Relational-Cultural Therapy



Relational Cultural Therapy focuses on helping people become more independent by speaking to the client about their relationship history. By analyzing this, the therapist can figure out how the individual has perceived themselves. Relationships tend to provide us with self esteem and how others have made us feel can end up turning into imagery issues. The source of psychological problems stems from this disconnection within a relationship. As a conventional form of therapy we can reverse the damage that has been done and create an authentic connection in the connections that we have with others and ourselves. This leads to independence within the client.

Goals of Relational-Cultural Therapy

The goal of Relational-Cultural Therapy is to focus on the connection between one's self and others. The therapist will make the patient realize that they have the ability to take action in relationships and in their own lives. Relational-Cultural Therapy aims toward increasing knowledge in the patient and a sense of self worth. They will have more of a desire to build connections with others because they are confident in who they are and what they have to offer. Treatment allows us to understand that when there are chronic disconnections within ourselves it can turn into unhealthy consequences mentally and physically. This helps clients see the world and relationships through a different lens that possesses healing and honest bonds.

When is Relational-Cultural Therapy Used?

Relational-Cultural Therapy is used when an individual experiences a reduced amount of vitality due to the difficult relationships they have had with others. They may be unable to take action within a relationship which leads to confusion and a loss of self. Individuals who are unaware of their self worth because of the destruction from others benefit from Relational Cultural Therapy. The recommended patients are individuals who hold a deformed self esteem because of the relations that they have held in the past. Everyone has a deep desire to create a connection but it's often that this is kept to ourselves when we realize it isn't easy to find an individual with the same authenticity. People can develop methods and maintain those which prevent them from engaging with others. These clients often distance themselves from cultural experiences and are treated so that they are no longer disconnected from interactive experiences.

How Relational-Cultural Therapy Works

The following are key components within Relational Cultural Therapy: Connection, Disconnection, Violation, Authenticity and Relational Images. The counselor will first highlight these components before the treatment is designed. Teaching the patient power-over relational dynamics is going to educate them on how to connect with various types of people and how current behavior is dangerous toward their self esteem and overall happiness. For the clients who possess a dominant attitude it can be difficult for them to listen and respond to those who are subordinate positions because there is a lack of empathy in the relationship. A therapist will teach the patient how to be responsive instead of shameful and silent. This form of treatment suggests that we can move out of the connections that we have with others and diminish our own ability to see that we are capable of transforming new, healthier connections.

This is a dynamic that can play out in families, friends and intimate relationships. When the client is in an organizational setting it is likely that they will interact the same way. It may require more courage and confidence when speaking to the counselor. The patient will learn that they can hold a mutual trust and authenticity with the therapist. Relational Cultural Therapists will exaggerate to the client that the courage that they have when interacting with others amounts to the courage they expect from them in return.

Relational Cultural Therapy also works to help the patient regain their image being that it tends to get lost amongst the unsatisfactory relationships. This is a model that will help transform the patient into a dominant person who has the courage to control their own image, regardless of the organization. By the end of the treatment the client should be able to use intervention strategies on their own time to nurture empathy and courage within themselves. By the time treatment's been completed the client will know what controlling images helped create these dynamics and they will be aware of the source of resistance and disconnection within themselves. When they can create new relationships that are authentic and vibrant they will have released their pain from these ideals and find satisfaction in a new method of interacting with others.


About relational cultural theory. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Relational-cultural theory: Fostering healthy coexistence through a relational lens. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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