How Connections Heal When the Culture Hurts

Presenter: Maureen Walker, PhD

When: Saturday, November 4, 2017
Time: 9 am - 1 pm | 4 CEs
(Registration and light breakfast: 8:30 am - 9 am)
Location: Lankenau Hospital, Auditorium
Main Entrance- Lobby A,
100 East Lancaster Avenue, Wynnewood, PA 19096
Parking included, Garage B

Workshop Summary

It has long been an accepted truism that toxic interpersonal relationships lie at the root of most human suffering. For many years however, mental health practitioners viewed the culture itself as little more than an add-on, a backdrop which when examined might deepen understanding of the client’s concerns. In Relational-Cultural therapy (RCT), culture is understood as an active agent of disconnection and is therefore situated at the heart of the therapy. Consistent with the feminist/womanist perspective in psychology, RCT maintains that the personal is political. Accordingly, no relationship can remain unscathed when differential power and value are ascribed based on social group membership. In the current political climate key social identity markers (e.g. race, class, sexual orientation) are used for political gain; now more than ever therapists must help clients identify and resist the cultural forces that are implicated in their suffering. Furthermore, as both the client and the therapist are carriers of cultural wounds, the therapist must be able to engage the relationship in ways that facilitate authentic responsiveness and shared power.
In this presentation, we will examine how experiences of power and powerlessness (i.e. multi-layered social identities) impact human functioning, specifically in the cultivation of capacities for empathy, authentic, mutuality. Using clinical case narratives as well as examples from everyday life, we will identify key strategies of disconnection that inhibit growth and healing, particularly under conditions of conflict. We will also explore alternative constructions of the societal narrative – and demonstrate how empathy, authenticity, and mutual responsiveness optimize the effectiveness of the therapy. In addition, participants will be encouraged to engage in reflective exercises and collegial conversations to move into deeper clarity about the impact of stratified social identities on their own relationships – in therapy and in life.

Invited Presenter

Maureen Walker, PhD, is a licensed psychologist, speaker, educator, and writer who focuses on helping people bridge cultural differences such as race, religion, gender and other markers of social status. She has an independent practice in psychotherapy and multicultural consultation in Cambridge, MA and is a Lead Scholar and Director of the Jean Baker Miller Center for Relational-Cultural Growth. Additionally, she has performed a variety of clinical, coaching, and managerial roles as a former director in the MBA program at Harvard Business School. The author of several papers in the Stone Center Works in Progress Series, Dr. Walker has also written several journal articles and textbook chapters. She is also co-editor of two books: How Connections Heal and The Complexity of Connection. Her current projects include developing a practice model for confronting the claims of post-racialism and promoting justice in the context of inequitable power arrangements.
Dr. Walker completed her graduate training in psychology at Georgia State University and the University of Texas at Austin.


  1. Participants will examine the foundational premises and evolving concepts of Relational-Cultural Theory as they apply to therapeutic practice.
  2. Participants will explore the impact of power and powerlessness on constructions of self and other in the context of therapeutic relationship and other life venues.
  3. Participants will reflect on the relevance of emerging evidence in neuroscience to Relational-Cultural practice.
  4. Participants will discuss strategies for resolving the therapeutic impasse, specifically those that result as a function of internalized dominance and internalized oppression.

Registration Information

You may register for this conference by completing the online registration form below or click here to download the registration form. Participation may be limited due to space constraints, so we encourage early registration, for which there is a discount.

All conference fees include a CE certificate.

Cancellation Policy
If you need to cancel after you have registered, refunds (minus a $15 administrative fee) will be issued prior to the program date.

Continuing Education
FOR PENNSYLVANIA SOCIAL WORKERS, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS, AND PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS: This program is approved for 4 CE credits for professional workshops sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work, a state affiliate of the Clinical Social Work Association listed in Section 47.36 of Title 49, Chapter 47 of the PA Code, State Board of Social Work Examiners. This program is also approved for 4 CE credits for professional workshops for marriage & family therapists (Section 48.36) and professional counselors (Section 49.36).
FOR NEW JERSEY SOCIAL WORKERS: This program is approved for credits. Attendance at programs or courses given at state and national social work association conferences, where the criteria for membership is an academic degree in social work, are a valid source of continuing education credit (N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.4(c)4).
FOR DELAWARE SOCIAL WORKERS: Presenter(s) have a minimum of 2 (two) years of practical application and/or research experience pertaining to the subject matter of this presentation. Please consult section 7.2.5 of the rules of the Board of Clinical Social Work Examiners to determine if this course is in conformance with state regulations.

PSCSW is authorized to provide CE Credits to participants who attend programs in their entirety, in this case from 9:00 am  until 1:00 pm.
Time will be strictly enforced.

PSCSW Members - Before you begin any registration, you must log in to the website to pay the member rate. If you register without logging in, you will pay at the nonmember rate. If you need assistance logging in, please contact the PSCSW office at:

  • November 4, 2017
    9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Price Qty
The PSCSW Members ($70.00 (USD)) is available to members only. On Sale
The PSCSW Transitional Members ($40.00 (USD)) is available to members only. On Sale
The PSCSW Student Member ($20.00 (USD)) is available to members only. On Sale
Non Members $85.00 (USD)  
Student Non Members $30.00 (USD)