A new theoretical foundation for relationship-centered care. Complex responsive processes of relating

J Gen Intern Med. 2006 Jan;21 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S40-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2006.00308.x.


Relationship-centered care (RCC) is a clinical philosophy that stresses partnership, careful attention to relational process, shared decision-making, and self-awareness. A new complexity-inspired theory of human interaction called complex responsive processes of relating (CRPR) offers strong theoretical confirmation for the principles and practices of RCC, and thus may be of interest to communications researchers and reflective practitioners. It points out the nonlinear nature of human interaction and accounts for the emergence of self-organizing patterns of meaning (e.g., themes or ideas) and patterns of relating (e.g., power relations). CRPR offers fresh new perspectives on the mind, self, communication, and organizations. For observers of interaction, it focuses attention on the nature of moment-to-moment relational process, the value of difference and diversity, and the importance of authentic and responsive participation, thus closely corresponding to and providing theoretical support for RCC.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Patient-Centered Care / organization & administration*
  • Psychological Theory