RCT believes that everyone desires growth and that growth is by necessity connective in relational and cultural links. Mutual empathy and mutual empowerment foster these relationships in positive ways. (Jordan, “The role of mutual”)
Sigmund Freud and Erik Erickson may arguably be two of the most influential icons in the field of human development and psychology. Their fundamental concept that humans develop over a lifetime and not just in a few stages from birth to adolescence and then are frozen into psychological patterns, revolutionized thinking in the field of developmental psychology. The term Life Span Development came to the fore as Erickson devised his eight stages of psychosocial development ranging from birth to eighty years old. Later as he himself passed eighty he realized that there is yet another stage and the count became nine. (Erikson & Erikson, 1997) One can see the striking resemblance between Erickson and Freuds stages especially in Ericksons stages one through four as they almost mirror Freuds psychosexual stages exactly.
However, they are also two of the forces that Miller must have railed against. Unfortunately both used research and experience that was primarily gender biased towards males and this colored the world of psychology for many years. Although never stated outright, Miller must have created RCT in direct opposition to these two forerunners of psychology and psychotherapy. Her model of behavior is in stark contrast to Ericksons since his model as well a Freuds concept is based solely on increasing autonomy and individuation, the prime negative motivators for women as far as RCT is concerned. (Mcphail)
Those who subscribe to the Theory of RCT and practice Relational Cultural Therapy have spoken of the unique healing dynamic of the therapeutic relationship as an engaged and collaborative search for the authentic personality and their relationship with others and the world. The qualities of the relational experience that are described as most fundamental for the therapist and patient are sustained empathic attentiveness, responsiveness, and openness to joining and to being moved in the relationship, as well as an attitude of respect, inquiry, care, and humility. (Jordan, J.V. “The role of mutual”) This is In contrast to that early emphasis on objectivity, neutrality, and cold interpretation, or the use of specifiable generic that were not realevant.
RCT stresses the centrality of the therapeutic relationship. The task of the therapist is to maintain professional focus, intention, expertise, and integrity, while remaining present and accessible in his or her shared humanity in the face of whatever material the patient presents. (Germer, Siegel, and Fulton 93)
RCT has opened the mind of many therapists and other practitioners, giving them the ability not only to understand the differences of individuals based on gender and culture, but also through empathy, experience it for themselves in a fundamentally profound way.
Comstock, Dana L., et al. “Relational-Cultural Theory: A Framework for Bridging Relational, Multicultural, and Social Justice Competencies.” Journal of Counseling and Development 86.3 (2008): 279-288.
Crethar, Hugh C., Edil Torres Rivera, and Sara Nash. “In Search of Common Threads: Linking Multicultural, Feminist, and Social Justice Counseling Paradigms.” Journal of Counseling and Development 86.3 (2008): 269-276
Erikson, E.H. & Erikson, J. M . The Life Cycle Completed / Extended Version. New York:
W.W. Norton. 1997
Germer, Christopher K., Ronald D. Siegel, and Paul R. Fulton, eds. Mindfulness and Psychotherapy. New York: Guilford Press, 2005
Hartling, L.M., & Ly, J. “Relational references: A selected bibliography of theory, research, and applications.” Project Report, No. 7. Wellesley, MA: Stone Center Working Paper Series, (2000).
Jordan, J.V. “Toward connection and competence.” Work in Progress, No. 83. Wellesley, MA: Stone Center Working Paper Series, (1999).
Jordan, J.V. “The role of mutual empathy in relational-cultural therapy.” In Session: Psychotherapy in Practice, 55 (2000): 1005-1016,
Mcphail, Beverly A. “Re-gendering the Social Work Curriculum: New Realities and Complexities.” Journal of Social Work Education 44.2 (2008): 33-47
Miller, J.B. Toward a new psychology of women. Boston: Beacon Press, 1976.
Miller, J.B. “What do we mean by relationships?” Work in Progress No. 22. Wellesley, MA: Stone Center Working Paper Series, (1986).
Miller, J.B., & Stiver, I.P. The Healing Connection: How Women Form Relationships In Therapy And In Life. Boston: Beacon Press, 1997.
Miller, J.B. Connections, Disconnections, and Violations. Work.