Inviting New Friends to Co-Counseling [1]

by Harvey Jackins

Wherever we live, we live surrounded by human beings, each one of whom is of great worth and enormous potential. All of these people will eventually be involved in what we call Co-Counseling or be influenced by it.

Among the whole group of the population are many very deeply distressed human beings. They are no less worthy, no less beautiful, no less essentially human simply because their hurts were piled deeper. It was in no sense their fault that they were battered even more than the rest of us.

Much more resource and effort is necessary, however, for them to win their way back to the point of becoming effective two-way Co-Counselors. We must have substantial surplus resources of time, attention, and counseling skill available before we can responsibly assume the job of involving them in our Communities.

This is not indifference or hard-heartedness. It is hard-headedness.

We will never lose sight of the fact that the majority of the world’s beloved humans exist under burdens of deep distress from which they await a workable opportunity to win their release. The beginning plans for effective action towards this are already in the works.

We would be foolish, however, to let patterns of sympathy, guilt or do-goodism blind us to the necessity at this stage of our development of recruiting to our Community people in the very best shape that we can find. We need to bring into our midst people who, given a moderate amount of initial assistance, become effective Co-Counselors without great delay and contribute their talents to our common store.

To bring deeply distressed individuals into our classes and Communities at the present time is to overburden our still scanty resources and from a long-range point of view delay rather than expedite the bringing of effective help to the deeply distressed.

If you have a friend, relative or acquaintance who is deeply distressed and you yourself want to take on the responsibility of being counselor to that person, more power to you; but you will need to face the size of the effort that you will have to expend and not try to load this effort onto the shoulders of others in the Community. It is no favor to the teacher of your Co-Counseling class to bring a deeply distressed acquaintance to the class because “he needs RC” nor is it really any favor to the individual himself or herself.

Whom should we invite into the Co-Counseling Communities and classes? The sharpest people we know. The ones we would be delighted to have as Co-Counselors. The ones that will help us accumulate the collective resources and the organized structures to eventually meet the needs of the deeply distressed.

[1]  First published in 1972.

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