Relational-Cultural theory (RCT) proposes that all people grow through and toward relationships throughout the lifespan. RCT challenges prevailing theories that depict the "separate self" as the hallmark of maturity. Rather than movement toward autonomy and separation, RCT suggests we develop ever more differentiated ways of connecting. An increase in growth-fostering relationships results in: a sense of vitality and zest; increasing clarity about ourselves and others; augmented creativity and ability to take action; an experience of worth and empowerment; and a desire for more connectedness with others. Disconnections are inevitable in relationships and RCT focuses on relational resilience, the ways people can re-establish positive and growth-fostering relationships.
RCT further emphasizes the importance of cultural and societal forces in causing either growth-fostering connection or destructive disconnection. This volume explores the process of change in therapy and in other relationships; how race and other forms of stratification create pain; and how people develop resilience and strength in relationships characterized by mutuality.
This book was based on a special issue of Women and Therapy.
1. Recent Developments in Relational-Cultural Theory Judith V. Jordan SECTION ONE: RCT AND THERAPY 2. Introduction to Section One: RCT and Therapy 3. Creative Moments in Relational-Cultural Therapy Irene Pierce Stiver, Wendy Rosen, Janet Surrey and Jean Baker Miller 4. What Changes in Therapy? Who Changes? Natalie S. Eldridge, Janet L. Surrey, Wendy P. Rosen and Jean Baker Miller 5. Strengthening Resilience in a Risky World: It’s All About Relationships Linda M. Hartling 6. When Racism Gets Personal: Toward Relational Healing Maureen Walker 7. How Therapy Helps When the Culture Hurts Maureen Walker SECTION TWO: THE IMPORTANCE OF POWER 8. Introduction to Section Two: The Importance of Power 9. How Change Happens: Controlling Images, Mutuality, and Power Jean Baker Miller 10. Power and Effectiveness: Envisioning an Alternate Paradigm Maureen Walker 11. Telling the Truth About Power Jean Baker Miller SECTION THREE: RCT AND SOCIAL JUSTICE 12. Introduction to Section Three: RCT and Social Justice 13. Relational-Cultural Practice: Working in a Nonrelational World Linda Hartling and Elizabeth Sparks 14. Learning at the Margin: New Models of Strength Judith V. Jordan 15. Valuing Vulnerability: New Definitions of Courage Judith V. Jordan 16. Commitment to Connection in a Culture of Fear Judith V. Jordan