What is Relational-Cultural-Therapy?

I align my work as a therapist with Relational Cultural Theory (RCT), a modality of looking at the primacy of humans’ need for growth-fostering relationships.  As social beings, we are steeped in familial and cultural messaging about what is safe and acceptable in our relationships and, conversely, what is threatening or shame-inducing. I believe distress is caused by upset within relationships surrounding an individual’s experience in the world.  I define ‘relationship’ to encompass both intrapersonal dynamics (how we react to things) as well as the interpersonal (how we engage with others).  Disconnection can be obvious to a client, thus prompting a visit to the therapist.  Yet it can also be below the surface of the client’s awareness, wreaking unaddressed social, emotional, and/or behavioral havoc.


As an RCT-informed practitioner, I see my role as twofold.  I want to help guide my clients into greater self-awareness about the contextual factors contributing to their distress.  And I want to empower them with agency to grow through these obstacles, developing healthy ways to connect within themselves and with the world around them.