College hosts book release celebration

A social work professor at St. Scholastica has led efforts to produce a book about an emerging approach to therapy and community building, and will host a book release celebration next week.

Connie Gunderson, Ph.D., associate social work professor, co-edited "Transforming Community: Stories of Connection Through the Lens of Relational-Cultural Theory." The book, comprised of stories from 34 people with varying backgrounds and perspectives, emerged from a conference hosted at St. Scholastica last summer. The book's other co-editors are Relational-Cultural Theory (RCT) scholars Dorothy Graff, Ph.D.,retired St. Scholastica social work faculty member, and Karen Craddock, Ph.D., lead scholar for RCT and Social Action at the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute (JBMTI) / Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College. The book release event will take place from 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11 in the Sister Joan Braun Reading Room in the St. Scholastica Library.

"Relational-Cultural Theory is based upon the principle that growth-fostering relationships are a central human necessity and their absence leads to disempowerment and pain," Gunderson said. "RCT addresses the need for empathy, mutuality, and respect in our personal lives and social institutions."

RCT seeks to collaboratively serve people and communities in the areas of health care, education, social justice and the environment. It has transformed individuals, organizations, and communities, Gunderson said. The theory was developed at the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute (JBMTI) / Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College in Wellesley, MA.

Coinciding with the book release, St. Scholastica will host two sessions exploring RCT on Wednesday. Dr. Amy Banks, director of Advanced Training and Senior Research Analyst at The Jean Baker Miller Training Institute and the Wellesley Centers for Women will present on "The Neuroscience of Relationship" from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Room 236 of St. Scholastica's Health Science Center at 940 Woodland Ave. Concurrently, Dr. Maureen Walker, Director of Program Development at the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute of the Stone Center at Wellesley College will present on "What to Do When Getting Along is Not Enough" from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Somers Lounge on St. Scholastica's Kenwood Avenue campus in Duluth.

All events are free and open to the public.

The book is being published by Whole Person Associates, a leading publisher of self-help and wellness books.