The origin of Relational-Cultural Theory
The C.A.R.E. Program, featured in the book, "Four Ways to Click: Rewire Your Brain for Stronger, More Rewarding Relationships" is an innovative way to build and improve relationships in your life. Research now clearly shows that forming stronger, more rewarding relationships is the clearest way to improve your overall health and well-being. It is the ultimate win-win scenario!
The C.A.R.E. Program knits together three areas of theory and research.
- The first is Relational-Cultural Theory (RCT), recently named one of the ten most influential psychological theories of the 20th century. While most Western psychological traditions promote separation and independence as the goals of human development, RCT believes that human growth is through and toward healthy relationship. In fact, RCT believes that the over-focus on individuality gives rise to unrealistic expectations and goals for all people and is a major source of suffering in the world today.
- The second area is the field of Relational Neurosciencewhich identifies four neural pathways that are used by people to form relationships. The robustness of your relational world is directly proportional to the strength and functioning of these four neural pathways for connection. As you improve relationships your neural pathways for connection grow stronger and as your neural pathways for connection strengthen, your relationships improve.
- The third idea woven into the C.A.R.E. Program is the concept of Neuroplasticity or the brain's ability to grow, change and adapt to the world around it. Two rules of Neuroplasticity stand out: 1) use it or lose it and 2) neurons that fire together wire together. Neurons, like people, function best when they are richly interconnected in communities (neural networks).
The C.A.R.E. Program Theory
Using your Brain to Change Your Relationships
artwork by Lisa Langhammer
One of the basic beliefs of the C.A.R.E. Program is that cultures that are hyper-focused on "standing on your own two feet" do NOT provide the frequent stimulation to the neural pathways for connection needed to keep the pathways strong. Not only will individuals feel more disconnected and stressed but they will also suffer from dis-eases of all types - emotional and physical. Some familiar disorders of disconnection include:
- drug and alcohol addiction
- chronic internet surfing
- depression and anxiety
- eating disorders
- violence and aggression