Page semi-protected

Re-evaluation Counseling

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Re-evaluation Counseling (RC) is a peer-based counseling procedure – 'co-counseling' – in which people aim to help each other deal with the effects of emotional hurt. The theory and practice of RC were developed in Seattle in the United States by Harvey Jackins beginning in the 1950s. In the early 1970s, the Re-evaluation Counseling Community was formed, made up of local groups of Co-Counselors in Seattle and beyond. The theory developed to recognize the importance of challenging oppressions such as sexism and racism, and working to eliminate them. RC now teaches co-counseling and holds workshops throughout the world. While membership of the RC Community requires only a commitment to a one-point program of using the co-counseling process, the community has a number of projects that directly tackle the issues of racism, sexism, anti-semitism and the climate emergency. The International Re-evaluation Counseling Community is based in Shoreline, Washington, USA. It was led by Harvey Jackins until his death in 1999. It is currently led by his son Tim Jackins.


In the early 1950s, Harvey Jackins, a shipyard worker, building maintenance worker and labor organizer, developed Re-evaluation Co-Counseling after observing that a troubled friend made changes in his thinking process as a result of being patiently listened to while he cried and expressed a range of other emotions.[1][2][3] Jackins worked with others to develop a method of counseling based on the recollection of psychological and physical traumas or "hurts" accompanied by various types of emotional catharsis. He called these effects "discharge", which he came to believe led to clearer thinking or "re-evaluation".[4]

After several years experimenting, Jackins quit his job and took up counseling full time. In 1952 he opened a small office in downtown Seattle and offered one-way counseling under the name of Personal Counselors, Inc. The process began to be called Co-Counseling because it worked well for two people to exchange time listening to each other. [1]

At that time, Jackins associated with L. Ron Hubbard and others interested in human growth.[1] Personal Counselors Inc. originally stated its objective as to "engage in, conduct and teach the art and science of Dianetics."[5] Because of differences in their thinking, collaboration between Jackins and Hubbard became unworkable, and Jackins ended their association.[1] RC has had no contact with Dianetics or Scientology since that time.

During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Jackins systematized his views, and in the 1960s and 1970s took RC from Seattle, where he first practised it, to the rest of the US and thence to Europe and elsewhere. Between 1975 and 1990, he appointed local teachers, area representatives, regional leaders and representatives of groups such as women, African Americans, and Lesbians and Gay Men. He drafted RC's Guidelines and decided on all major issues. His policies were ratified by a biennial conference.

After Jackins' death in 1999, his son, Tim Jackins, was chosen at a conference, attended by leaders in the RC communities worldwide, to take over the role of International Reference Person, the title given to the leader of RC.

Therapeutic theory

Re-evaluation Counseling describes itself as "a process for freeing humans and society as a whole from distress patterns so that we may resume fully-intelligent functioning."[6] Counseling is practiced in pairs ("co-counseling"), in which the participants listen to one another in turn and help one other to "discharge". No money is exchanged by the co-counselors but they pay a nominal fee to the Re-evaluation Counseling organization when attending classes or a means-based fee when attending workshops.[6]

RC believes that everyone is born good and intelligent and that all hurts are acquired. Inappropriate or hurtful behavior is caused by the unconscious "restimulation" of past hurts that have not been properly discharged. If discharge can be completed, the behavior will not be repeated.[6]

The RC counsellor aims to remember the fundamental goodness of the client. Client and counselor are expected to work co-operatively. The counselor is expected to listen in a non-judgmental way but also to "contradict" conditions associated with distress so as to facilitate discharge. The counselor also assists a client to "interrupt" their patterns. Each co-counselor has to be emotionally healthy and well-versed in co-counseling in order to work effectively together.

RC questions the use of psychiatric drugs and the standard concept of mental illness.[7] The editor of the Brunner-Routledge series of books on "Advancing Theory in Therapy" says that while Re-evaluation Counseling is not generally regarded as a psychotherapy, "it has made and continues to make an important contribution to our understanding of human beings and human situations."[2] In particular, according to Ron Roberts, author of The Off -Modern, "Co-counseling theory proposes that the practical job of the counselor is to therefore challenge or contradict the meaningful content of these distress recordings so that they are not mistaken for reality. When this is done sufficiently, a process of emotional discharge (laughter, crying, talking, raging, shaking, sweating, yawning) takes place and is accompanied by a spontaneous reprocessing and re-evaluation of the information originally containing in the distress recording.... the distressed person (client) returns to a flexible, more relaxed level of functioning."[8]

RC considers that co-counseling does not imply psychopathology on the part of co-counselors or the need for professional treatment and that there is a need for lay counselors because of the shortage of professionals. It says that, for the average person, co-counseling can heal emotional hurts, increase rational thought and increase one's capacity for a joyful and positive life.

RC's has ambitious social and environmental objectives, including, "The transformation of society to a rational, peaceful, non-exploitative, classless form world-wide. The preservation of all existing species of life and the re-creation of extinguished species. The preservation of wilderness areas and the creation of a completely benign environment over most of the earth, the oceans, and the atmosphere. The exploration of, and eventually becoming at home in, space."[7]


The organization's official title is "The International Re-evaluation Counseling Communities". It is resourced by Re-evaluation Counseling Community Resources, Inc., with headquarters in Shoreline, Washington, USA. Its president is Tim Jackins and its vice president is Sarah Elizabeth Jackins.[9] The corporation owns trademark in the terms "Re-evaluation Counseling", "RC" and "United to End Racism".[10] It also controls the Re-evaluation Foundation, a non-profit 501(c) organization, and Rational Island Publishers.[11]

Within RC, Tim Jackins is called the "International Reference Person". He is a former community college mathematics teacher from Palo Alto, California, and a graduate of Yale and Stanford. He has been a co-counselor, leader and teacher of RC for most of his life. The International Reference Person appoints senior leaders ("reference persons") in consultation with local groups. Local groups choose local leaders. Reference persons are consulted about who can attend events, teach RC, and lead groups. No reference person is paid.[7]

RC runs classes in co-counseling and local groups are set up by people experienced in the ideas and methods of RC who have been approved by the leaders. New members are invited to join "fundamentals" classes by existing members. They are expected to be well-functioning and emotionally healthy so that they can be effective counselors as well as being able to benefit from counseling. Fees are fixed at a low hourly rate per person, and there are scholarships for people on low incomes. Twenty-five per cent of fees are sent to the central body in Shoreline.[7] Participants are asked not to use caffeine or alcohol and to abstain from mind-altering drugs so as to be attentive and to have access to their feelings. People who counsel together are requested and expected to refrain from socializing with one another.[12]

Classes and local communities are organized into regions and loose, country-wide affiliations, although RC does not organize on national lines.

RC is committed to offering RC practices and insights "as widely as possible in the general population". RC does not seek publicity[13] Local publicity has to be approved by the regional leader and national and international publicity by the leader of RC.[7] RC does not list local contact information on its website.[11]

RC does not publish membership figures or comment on estimates. On one occasion, Jackins claimed that more than a million had attended RC "Fundamentals" classes.[14]

Re-evaluation Counseling encourages its members to play an active role in public life[15] and has set up groups to promote its ideas, which it calls "naturalized" groups.[11] The main groups promoting RC methods are United to End Racism" (UER), formed in 2000, and Sustaining All Life, formed in 2015. UER is part of RC and shares its HQ in Shoreline.[11] It participated in the 2001 Durban World Conference against Racism, the 2006 Caracas World Social Forum and the 2006 Vancouver World Peace Forum.[11] Sustaining All Life participated in the United Nations Climate Change Conference (Conference of the Parties or COPs) every year since the 2015 COP in Paris. The COPs were in Marrakech, Morocco (COP22 in 2016); Bonn, Germany (COP23 in 2017); Katowice, Poland (COP24 in 2018); and Madrid, Spain (COP25 in 2019). Other organisations that are independent of RC are led by RC community members and draw to some extent on RC concepts. An example is the National Coalition Building Institute whose Founder-Executive Director, Cherie R. Brown,[16] is a member of RC[17][18] and active in UER.[19]

The Re-evaluation Foundation aims "To provide opportunities for people to participate in Re-evaluation counseling who otherwise could not afford to participate."[20] Founded in 1972, it supports projects based on the theory and practice of Re-evaluation Counseling that apply "bold, thoughtful action to freeing human beings from the distresses associated with past hurtful, unjust experiences."[11] Its president is Michael Markovits,[21] a former vice-president of IBM.[citation needed] Its assets at the end of 2006 were approximately $1M.[22] "The Foundation considers grant requests only from members of the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities who are seeking financial assistance that will further the dissemination of the theory and practice of RC."[23] In 2007, the foundation made grants to several organizations initiated by Re-evaluation Counseling, including "People-of-Color Leadership Development, Global Initiatives, Young People Leadership Development/Family Counseling Work, Elimination of Racism, and Mental Health."[11]


Psychiatrist Richard M. Childs claimed that Jackins' book The Human Side of Human Beings (1965) plagiarized Hubbard's Dianetics (1950), saying that Jackins paraphrased Hubbard's terms by recasting them in his own jargon. Hubbard's "Engrams" became Jackins' "distress patterns", "release" became "discharge", and "to become clear" became RC's "to re-emerge".[24]

Dennis Tourish and Pauline Irving in a 1995 article compared his system of management to the communist state model of democratic centralism.[25]

There have been few papers about RC in scholarly journals and RC tends not to co-operate with attempts at independent investigation.[26]

The organisation is sensitive to criticism, either external or internal, which it regards as an attack on the organization.[citation needed] Jackins believed that much criticism was inspired by the hostility of the US government to RC's "profoundly progressive nature and its effectiveness".[27] RC instructs members "to quickly interrupt both attacks and gossip",[7] which are "dramatizations of distress" and unacceptable behaviors within the RC Community. It says that "An attack is not an effective way to resolve disagreements or difficulties." The organisation requires that "People who participate in an attack must first stop the attack and apologize for having participated in it", after which they are to be offered counseling.[7] Critics who persist "should be made to leave the group and their attacks ignored."[11] Steve Carr criticized RC this prevention of internal discussion.[26]

In an article analysing RC's so-called "attack theory" Steve Carr says that "To counter attacks on RC and its leaders, RC members are instructed to interrupt the person, approach the accusation as the personal problem of the accuser, and vigorously come to the defense of the person or people being attacked."[26]

RC's system of centralised control has been deprecated by ex-members who would have preferred a more accountable leadership. John Heron, once an RC leader and teacher, who left the organization in 1974 to set up his own co-counseling organization, Co-Counselling International, said he parted company with RC because it "systematically conditioned its members to associate a certain kind of beneficial human development with centralized authoritarian control of theory and community policy. It was clear to me that this was pseudo-liberation." He considered that the authoritarianism of RC derived partly from the Leninist doctrines of central control that Jackins had learned in the Communist Party of America and partly from the autocratic example of his former associate L. Ron Hubbard.[28]

Re-evaluation Counseling has been described as a cult.[29] Tourish and Irving considered that RC shared several characteristics with psycho-therapeutic cults, namely, a charismatic leader, idealization of the leader, followers regarding their belief system as superior to others, followers joining the group at times of stress, the therapist becoming central to the follower's life, the group absorbing increasing time, illusions of superiority to other groups and the group becoming suspicious of other groups. They concluded: "Given its hostility to such pluralistic notions of participation and democracy, RC has the potential to become a fully fledged and harmful cult, despite its original humanistic aims."[25]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d A Very Brief Look at the History of RC
  2. ^ a b New, Caroline and Kauffman, Katie, Co-Counselling: The Theory and Practice of Re-Evaluation Counselling, 2004, Brunner-Routledge ISBN 1-58391-210-X
  3. ^ Medicine Story, "To Be Human Again – Camps for Peace and Love", Talking Stick, Winter/Spring 2003 Archived 2011-08-13 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Jackins, Harvey, The human side of human beings, Seattle: Rational Island Publishers, 1965 ISBN 0-911214-60-7
  5. ^ Copy of the articles of incorporation filed by Harvey Jackins Tim Jackins. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-08-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ a b c "About Re-evaluation Counseling". Archived from the original on 2018-06-16.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "Table of Contents". Archived from the original on 2018-06-16.
  8. ^ Roberts, Ron, The Off-Modern: Psychology Estranged, Winchester, UK: Zero Books, 2017 ISBN 978 1 78535 595 0
  9. ^ "Re-Evaluation Counseling Community Resources, Inc". Archived from the original on 2012-03-25.
  10. ^ "Apply for a Trademark. Search a Trademark". Archived from the original on 2012-10-16.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h "United to End Racism". Archived from the original on 2007-02-18. Retrieved 2006-06-19.
  12. ^ Jackins, Harvey, Fundamentals of Co-Counseling Manual (Elementary Counselors Manual): For Beginning Classes in Re-evaluation Counseling, Seattle: Rational Island Publishers, 1971 ISBN 978-1-58429-073-5
  13. ^ Tom Ferguson, Co-Counseling: Therapy Without Therapists Archived 2011-09-25 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Search". Archived from the original on 2017-02-02.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-08-13. Retrieved 2011-06-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Cletus Nelson, Killing the Beast Within
  16. ^ "NCBI Board of Directors – NCBI – National Coalition Building Institute". Archived from the original on 2012-07-16.
  17. ^ Cherie Brown, "Applying decisive ideas boldly", Present Time Archived 2011-08-07 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Excerpt from RC journal Ruah Hadashah Archived 2011-08-07 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Cherie R. Brown, "Lessons Learned in Durban", Tikkun Magazine, November/December 2001
  20. ^ "Charities – WA Secretary of State". Archived from the original on 2017-05-08.
  21. ^ "The Re-evaluation Foundation". Archived from the original on 2002-04-20.
  22. ^ "Re-Evaluation Foundation in Seattle, Washington (WA) –". Archived from the original on 2012-10-13.
  23. ^ "The Re-evaluation Foundation". Archived from the original on 2001-12-06.
  24. ^ Richard M. Childs, A Psychiatrist's Story of His Brief Involvement with Re-Evaluation Counseling Archived 2010-11-17 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ a b Dennis Tourish and Pauline Irving, "Group influence and the psychology of cultism within re-evaluation counselling: A critique of Co-Counselling",Counselling Psychology Quarterly, Volume 8, Issue 1, 1995, pp.35-50
  26. ^ a b c Steve Carr, "Attack Theory: Re-Evaluating RC", Polemicist, Volume 3, No. 5, April 1992 Archived 2011-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ Harvey Jackins, Why Leaders of RC can expect to be attacked and what to do about such attacks Archived 2010-01-28 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ John Heron, History of Co-Counseling[permanent dead link]
  29. ^ "Reevaluation Co-Counseling, Leader Harvey Jackins". 21 June 2003. Archived from the original on 21 June 2003.

Further reading

External links