Unlike many Western models of development that emphasize the growth of autonomy, independence, and separation, relational-cultural theory (RCT) posits that we, as humans, grow through and toward relationships throughout the lifespan. We are highly motivated to be in relationships. In fact, new data from the field of neuroscience detail the ways in which we are hardwired to thrive in connection and languish in isolation. RCT builds on this understanding. RCT therapy addresses the problems of isolation and chronic disconnection and seeks to bring clients back into growth-fostering connection through mutual empathy.

Growth in Connection

In the late 1970s, when RCT came into being, the prevailing theories eschewed the centrality of relationships in people’s lives and tended to pathologize those who openly showed their need for other ...

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