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O.2. Handling Disagreement, Criticism, and upset

Taking Responsibility

We want to build relationships without acting out our distress recordings at each other. These recordings include

  1. our confusions and unawareness resulting from the oppressions in our societies;
  2. our particular individual hurts; and
  3. frozen expectations of each other to be more than supportive Co-Counselors.

All of us need to discharge on all of these recordings and take responsibility for not acting out our distresses, including oppressor distresses.

We also understand that critical feelings, upsets, and many of our disagreements are based on the restimulation of past distresses rather than actual disagreements about current issues. We know that criticism of an individual is not useful and is different from disagreement with the individual’s idea or policy. Restimulations can pull us to unawarely and mistakenly dramatize our distress recordings at other Co-Counselors and particularly at RC leaders and the RC Community.

Addressing the Issue

The following procedure is useful for correcting mistakes; interrupting patterns (including oppressor patterns); addressing disagreement, criticism, and upset; and discouraging gossip and attacks. When we have an issue that needs to be addressed with another Co-Counselor, including an RC leader, it is effective to

  1. counsel and discharge on the situation in a way that doesn’t spread the upset (for example, without using names, by working on the related early hurts, and by counseling with someone who has a good relationship with the other Co-Counselor and won’t gossip);
  2. see the real situation as clearly as possible;
  3. think of possible ways to resolve the situation;
  4. if a, b, and c do not resolve the issue, communicate directly with the Co-Counselor involved so that we can listen to one another and possibly resolve the situation;
  5. if direct communication does not resolve the issue or if communicating directly to the other Co-Counselor is too difficult, request the assistance of an experienced Co-Counselor, an RC teacher, or the appropriate Reference Person; and
  6. if the issue still does not resolve, take it to the next level of Reference Person.

It is not effective to express the disagreement, criticism, or upset to others, inside or outside of RC, except as stated above. It is not effective to dramatize upsets in the guise of discharging as a client in our sessions.

Upsets with Leaders and the Community

When addressing an issue with an RC leader, it is important to discharge first (with someone other than the leader) on any distresses we have about leaders that confuse us and make it difficult for us to think well about the leader. Such distresses might include those that pull us to dramatize disappointment and criticism of leaders, or that leave us feeling powerless to think about or share our thinking with them. As leaders we can discharge any early hurts that leave us feeling defensive or attacked, so that we can listen to the information and possible correction being provided to us.

When we are upset with the RC Community, it is useful to counsel and discharge on our feelings about the situation in a way that doesn’t spread the upset. Then we can speak directly to our Reference Person about our best thinking.

If the Issue is Not Resolved

If the issue is not resolved and a Co-Counselor disrupts the RC Community, then the Community will deny that individual access to the Community’s resources.

Apologizing for Mistakes

When any of us makes a mistake, it is important to correct it by apologizing for the mistake to the people involved and resolving any negative effects.


Most disagreements do not need to be addressed in the ways described above. We do not need to agree on everything, and most of our disagreements do not need to be resolved immediately. They will resolve with continued discharge and new information. Usually no immediate decisions need to be made. [See also Note IV, Reaching Decision, on page __.]

However, we want to ensure that disagreements, criticism, upsets, and the acting out of oppressive attitudes toward other Co-Counselors, including leaders, are handled effectively and in a way that does not disrupt the ongoing work of the Community.

Direct communication (without dramatization) gives the object of the disagreement, criticism, or upset an opportunity to

  1. learn directly of the situation;
  2. think about the content of the issue and any connected upsets;
  3. use discharge and communication to resolve the situation and make any needed corrections; and
  4. enlist outside resource when necessary.

Criticism and attacks should not disrupt Co-Counselors’ good work. If used systematically, this process can deepen relationships and strengthen the Community.

Non-RCers may get confused about RC when we share with them our upsets about RC. It may make it more difficult to communicate with them about RC at a later time.

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