The Teacher of Re-evaluation Counseling [1]

by Harvey Jackins

A New Kind of Communicator

The profession of teaching Re-evaluation Counseling is growing rapidly in the United States. The number of Re-evaluation Counseling teachers is doubling every six months in the present period (1972).

At any particular time a good job is being done by all or nearly all of these teachers. The almost consistent success of very new teachers is amazing. Yet, to be more aware of the specific functions of the Re-evaluation Counseling teacher cannot but help the teacher to do a better job. All of us feel the need of improvement, of self-examination. Let us look then as best we can, from the present backlog of experience in teaching Re-evaluation Counseling, at the role of the teacher.

The teacher of Re-evaluation Counseling teaches mostly by example. Students learn to counsel by being counseled, by seeing others being counseled. So the teacher is necessarily a counselor in practice most of the time, demonstrating techniques, getting discharge started for Co-Counselors to continue with, eliciting discharge from the students in the class and between class sessions.


Counseling theory is the summary and distillation of experience with counseling. It is a composite and explanation of the common features of the counseling that has worked well. We stress at every turn that there is no rigidity to the application of theory, that the basic principles have to be applied flexibly and differently in every session.

There is a real need for offering theory, but when it is done well it is not preached or “told” to the students but rather demonstrated. The discussions of theory which are remembered well by students are the discussions which appear in answer to questions students ask and even more particularly in response to difficulties which the students have experienced and which they bring to the teacher for help with a solution. As the teacher demonstrates the solution, eliciting discharge where the Co-Counselors had difficulty in getting it, the opportunity arises to present the summary and explanation of other people’s successful experiences which constitutes Re-evaluation Counseling theory.


All manner of people with all manner of distress pattern difficulties still impeding them, with greatly varying levels of experience and with greatly different personalities have become teachers of Re-evaluation Counseling. These varied people have taught Re-evaluation Counseling successfully and have communicated the theory and practice well enough that their students have Co-Counseled successfully and become skillful Co-Counselors. Many of these teachers began with very little experience or background, very little mastery of theory, and yet, slowly and sometimes with great difficulty, they succeeded in doing a good job. The success of their students and their students’ students attests to this.

Why is this so? Is the answer that teaching Re-evaluation Counseling is easy? Can one be less than rigorous with a subject such as this?


I think not. I think the principle reason for the success of our teachers until now has been that we are not teaching the students something brand new. We are communicating to them, we are reassuring them that the attitudes which they have always really held themselves and which they have persisted with in some hidden way underneath all the invalidation and counter-conditioning, are really true. We are saying to people that the ideas that they’ve always treasured deep within themselves that human beings are good, are smart, mean well to each other and should be able to solve their difficulties and get along are sound. We are affirming their hidden faith that there’s an understand-able reason why they haven’t been able to do well before. We are saying that there’s a practical solution to removing these reasons and allowing humans to regain their human abilities. What we’re saying in effect to each person is that the deeply held concept of themselves as good, intelligent, desiring and able to relate to others is the actual case. We are saying what they have always felt, that discharge is natural and good and should be encouraged instead of suppressed.

These students are, in effect, not having to learn something new, but are being reassured that their deepest convictions about themselves and their fellows are the real state of affairs, rather than the conditioned, negative, discouraging, invalidating attitudes imposed on them by the culture.


I have had a number of experiences of making a first visit to a Community of Co-Counselors who had been taught by students of students of mine, Co-Counselors with whom I had no previous contact. Sometimes it was quickly apparent that the theory of Re-evaluation Counseling had been distorted in certain ways by the teacher’s own distress patterns and that ideas had been taught as if they were part of the theory of Re- evaluation Counseling which were actually foreign to it and contradictory to it. What is reassuring is that each time I have had an open-question session with these students who have been mistaught, they have tactfully raised a question about the mistaken portion of theory and have asked, “What about this — — — — that we’ve heard in class? Would you comment on  this? It seems to some of us that this doesn’t fit very well with the rest of the theory.” They have accurately spotted the contradiction and held reservations against the mistaken idea in a profoundly intelligent way. This is very reassuring. Not only do people have the ability to hear correct things when they are said in a correct manner, they also intuitively recognize and reject erroneous ideas as their Co-Counseling progresses.

All of us in Re-evaluation Counseling commit ourselves not only to communicate correct theory well but also to a continual intellectual struggle to develop the theory further and to guard it from the intrusion of foreign and contradictory ideas which come to us out of our own distresses and with the distresses of new recruits to our Re-evaluation Counseling Communities (as well as from other theories of human behavior which have embalmed errors from the same sources).

Why do we make this sustained effort? Why are we willing to take time to engage in intellectual polemics as well as Co-Counseling sessions to reach agreement on a consistent and correct policy and theory?


We do this because our theory, the summary of our experience, is the cutting edge of our advancing influence in the affairs of human beings, is the weapon with which we beat back the forces of irrationality, oppression, and other expressions of distress patterns in the individual and society. The efficiency of our effort, the speed of our success, the elegance of our solutions, depend in great part on the correctness and precision of our ideas.

There is heavy pressure on us from individual distresses and from the culture to take what is in effect an “anarchist” position, to assume that good will is enough, that spontaneity is sufficient, that ideas and policies need not be rigorously formulated nor battled for. To the extent that this pressure is succumbed to, difficulties proliferate in individual Co-Counseling and in the Communities. Enormous effort, wasteful and avoidable, has to be committed to cleaning up the messes, straightening out the spreading confusion and restimulation that arise from it when with correct theory we could well have gone in a straightforward manner toward the goals we were after.

From another direction, mistaken concepts and errors of theory impinge upon us from the distress patterns and from the culture in the form of over-rigidity. These distortions try to present the theory as a series of pat answers, magic solutions to any situation, as a notion that we can come up with pre-conceived answers to categories of problems, that good counseling means copying exact techniques from skillful counselors and following these borrowed techniques slavishly.

This distorts reality to much ill effect also. It’s a mistake on the other side, but it’s still a mistake.


The basic concepts of counseling deserve clear formulation and agreement and need to be followed rigorously. Not only do our experiences all confirm the accuracy of these concepts but deductive logic, beginning with the original assumptions of Re-evaluation Counseling, confirms them also. These concepts need to be adhered to and used carefully, and any distortions of them resisted vigorously. Their application, however, must always be flexible. Techniques always need to be developed afresh each session for each client. Otherwise we have set up a well-intentioned, marvellously clear, but nevertheless rigid pattern of thought and have belied our own concepts. We need solid agreement on basic concepts and complete freedom and independence and flexibility in applying them. This is the combination that makes our theory come to life in the activities and gains of the humans who use it.

The teacher of Re-evaluation Counseling appears before her class as a model counselor. It is true she lectures sometimes. She explains and answers questions and presents theory; but by her actions, she shows over and over again that counseling works and how it works in particular cases.


Great pressure will arise on a successful teacher to become, in effect, a one-way counselor to all members of the class. She will properly play this role in the sense that the student often understands what counseling is about from being counseled, whether from a demonstration in class or a quick session on the phone or in person.

She must guard, however, that she does not accept this role fully and attempt to become a one-way counselor to a large number of people. This role is simply incorrect. It is too demanding on the teacher and it encourages students to assume a false position of feeling helpless and inept and invalidated and waiting on help from the teacher who can solve the difficulty. It does not get across the fact they can solve each other’s difficulties.


The beginning Re-evaluation Counseling teacher often feels terrified at the challenge of trying to function as well as the experienced teacher from whom she learned counseling. Yet to be a good teacher it is not necessary to be so expert a counselor. It’s not necessary that a teacher solve every single student’s problem in class or even demonstrate how to get every single student to discharge. What she does do is demonstrate that discharge is possible, that a solution of and the freeing of a person from a particular distress pattern is possible. She does this by performing the act in demonstration counseling. This implies that it can be done for the others and that they can do it for each other.

It is correctly the students’ responsibility to help each other to remove their patterns, not to stand in line to have their turn with the teacher removing theirs. If the teacher fails to do a successful demonstration or counsel a student in the class effectively, this does not lessen the teacher’s effectiveness as a teacher if her role is correctly understood. She is not there as a paragon of skill. She is there as one of the troops who has had a little more experience to show that it is possible to make Co-Counseling work and to encourage and help the others to make Co-Counseling work between themselves.

On this basis the Co-Counselors become responsible and self-respecting from the beginning. It becomes their project to learn how to Co-Counsel, not to imitate the teacher.


A teacher who is tempted to take too many students, or too many deeply distressed students, into her class needs to be aware of her own resources, to think carefully how many students she can be a model demonstrator for, and what depth and kinds of distresses they have that she can handle. If she takes on too big a class or takes on too distressed individuals or individuals with patterns which disrupt the class, she’s not being a smart teacher. To have a large class that does not go well contributes far less to the growth of Re-evaluation Counseling than to have a small class that is sparklingly successful and the word of which makes other people eager to get into classes.

The classes that grow and furnish their own recruits for the next series are the classes where the teacher is able to play a good role and the people are carefully chosen so that they can learn to help each other quickly and enjoy the process of Co-Counseling. These students bring their friends into Co-Counseling.

The large (or small) class full of difficulties which are only partially solved will discourage its members. It also sets a poor example. New students that do come in will tend to be like the old ones, that is, full of deep problems. It will be taken for granted from the teacher’s establishing such a class, that that’s what the class is for, to bring people with deep distresses for the teacher to handle.


A teacher will keep on being an example to her beginning students all through their development in Re-evaluation Counseling whether they attend other teachers’ classes later or not. Her influence and model will continue to be of great importance to the students that she first taught. Her correct choice of students and their early learning to care for each other, to use each other’s resource for effective Co-Counseling, become of great importance. Otherwise she will be oppressed by the weight of the collective demands for one-way help which the increasing Community of her students will place upon her.


The Area Reference Person speaks for the Community of Re-evaluation Counselors. Any teacher of a Re-evaluation Counseling class is, however, also, in a more limited way, a spokesperson for both the theory and the Community of Co-Counselors. Most people will secure their first impression and first acquaintance with Re-evaluation Counseling from the teacher of their fundamentals class.

The teacher of a Re-evaluation Counseling class is in a position to be an unrestimulative collector of the necessary funds for outreach and growth of the Community. She is assigned this function by the Community. Class tuitions should be set so as to adequately compensate the teacher for what will be a difficult and arduous job in many cases. They should be adequate to allow that 25% of the gross tuition for each class goes immediately into an Area Outreach Fund and a portion of that into the Community Service Fund so that the work of the Community can be carried on. (Guideline H.2. 2010)

The Re-evaluation Counseling teacher is a principal distributor of literature, pamphlets, books, manuals, tapes, etc. for the students and participants in Co-Counseling.

New forms of classes will evolve. New populations will enter our Communities. We will need special classes for young people, interest groups, prisoners, ethnic groups, disabled people, etc. A great lore of how-to-teach will accumulate, and this will need to be shared by Re-evaluation Counseling teachers with each other through such media as Present Time, International teachers’ workshops, and The RC Teacher.


The progress of the Re-evaluation Counseling teacher’s own counseling will be watched carefully by students and would-be-students. “What you do shouts so loudly to me that I can’t hear what you say” might have been said about the relative importance of the teacher’s own Co-Counseling and lifestyle as compared to her lectures.

In personal relationships, in financial matters, in community involvement the teacher will be looked to for an example, and the more rational her students become through their Co-Counseling, the more they will expect to learn from her in these ways.

[1]  Appeared in A New Kind of Communicator, 1973.

What we have always wished were true is true.

The things we’ve always wished we could,

we’ll do.

The Universe belongs to us. We’ve all the

time we need.

There’s just confusion to dispel, some powers

to be freed,

Some pain and anguish to be felt as out of us

it passes,

Some knowledge to be widely spread through

our Co-Couns’ling classes.

To the ones who guide this process our

attention’s here referred,

Re-evaluation Teachers, key spreaders of the


Last modified: 2023-04-15 09:24:12+00