The idea of an advanced, experienced, expert Co-Counselor making a commitment to not allow distress patterns to determine his or her actions ever again in the future is discussed in another article in this issue of Present Time. A number of reports on the experiences of Co-Counselors who have made and kept such commitments follow below, and one such was printed in the January Present Time.

It seems important to clarify what such a commitment means. I already hear reports of these commitments being discussed as "nothing new," "just the same as directions," and otherwise degraded. Some Co-Counselors at workshops have tried to go through the motions of such a commitment while obviously not thinking through or facing the implications, or by offering "commitments" to "cut down on coffee" or similar trivia. Where I have been present, I have interrupted this farcical misuse of the process.

This profound, serious commitment to take one's life out of the control of old distresses is a new stage in the re-emergence process. It follows from direction-holding, and is closely related to the reclaiming of one's power and to renouncing cowardice, but it is a new step. Many Co-Counselors will not be able to approach this step without doing a more thorough job of their fundamental counseling and of their emergence from chronic patterns than they have done until now, but the fact that this step is proving workable for those who have prepared should inspire and accelerate others' preliminary work.

The commitments will vary, but they should be of the stature of:

"I solemnly promise that, from this moment on, I will never agree to or cooperate with anything wrong, no matter how terrified I feel, nor how confusing the situation."

The counseling that can prepare the way for such a commitment will require an aware, alert, thinking-well-all-the-time, and "committed" counselor. The preparation for the commitment is not something the client is left to do on his or her own.

The counselor needs to help in the phrasing of the proposed commitment, helping the client rephrase it until it really "bites" into the heart of the opposing distress and brings copious discharge. The counselor needs to continually elicit the "thoughts" of the client. If they are rational insights, encourage repetition and appreciation of them; if they are patterned objections to the commitment, encourage repetition and other means of exposing them for what they are. Helping to re-phrase patterned difficulties to expose their irrational nature is a task with which the counselor can be of great assistance.

I have found it to work well to encourage the client to "practice" the commitment by making it aloud many times to the counselor, class, or workshop, and between each repetition, talking aloud about the implications that will follow in his or her life from it. Much discharge usually ensues. The process is continued in private sessions.

These "practice" commitments are real commitments, not just words, but the agreement is that the client will be released from them at the end of the session unless he or she decides that it is time to make the permanent commitment at that time. It is the counselor's job to prevent the client from "going through the motions" of commitment, if he or she is not really prepared to make one and keep it awarely. The counselor should continually remind the client that there is no haste, no pressure on the client to take the final step.

Up to that point the counselor can and should be active. When it comes to finally making the permanent commitment, however, the client should stand alone. The decision must be his or hers alone, without pressure or interference of any kind from outside or from anyone else.

Much discharge accompanies the preparation for a commitment. The commitment itself, however, is more a beginning than an end, and will lead to much more discharge as well as decisive changes in life functioning.

Harvey Jackins
Present Time, No. 31, p. 34

Last modified: 2017-05-06 23:35:41-07