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Re-evaluation Counseling, or RC is the world's major organisation for Co-counselling. Founded by Harvey Jackins and his followers, originally as a revision of Dianetics, in the 1950s and early 60s, it is headquartered in Seattle, Wash. USA.
RC today spans over 40 countries and as well as continuing to offer many individuals a cheap or largely free method of personal healing and growth, is involved in a number of political causes of the left / radicalism such as anti-racism, anti-capitalism and similar movements.
Origins and basic beliefs
Jackins adopted some of the language and principles of Dianetics but after the mid-50s distanced himself from L. Ron Hubbard the founder of Scientology and developed his own method which consisted of sharing attention between people in order to promote healing from painful distress through natural biological human reflexes such as crying, laughing, shaking and others, which he termed "discharge". This he believed, and RC members still believe, led in turn to "re-evaluations" or new ways of thinking, following the relief or having discharged and removed from current awareness the legacy of past hurts. Jackins termed the basic process of sharing attention "co-counselling" and the overall discipline "Re-evaluation Co-Counselling".
The RC organization and literature do not accept the description of its practice as psychotherapy, maintaining instead that the process of developing distress patterns that dissolve through emotional discharge in the context of appreciative attention is simply a natural process that does not imply either psychopathology on the part of the individual or the need for professional treatment. Re-evaluation Counselling regards other forms of "mainstream counselling" and psychotherapy in general as failed attempts to bring about relief from distress using methods that do not focus on discharge and re-emergence.
Practitioners of RC view the methods of RC as more effective than those of therapy groups at healing emotional hurts and increasing effectiveness, enjoyment of living, etc. As in many other alternative therapies or personal growth movements, it is very difficult to those outside RC to assess these claims in an objective way. Academics studying the value of different types of therapy have not had access to RC to attempt this, but this is equally true of a number of other well known similar movements. Commentators often point out that RC has attempted to systematise and analyse the counseling process more comprehensively and (to some) believably than other counseling disciplines; this has variously resulted in RC being praised for logical consistency and moral credibility or challenged as being potentially harmful to some. There has equally been no well researched evidence of such harm presented; some newspaper pieces written by psychotherapists from other disciplines make such allegations. These should be regarded with caution as there is often profound disagreement between the various schools of psychotherapy or human growth as to methods, practises and effects of their perceived rival's activities.
Eventually Jackins' organisation became officially known as the "The International Re-evaluation Counseling Community", or slight variations of that name. The current leader or "International Reference Person" is Tim Jackins, a former Math teacher from Palo Alto, California, and the founder's eldest son, who assumed the title when Harvey Jackins died in 1999. The core organization structure of RC consists of classes and local communities set up by experienced co-counselors, which are in turn organized by regions and, sometimes, loose country-wide affiliations. RC is against nationalism and hopes that by avoiding organising on traditional national lines, this enables co-counsellors to avoid national restimulations  There are currently 270 organised areas internationally listed in the quarterly journal of Re-evaluation Counseling, 'Present Time'. RC does not have a central membership roll and no overall membership figures are available; it is believed that somewhere between 50 and 100 thousand people have learned RC since it's beginnings and there are probably around 10 to 15 thousand currently active active RC practitioners, spread over about 40 countries. These figures are based on average calculations of class numbers from RC insider's calculations; Harvey Jackins in his own works claimed much larger numbers, but these claims are considered dubious. More analysis of this on the Harvey Jackins page.
Development and liberation theory
During the 1970's, the RC approach shifted emphasis to deal more with "oppression" issues for a wide variety of "liberation" groups (e.g., women, working class). As a result, many of its publications, workshops and leadership structure(s) are organized by these liberation groups. The RC organization and affiliates formulated an active response to the 9/11 tragedy and played an active role at the 2001 Durban World Conference against Racism. More recently they are becoming involved in events of the 2006 World Social Forum, the main event of which is to be held in Caracas.
Re-evaluation counseling has sometimes been viewed as a cult, in part because of Jackins' origins in Dianetics (he was originally the North-West US organiser and a member of L Ron Hubbard's national governing body for Dianetics), which he abandoned in the mid-50s and adapted - therefore his organisation is also sometimes alternatively seen as a "Free Zone" or "Squirrel" (see Scientology beliefs and practices) offshoot of Scientology/Dianetics. RC "members" (the organisation does not have a uniform formal membership structure - membership varies from country to country and is essentially local in nature) have in the past been unaware of the Dianetics origins of RC, but information sharing on the internet has to some extent changed this. The current leadership of RC remain silent on the issue, republishing Jackins' official version of the origins of RC which contains no mention of Dianetics; as most current RC leaders were not in RC until many years after those events, they may simply not know about them, or if they have heard of them, prefer Jackins' own version.
Another aspect of the "cult" label being applied to RC is the combination of leadership charisma, non-criticism of leaders and centralised decision making that Jackins believed was needed to ensure success in "anti-pattern" progress of the RC method. These have been perceived by some commentators as similar to other alleged cults. Internally within RC these sometimes cause difficulties but are generally seen as required to assist the average counselor in facing the difficulties of maintaining aware focus on the discharge process; the "centralised authority" of the leadership does not appear anecdotally to extend beyond decisions about who is allowed to attend events and to teach the subjects of RC, lead groups, and other internal matters; there does not appear to be a sustained effort anywhere in the organisation to control the outside lives of "members", although there have been sporadic reports of individual RC members acting in this way, they do not appear to be formally sanctioned. Therefore a key aspect of cult identification, undue control over members, is undermined in its application to RC. RC does not apply heavy financial charges for basic courses (RC "Fundamentals" classes) or further workshops and in general appears to avoid some of the other behaviours commonly attributed to cults, such as punishments, forced love, etc, although quick google searches do reveal a number of sexual abuse and other allegations levelled against Harvey Jackins dating from the early 80s. These are explored more thoroughly on the Harvey Jackins page.
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