Birth of Pleasure

Creating Connection is perhaps the most meaningful, deep, and yet pragmatic compendium on couples’ experience and couples therapy to be published in the last fifty years. It brings renewed hope for our patients in painful and disconnected relationships, helping to achieve true understanding and regain genuine meaning–the power of connection–in their lives. If you read one book on couples treatment this year, Creating Connection must be that one.” - William S Pollack, Ph.D., ABPP, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Author of Real Boys and Real Boys' Voices

“Judith Jordan and Jon Carlson’s new book, Creating Connection, deepens the application of the profound Relational-Cultural Theory to couples. The essays in this impressive collection move the therapy paradigm further towards the cutting edge of a relational lens. Since the relational is foundational, and this perspective is the future of therapy, we recommend this book as an essential read for all therapists.” - Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. and Helen Lakelly Hunt, Ph.D., Co-Authors of Making Marriage Simple and Receiving Love

Creating Connection is a landmark volume in the field of therapy for committed couples. Its skillful integration of feminist awareness of our multiple and intersecting identities and their effects on intimacy with an emphasis on connection and empathy in relationship offers a refreshing perspective on how to think about intimate relationships caught in struggle. It's accessible, not only for therapists who wish to think differently about how to work with couples, but also for couples themselves looking for a new paradigm for deepening and strengthening connection. This is a book I'll use in my practice, and also in my life.” - Laura S. Brown, Ph.D. ABPP, Director, Fremont Community Therapy Project, Seattle WA and Author of Your Turn for Care: Surviving the Aging and Death of the Adults Who Harmed You

“This exciting volume brings the vital perspective of Relational Cultural Therapy to a diverse range of couples, focusing on ways to intervene therapeutically to overcome disconnections and foster positive relationship. The distinguished authors fill a major gap in knowledge: No previous volume has so specifically and clearly addressed the experiences of marginalized couples, examined how social inequality affects intimate couple interactions, and detailed ways to repair and rebalance destructive inequities and interactions. This book will serve as a touchstone for all future work with couples, and is relevant not only for therapists but also for people interested in how to support loving, positive relationships.” - Dana C. Jack, Author of Silencing the Self: Women and Depression, Behind the Mask: Destruction and Creativity in Women’s Aggression, and Silencing the Self Across Cultures: Depression and Gender in the Social World

“Relational Cultural Theory is a complete natural for couples work, and Jordan and Carlson have put together a gold mine of tips and mind-expanding reframings. Seventeen clinicians cover the theory, the tie-in with couples, the basic cultural tools, and spot-on, ready-to-use applications to class, race, gender, sexual orientation, sex, parenting, step-parenting, health and power differences and impacts–an essential compilation all couples therapists will treasure.” - Christina Robb, MA, Author of This Changes Everything and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist

Table of Contents

Series Editor’s Foreword 1. Couples Therapy and Relational Cultural Therapy (RCT) Judith V. Jordan and Jon Carlson 2. Relational-Cultural Couple Therapy: From Impasse to Movement, An Interview with Stephen Bergman and Janet Surrey 3. Consciousness of Context in Relational Cultural Couples Therapy Marsha Mirkin and Pamela Geib 4. Resilient Relationships: Cultivating the Healing Potential of Couple Stories Karen Skerrett 5. Liberating Voice and Vulnerability: Relational-Cultural Perspectives on Conflict in Mixed Race Couples Maureen Walker 6. Supporting Relational Growth in a Shifting Cultural Environment: Therapy with Lesbian Couples Natalie Eldridge 7. Gay Male Couple Work: The Value of Individual and Group Therapy: Relational-Cultural Theory (RCT) and Gay Couples Dave Shannon 8. Evolving Sexualities for the Couple: Integrating RCT and the Sexual Health Model Meg I. Striepe 9. Strangers in a Strange Land: Men in Relational Couples Therapy Randy Marky 10. Motherhood and Marriage: Naming the Work KumKum Malik 11. A Neurobiological-Relational Approach to Couple Therapy Mona D. Fishbane 12. Healthy Relationships during Unhealthy Times: Relational-Cultural Theory Group for Partners Facing Cancer Constance A. Johannessen 13. A Relational-Cultural Perspective of Divorce Dana L. Comstock-Benzick 14. Helping Remarried Couples Survive Stepkids Harriet Lerner 15. Conclusion: The Pain of Disconnection, The Power of Connection Judith V. Jordan and Jon Carlson

About the Editors

Judith V. Jordan, PhD, ABPP in Clinical Psychology, is the Director of the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute at the Wellesley Centers for Women, and Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School. She is a founding scholar of Relational-Cultural Theory.

Jon Carlson, PsyD, EdD, ABPP, is Distinguished Professor in the Division of Psychology and Counseling at Governors State University, and a psychologist at the Wellness Clinic in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

About the Series

Family Therapy and Counseling

The Family Therapy and Counseling Series is devoted to providing practitioners and students with current information on specific topics relevant to marriage and family therapy, counseling, couples therapy, and child and adolescent therapy.

Forthcoming volumes in the series will explore immigrant families, aging, couples therapy, and parenting.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / Counseling
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / Couples & Family