Efficient Co-Counseling

I want to talk this morning about efficient Co-Counseling. There is a wide variation in efficiency. There are Co-Counseling sessions - that are a little negative. They should never have happened to anybody. The variation moves through Co-Counseling sessions that have had only the slightest effect in any way at all, to those that have been a little helpful, then those that have been more helpful. Every once in a while, we have a session that is absolutely decisive, where client and counselor are working together well and decisive changes are happening.

I don't think we've put enough aware thought into what the difference between sessions is, what makes the difference. I would like us to start thinking very rigorously about this job of ours, the job of Co-Counselor.

The analogy I think of is the work of professional golfers. Golf is a little calmer than some games. If you have watched a professional golf tournament on television, you know they are fun to watch because these men or women esteem themselves as professionals or "pros. " What being a "pro" means to them is not just that they make a living at golf, which is one meaning of the word, but that they set themselves and work hard toward the goal of doing their very best at all times. They set out to make every game the best game that's ever been played. They try for excellence in everything they do. Every drive, every chip, every putt is calculated to be just as good as it can be done. I think this is why great crowds of people come out to watch them. This is why you and I watch them on television. There is something inspiring about people reaching for excellence, trying to reach the ultimate.

I think we need to apply this attitude to our Co-Counseling. In a recent article in Present Time, "Who is in Charge of the Session?" I tried to summarize what I'd been able to think about the roles of people in their sessions.

In the article I point out that there are two completely distinct roles in a Co-Counseling session. One is the role of the counselor, and the counselor is in charge of everything in that role, and there's a good deal to it. The other role is that of the client, and the client is in charge of that. In a symphony orchestra there's one person who sets the beat. If everybody sets their own beat, we'd have a mess. The director is in charge of conducting or directing. The player who is the concertmaster is in charge of making that lead fiddle sing and nobody else is going to do that for him. He's in charge of that part of the performance. There are many different roles, and when a hundred players are all doing their roles well together in a symphony orchestra, you get a glimpse of what tremendous cooperation human minds are capable of.

The counseling session usually involves just two people, but it is an exquisitely delicate and complex inter-relationship, one of the most complex inter-relationships that human beings have. The relationships in a symphony orchestra are wonderful. If any of you have ever played in one, you know how great it is to be in the middle of the orchestra, contribute your part, and hear 99 other people contributing their parts, all just right. Boy! Because we're dealing with the inherently confusing situation of combatting patterns, the complexity of a Co-Counseling session is at least as great. It's more demanding of excellent thinking from both parties than one can easily imagine. Of course it's also enormously important. If a pro golfer sinks his putt he may win $ 120,000, but we Co-Counselors, if we sink our putts, people have their lives back, the only lives they'll ever have, which will otherwise be spent completely under the lid of patterns.

The significance of what we're doing is enormous. We're trained not to think of ourselves as significant, we don't think of our work as significant, but that's just patterns. The actual significance of this effort we make is huge! It may determine whether evolution has to start over after three and a half billion years. What does the counselor's role consist of? Well, it consists, in part, of remembering important information. What's some of this important information? That every client is a tremendously intelligent person, every client in his or her essential nature is as good as the most holy saint that ever sainted. Every client is tremendously creative. Every client is whole and intact, underneath the scar tissue of the patterns. The client's intelligence has been occluded, not replaced by the patterns. The patterns only cover it. Is it important that the counselor remember that? I think so. You're not going to have a bold enough and clear enough attitude toward the Co-Counseling session if you don't have these factors dear in your mind. The client will find it very difficult to remember that because the minute the client tackles the pattern, the pattern is screaming loudly. The client can't remember which way is up, remember his or her own name, or much else. The pattern is screaming in the client's inner ear, "You're dirty and evil and vile. " You can't expect the client, in the midst of that hubbub, to remember that he or she is a wonderful person with tremendous integrity and intelligence. No. That's the counselor's job to remember that. To remember it under all conditions.

Here is the client, this god-like person with this marvelous intelligence still intact, with this tremendous goodness, this tremendous desire to be human and good and cooperative and all the rest, who is covered with a writhing mass of fungoid patterns, which purport to be him or her - patterns that are evil, stupid, destructive, uncomfortable, nonsensical, tricky around the edges. This patterned mass has not much flexibility. Though the client is actually intact in all these fine ways, functionally the client is like someone whose back has been broken and whose one arm is dangling, whose mouth is wound around with barbed wire so that it can't speak when it wants, has a bear trap on every foot and a strait-jacket around himself or herself. In terms of the inhibitions and difficulties that the client has to contend with, they're that handicapped, at the same time that they are persons of god-like power and persistence. If the counselor doesn't have that picture clear in his or her mind, the job is going to fall short of what needs to be done.

You, as counselor, may think, Okay, I'll remember that this is a god-like, wonderful person and you say, "Try this phrase, please. " And the god-like, wonderful person says, "Mmm-mmm, I can't mmmmmm. " And you say, "Heck, god-like person, get on the stick and try it. " Now sometimes that will work, but very rarely, because there is an invisible, patterned gag that has got the client so blocked so that he or she can't say the phrase and it's tied down with a knot that the client cannot reach. The client can't reach to untie it, but the counselor looks carefully, sees the knot, and says, "I see why you can't talk, " slips the knot loose and says to the client, "You're free. "

The counselor needs to remember all about counseling theory - have it all available. I just reviewed a couple of pieces. Another is, it's good to discharge thoroughly. That's so simple, but how many counselors forget that and eagerly settle for the client stopping discharge: "Whew, well, we got a little off, shall we quit? " And the client always says, "Yeah, yeah." Inside their "thought" was "I almost felt this extreme discomfort, let's quit. I'm used to having barbed wire around my mouth and a bear trap on each foot. I just want to get home and rest." The client can't usually tell you that they really want to keep going. If you let them rest for three minutes, they may say, "What should we try next?", signaling to you in the only way they can, "Let's get back and finish the discharge."

The counselor needs to have all the main tenets of Re-evaluation Counseling theory, the main information that we've dug out from under the occluding distress and oppression right there and dear in mind. One piece of information that the counselor needs to be very, very clear on: there's only one client in the session. This is more violated than anything else because of the "ancient habit pattern." The client says it was my Aunt Beulah and the counselor thinks, "It was my Aunt Tillie. I remember my Aunt Tillie did something almost similar like that... " and goes drifting away into clienting, violating the basic function of the session. Is that just something that happens very rarely and is amusing because of its rarity? Up until now, I would say at least 95% of all sessions have been seriously contaminated by the counselor drifting off into their paying attention to the counselor's own distress. Is there a means of combatting it? Yes. Will making the decision at the beginning of the session, "I will only pay attention to my client, " help? Yes. It'll help, but it'll help a lot more to have a few sessions making the formal decision against the ancient habit pattern: "It is logically possible and certainly desirable to end this ancient habit pattern of paying attention to my old distress all the time and substitute for it a new, more effective posture or attitude of paying attention to interesting concerns such as my client, when I am counselor. " As you respect that, the role of the repetitive decision becomes clear. You become better and better the more you work at it. It's slow. We'd like to make a decisive breakthrough, but decisive breakthroughs always occur after a series of small gains. That's the nature of the universe. Qualitative, abrupt changes always alternate with a series of small quantitative changes.

If you come to the session as a client, what's your responsibility? Well, your responsibility is to discharge. Those of you who were here earlier when I was working with E- noticed that, in effect, I scolded E-. (I hope she'll take it kindly.) I scolded her because she was rehearsing certain patterns that she has fallen into, patterns which she shares with many clients, of getting discharge started and then immediately allowing the pattern to take her off to something else instead of recognizing from long experience, "Ah ha, I've discharged there, I'll come back to it, I'll come back to it, I'll come back to it. "Can you do this as a client against the pull of the patterns to change the subject? Yes. I know some clients who do just this. Ahead of time, they may be at a loss as to what's going to bring discharge, but they have disciplined themselves so that when they hit discharge, they bring themselves back to it, back to it, back to it. They'll say to the counselor, "Don't let me get away from that. " They add a little bit to the persistence role of the counselor and prop him up.

Is it your responsibility as client to plan your session ahead of time? Yes. It may go completely different than you've planned it, but if you don't have a plan then the random character of patterns and restimulations will come in and try to take the session over. Is it your business as client to remember what needs to be remembered about your progress as a client? Yes. Can you do it just by deciding to remember? No, not usually, because patterns have this extraordinary ability to make us forget. Patterns have three pseudo-abilities. One of them is to make you forget, make you forget, make you forget. So, you have to write yourself notes. You have to remember to bring your notebook along. You have to tie a string on your arm and tie it to your notebook, do whatever you have to do. If you have to write it in shaving foam on your vanity table mirror or write it in lipstick on your shaving mirror, do it. Send signals to yourself. You have to give your counselor a list of things you have thought of and would like to take up. You have to organize yourself. Is this easy, in terms of resisting patterns? I don't think so. All of us are pulled to drift into a session and say, "Make me well, counselor. " Does that work very well? Nope. Can a session work lots, lots better if you plan it? Yes. I'm not just speculating. People have done enough of this that it's been proven to have good results.

I would like this workshop to become a center of infection for highly organized, completely responsible playing the role of client and playing the role of counselor. I would like you to infect every Co-Counselor that you know after you leave this workshop. Let your example and your little preachings that you throw in casually begin to spread this. I'll keep doing it; I did it all through England, not as much as I'm going to here and I'll do it at Las Cruces in a couple of weeks, and I'll do it in Philadelphia. But I would like this Community to be the focal point. After all, Santa Cruz has advantages that no other Community in the world has. Where is there a more relaxed, yet not quite decadent, style than in Santa Cruz? I love to come to Santa Cruz. I get a taste of elegant, carefree living without being corroded.

What's the client's responsibility? To be on time for a session or, if late, to apologize and offer to shorten the session. Something like that. To think about the counselor. To think about the counselor as client? No, that's a different business. If you're Co-Counseling, sure, you think about the counselor as client when you hear she is a client. But, when you are client, you think about your counselor in terms of what are the weaknesses and the difficulties of this counselor? This one has some kind of horror of sex that gets telegraphed in all kinds of ways and even though I'm just wild to get to my earliest sexual memories, I don't think I'd better do it with this one, not today. I'm going to take up my lofty goals for my life with this one, because he gets inspired by that and he'll be very enthusiastic and with me. I'll use the session effectively. I'll work on that earliest sexual memory with Fleetybelle. She never gets upset.

I'm trying to be a little humorous here, but the message is serious. Plan how to use the counselor. Don't shove distress at him that's going to dismay him and give you another bad session, in which counseling didn't work.

Question: So you're saying to do that? Recognize what your counselor can handle well and go for that distress ?

Harvey: Go for that. Make your sessions efficient. It will be good for you and it will be good for the counselor.

In your workbook are some suggestions. I think that each of you needs to keep a notebook, a very careful notebook from now on. One notebook as client and one as counselor. Keep all kinds of details. Maybe you can have two sections in the same notebook. I won't tell you how you should do it, exactly. You have to figure that out. But I think that you need one, because of the three pseudo-abilities of a pattern, that it can persist, it can confuse you, and it can make you forget. All of these pseudo-abilities can be combatted by the use of the written word, by clearly written out instructions and directions and information. I think you should keep these notebooks as part of your being in Co-Counseling.

They should be separate notebooks or separate sections. Don't confuse the two and say, "As the client blah-blah and as the counselor also blah-blah. " Make them completely separate sections of a notebook, if not completely separate notebooks. Put some time in on them. The textbook that will teach you how to be a good counselor is the one you write yourself. You may quote what I've written or what anyone else has written. There's lots of good texts around, but the one you take to heart and put down because it is pertinent for you, that's the one that will do the job.

I have made some notes on these sheets in your workbook. The first page says, "My program as client, " and I've left spaces under each heading. "Directions that have worked well for me. " Now, what are the directions that have worked well for me? Well, I've got a whole history of ones that have worked well. The first one I remember is, "All is well. " I don't think any of you are old enough in counseling to remember when I came up with that, but it served me (and others) well. "All is well. " It led to the concept of the benign reality and then to various other breakthroughs. "All is well. " It really is. The universe is progressing in just the way that it needs to progress. This lovely planet that I'm sitting on is turning at just the right speed. Sun rise, sun set. Tide in, tide out. All is well. I can look across there and see A- and know that A-'s mind is in contact with mine. What could be finer? If we ever get a chance to explore, A-'s mind and mine are going to have a ball together. All is well. Emerson came close to this in one of his poems. He said he was discouraged because a seashell that had looked so pretty on the beach didn't look so pretty on the mantel and he brought a bird home and it didn't sing, so, "Then I said, I covet truth, beauty is unripe childhood's cheat. I leave it behind with the dreams of my youth; but as I spoke, beneath my feet the ground pine curled its pretty wreath creeping over the moss and burrs. Around me stood the oaks and firs. Over me stretched the boundless sky, full of light and of deity. Again I saw, again I heard the rolling river, the morning bird. Beauty through all my senses stole. I yielded myself to the perfect whole." If you once start noticing goodness, what a lovely existence we have, what tremendous good fortune it is to have existed, to have been alive, to have been intelligent, to have been occasionally aware. Good fortune surrounds me.

So, if I'm preparing my client notebook, I write down, "All is well. " It's the earliest one I can remember. What's the latest one? "I will care about myself first, not against the interests of other people, but in order that I can care about other people well, too. I will never again leave myself out of the picture. " I've got a whole lot of others in between, when I write up my notebook.

So, all directions that have worked well for you, write them all down. Write these truths in block letters that are easy to read.

Heading, personal commitments: I have a personal commitment that I've worked on. I haven't been keeping it well, but the response to that is to keep it, not to be dismayed and give up on it. My commitment is to eat only one meal a day at bedtime. Haaard! Haaard! Haaard! But I'd better have it down there in black and white, or I'll start eating too much.

Commitments against my internalized oppressions: Here comes a whole battery. What are my commitments against internalized oppression? Well, the men's commitment. You heard me do it last night. You could tell it moved me, couldn't you? "I'm all man and I've never doubted it. " It's great. I'm working-class. "I am a worker, proud to be a worker, and the future is in my hands. " What others? Well, I don't have a commitment as a Native person yet. Maybe we ought to work one out. I haven't yet really practiced what I've preached, which is, "Whatever mixed heritage you have, claim every part of that heritage as all yours. " I haven't done this. I haven't yet said, "I'm one hundred percent Penobscot. " But I have said, "I'm a hundred percent Norwegian, a hundred percent French, a hundred percent Scottish, a hundred percent English, a hundred percent Irish. " And I now claim I'm a hundred percent Penobscot. You and I ought to work out a good Native commitment when we can. All the places where you are. Can I use the women's commitment? Sure I can. "Never again settle for anything less than absolutely everything. Hah, hah, hah, hah. " Does that hurt a man? No. Women have been forced to settle down here; men have been forced to settle here. That little difference because of the sexist oppression. The sky is there and that cracked blue plaster ceiling is not the sky. Can I as a man use the young people's commitment? Sure. Drop the word "young " off, or remember that I really think I'm fifteen years old inside. Either way it works. "Never again treat any person with anything less than complete respect. " All of them are available. Do I need to have them written in my notebook? Yes, because some days I have trouble remembering my own name. The frontier commitments - the ones we've been working on. The only one we haven't take a shot at is, "From now on I will inspire, lead, and organize all people to eliminate every form of humans harming humans. "

Chronic patterns I am aware of: How can you figure out your own chronic patterns? Fairly easily. Look back at the end of the day at what you did that day that you wish you hadn't. There are your chronic patterns, pulsating, fluorescent. Write down what it was and then ask, "What would be the exact opposite of that?" You can come up with a contradiction. Ask your counselors, "What are my chronic patterns that I should be aware of?" They'll tell you.

Major incidents in my life: What happened in my life? I was born. My brother was killed. I lost my home. I had severe illnesses. I became a journeyman cowboy. I escaped to the university. I found Marxism and the international labor movement. I went through some fierce struggles. I found RC. RC survived. Many people started doing it. Many major incidents, a long life. Talking about any one of them with a good counselor, I'd discharge.

The things that my counselors have done that work well for me as a client: Thought about me, thought about me, thought about me. I can think of some other things, too.

Next, a direction to myself: I will try each suggested direction four times before I argue with it or decide that it is in error. Underline that one, all of you, because it is one weakness in your clienting that I find when I work with you, is that I come up with a brilliant direction, or at least a possibly brilliant one, and you say, "But I don't happen to feel that way. " You rehearse your pattern that the direction is intended to contradict. You rehearse the pattern instead of using the direction.

Then again, "I will think about each counselor ahead of the session and plan to work only on material I think that particular counselor can handle. " We already talked about that one.

I'll be on time for sessions because it's respectful of the counselor. I will act like a client only in the times that my counselor has agreed to be my counselor. I will express appreciation for each session, no matter how I am feeling at that time. If I'm feeling that was the lousiest session I ever had, I will nevertheless express appreciation, because I know that complaining doesn't work to improve counseling.

Songs that have brought discharge in the past: (Sings "I Love You Truly. ") I remember when they first put Toselli's Serenade on our stands in the symphony orchestra I was playing in. I looked at it. I had three notes to play in the middle and I had to count 5 2 7 measures on either side. I thought, " Oh God, how awful" and the instruments that were playing took up the melody and then the melody just drifted into my soul, the sweetest melody I've ever heard. (Sings.)

Poems that have brought discharge in the past: That happens to be my specialty. I know about 3,000 poems. (Recites several.)

The three most satisfying validations I can ever remember receiving: I don't know, I haven't got them up there, but just trying to think of them I can feel some tears starting to come.

The concept that's more horrifying to me than any other: Now, these ones of mine aren't yours. You figure out your own notebook. The one that's the most horrifying to me? The idea of "evil intelligence. " It was the greatest relief to me when I finally figured out, after counseling, that there could not be such a thing as evil intelligence, that there can only be a recorded pattern. The idea was with me all through my childhood, however, and it's still the most horrifying idea I can imagine.

The notion that angers me more than any other: The abuse or neglect of a helpless person, when somebody, just by taking a little trouble, could stop and help him as they go by. When I see a client in the Community who is just sitting trapped with their distress just sticking out begging for contradiction and all the Co-Counselors around them are treating them unawarely and paying no attention, I get filled with rage inside. I want to take some of the Co-Counselors' heads and just bang them together and make them look. Just a little bit of attention and caring could help this person have a good life. That angers me. This is my own notebook. It won't be yours.

I can ask my counselor to:

(1) Stand guard for me while I rest. This is a recent discovery, extremely important, "standing guard. "

(2) Say things to me that I need to hear. If the counselor can't be creative, at least he or she can be repetitive. Sometimes when I have badly needed to sleep and have been going way too long hours in this rushing life, I'll say, "Sit down beside me and tell me you love me, just that and say it over and over again. " Sometimes they'll say, "I love you. I love you. What do you really need? " And I have to start over. I can go to sleep if somebody is committed to saying that. It means they're not going to say something that I have got to stay awake to guard myself against and I can go to sleep.

(3) Allow me to sleep if I'm tired.

(4) Remember that the session is completely confidential and confidentiality is not to be breached by talking about my material in his or her own sessions. This is a loathsome practice in the Communities: "Confidentiality, oh yes, of course, confidentiality, but I got so upset by what I heard in my last session I have to talk to somebody. Will you listen to me about it? Blah, blah, blah. " It's a complete breach of confidentiality. All you need to say if you're upset is, "Something I heard upset me." You don't need to gossip. Anybody that's going to counsel me, I'm going to have this clear.

The following are my best regular counselors. Fleetybelle, her strength is she's graceful. Her weakness is that her mind wanders. Georgie-porgie, his strength is that he really wants to do the right thing. He wants to. His weakness is that he doesn't know what the right thing is. Make a long list.

Then I have a last note: Decision can precede discharge and generally both living and discharge go better if it does. It's an important reminder to me as a client.

Now that's just what I was able to put together quickly, but you can put in the rest of your life working out a good client's notebook. Keep improving it. Check with others. Share your notebook with each other and come up with this guide to being a successful, rapidly re-emerging client. Put gold lettering on the cover.

Then my program as a counselor. Here's the second notebook.

Some notes - and again you can write better ones. This is just to give you some kind of notion.

My attention belongs completely on the client when I am the counselor. My thinking is about and for the client and not for myself. When I am counselor I have no distresses of my own. How would you like it if all your counselors repeated that five times before they came to the session?

Second paragraph: It is at least twenty times easier for me to think of good contradictions to the client's distresses, than it is for the client to do so. Write this in letters of fire. You have this enormous ability to be outside the distress, to be effective. If you don't use it, what are you pretending to be counselor for?

When I am a counselor, I am striving for complete excellence in the job I do, seeking to make each particular session the best session that ever occurred. That's what a "pro " does. In each game he plays, he tries to make it the best game he ever played. You try to make it the best session that anyone ever had.

Warm-up exercises: Giving up the ancient habit pattern is the first paragraph. The commitment against identifying with the distress is the second paragraph. No recording of past distress has any power at all.... This is another commitment, the third one, "I'll see to it that everything I am in contact with, including the session of my Co-Counselor, works well. "

Then I've listed the basic notions: The job of the counselor is to (0) Review the counselor's goal as seeing to it that the client re-emerges decisively, remembering that the client is inherently a person of great intelligence, value, decisiveness, and power as well as needing assistance with emergence from distress, and, in particular, noticing and remembering where this particular client is capable, treasurable, and already functioning, or close to functioning, elegantly and well. (1) Pay enough attention to the client to see clearly what the distress is. (2) Think of all possible ways to contradict the distress. (3) Contradict the distress sufficiently. The client will always discharge.

Some other paragraphs: The client is always eager and almost always able to tell me or show me exactly what the distresses are.

Okay, do you get the picture? Keep these notebooks. Besides these exciting ideas, there are things that you plan. You plan your re-emergence as a client; you plan your counseling of your fellow re-emergians.


Directions that have worked well for me:

Personal commitments:

Commitments against my internalized oppressions:

Frontier commitments:

Chronic patterns I am aware of:

Best contradictions to the above:

Major incidents in my life:

The things my counselors have done that worked the best for me:

I will try each suggested direction four times before I argue with it or decide that it is in error.

I will think about each counselor ahead of the session and plan to work only on material that I think the particular counselor can handle.

I will be on time for a session, be pleasant to the counselor, act like a client only in the times the counselor has agreed to be my counselor, and will express appreciation for each session no matter how I'm feeling at the time.

Songs that have brought discharge in the past:

Music that has brought discharge in the past:

Poems that have brought discharge in the past:

The three most satisfying validations I can ever remember receiving:

The concept that seems more horrifying to me than any other:

The notion that angers me more than any other:

I can ask my counselor to:

  1. stand guard for me while I rest.
  • say things to me that I need to hear.
  • allow me to sleep if I am tired.
  • remember that the session is completely confidential, and confidentiality is not to be breached by talking about my material in his/her own sessions.

The following are my best regular counselors:

1) strengths: weaknesses:

strengths: weaknesses:

strengths: weaknesses:

strengths: weaknesses:






Warm-up Exercises:

It is logically possible and certainly desirable to end the he ancient habit pattern of keeping attention on my own old distresses all the time (especially when I've agreed to be counselor) and so I now decide and will in the future decide repeatedly to keep my attention on interesting and profitable concerns such as present time and the skillfully-assisted re-emergence of my client.

No recording of past distress has any power of its own at all; therefore I now decide to deny past distress any credibility in the present or any influence or operation in my life and will repeat this decision until my life and my functioning as a counselor is completely free from the influence of past distress.

I will see to it that everything I am in contact with (including the session of my client) works well.

The job of counselor is to:

  • 0) review the counselor's goal as seeing to it that the client re-emerges decisively, remembering that the client is inherently a person of great intelligence, value, decisiveness, and power as well as needing assistance with emergence from distress, and, in particular, noticing and remembering where this particular client is capable, treasurable, and already functioning, or close to functioning, elegantly and well,
  • 1) pay enough attention to the client to see clearly what the distresses are,
  • 2) think of all possible ways to contradict the distress,
  • 3) contradict the distress sufficiently. The client will always discharge.

(The client is always eager and almost always able to tell me or show me exactly what the distresses are.)

The client is brilliantly intelligent, completely benign, has complete freedom of choice, and is completely powerful.

The client is also blindfolded, straight-jacketed, confused, enforced, and in agony from old distress recordings that I am easily able to help the client contradict and begin emerging from.

Key information and directions for my regular clients:

Client 1: information: directions:

Client 2: Information: directions:

Client 3: Information: directions:

Client 4: Information: directions:




Harvey Jackins

Last modified: 2016-05-11 22:46:58+00