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Relational Cultural Theory QUESTION 1


RelationalCultural Theory


Mirkindescribes a case scenario of a Jewish couple whose family ‘lookedlonely and felt isolated’ despite the fact that they weresurrounded by friends (Mirkin, 1998). Mirkin explains this concept bystating that “in the face of significant and repeated experiencesof disconnection, all of us yearn even more for connections withothers. However, we are fearful …because of past disconnections andviolations…” (Miller &amp Stiver, 1997). This is a common aspectof marginalized groups, and I have had a chance to engage with themand experience this scenario of relational paradox. I have hadpractical experience with disabled people who feel isolated andstigmatized in the community due to their conditions. I came towitness what Mirkin describes as illustrated above with this group.For most of them, their past experiences and interactions with thecommunity, especially in schools, was something they intend toforget. They went through prejudice, victimization, ridicule anddiscrimination. As a result, as much as they want to re-engage withthe public now, they still harbor some fears of the outcome.

Associal workers, we can effectively work with clients who experiencerelational paradox by applying the relational/cultural model whichsuggests that the central aspect is having an inner sense ofemotional connectedness (Mirkin, 1998). The RCT forks further suggestthe need to enhance relational awareness to the workplace while alsoaddressing issues of power, gender, and hierarchy. Mutuality needs tobe cultivated by increasing productivity, creativity, and cohesion(Mirkin, 1998).


Miller,J.B and Stiver, I.P (1997). TheHealing Connection: How Women Form Relationships In Therapy And InLife.

Mirkin,M.P. (1998). ExaminingRelational Paradox in a Cultural Context.


Miller(2008) has illustrated the concept of images by stating that theseimages interact with relational pictures and the strategies ofdisconnection to hinder growth at a personal and societal level.These images take a hold early in life and are then modified andrepeatedly developed (Miller &amp Stiver, 1997).

Sincethey do not develop consciously, we only identify their hold on us orothers by identifying our beliefs and our expectations as illustratedby Miller &amp Stiver (1997).

CIs,RIs, and SDs impact our lives by influencing what we believe willhappen to us and our expectations. They define who we are bydetermining what is and is not acceptable. They affect our actionsand our relations (Miller &amp Stiver, 1997).


Miller,J. B. MD (2008) HowChange Happens: Controlling Images, Mutuality, and Power, Women &ampTherapy.

Miller,J.B &amp Stiver, I.P (1997). TheHealing Connection: How Women Form Relationships In Therapy And InLife.