Discharging on Identity

Dear Catholic heritage RCers,

Harvey Jackins pioneered the majority of early RC liberation efforts, including counseling techniques and a format for draft liberation policy statements. A legacy of his efforts is the three-step approach to identities, “Claim it, clean it up, throw it away,” invented many years ago by “Jeanne D’Arc.” The intent of the three steps is to encourage discharge, shift rigidities, and promote thinking unique to an individual’s personal re-emergence.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Nor is there a rigid formula or sequence. We think about individuals. What promotes discharge for one person (“I’m Catholic,” “I’m Irish Catholic,” “I’m a Gay Catholic,” “I’m proud to be Catholic”) may not work for another or reflect accurate thinking about him or her. We search for the precise contradiction for this person, at this time, understanding the unique features of his or her experience.

For example, “I’m not a Catholic, I’m a human being,” can lift tremendous internalized oppression off of individuals who have been targeted by colonization, attempted genocide, male domination, Gay oppression, or the terror used to impose beliefs on young people.

The counselor needs to understand the depth of the oppression and the contradictions necessary to face it. What works? Where does the client sob, shake, rage, stand against the early hurts (and history of oppression) to fight fully for herself or himself?

Each of us will need to claim our indignation at and power to stand against the full extent of oppression directed at anyone with a particular heritage, whether it be chosen, inherited, or imposed by means of violence or coercion.

As we do identity work, we also must understand what was done “in the name of religion.” We cannot and will not be proud as a movement if we deny, forget, or dismiss the oppression carried out by an identity, a community, a religion.

As counselors we can keep track of what best supports discharge. Some individuals may discharge for months or years on throwing an identity away and then turn to a relaxed interest in what discharging on claiming the identity might mean for them. Others may never claim the identity but take steady steps toward their re-emergence by discharging on throwing it permanently away.

We can use any of the three steps, in the sequence that makes the most sense and for as long or as short a time as needed, with a flexibility that promotes our full humanity and the freeing of all humans from oppression.

Ultimately, we are all human.

Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences related to discharging on a Catholic identity.

Joanne Bray

International Liberation
Reference Person for Catholics

Greenwich, Connecticut, USA

Reprinted from the RC e-mail
discussion list for leaders of Catholics

 

 


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00