Important Articles and Video Talks by Harvey Jackins

Harvey Jackins was our founding International Reference Person from the formation of the practice and theory of Re-evaluation Counseling until his passing in 1999. His thinking and words are available in many journals, pamphlets, and books. 

Regional and International Liberation Reference People were asked to recommend their favorite writings and give a short summary. Here is a sample of their recommendations.

Below that are some important articles selected for your reading. 

Here you can find short video clips of important theory presentations by Harvey.

from Chioma Okonkwo (RRP, West Africa)

Logical Thinking About a Future Society (print, PDF)

The understanding of RC about the present situation for wide-world-changing includes the idea that the capitalist social system, which is the predominant system practiced in most countries, has led to consistent deterioration in the environment, human life, human values and culture. It gives off distress patterns triggering painful and negative emotions in humans. Solutions to the current situation will involve the following:

  • transformation of the society from a class to a classless society such that everyone is subject to the same conditions,
  • re-orientation of the working class to know and leverage the power they have,
  • fostering unity among various liberation groups.

 A proposition about human liberation is that it is a fact that all human beings are very closely related, irrespective of morphological, phenotypical, geographical, and cultural differences. What makes us essentially different is our culture, the learned and acquired characteristics from our environment. No human is superior or inferior to the other; if exposed to the same conditions, we would all act the same. 

The Longer View (print, PDF)

 Present Societies Collapsing, p. 227. All societies are on the verge of collapsing. Though attempts at the replacement of these societies in some places was not lasting, some lessons still remained. 

 Uncaring of Individuals, p. 228. Past class societies went to any length to preserve themselves without considering the detrimental effects on people. The present day capitalist society isn't any different. Quick profit is prioritized over everything else including the preservation of human life.

 Choosing the Best Assumption, p. 229. Every human has the right to make their own choices whether good or bad.

 Bypassing Despair, p. 230. In the midst of all the distresses and despair we can choose what our response will be. We can choose to live. In the end, what is important is that we lived and were able to achieve the things we did whether great or small.

 The Worst Possibility Doesn't Justify Despair, p. 232. The key threat to human existence in this present time is the distress patterns produced by individuals and the oppressive society. These distress patterns exist and are responsible for making some people oppressors and shaping the society into what it is today.

from David Jernigan

The Human Situation (print, PDF)

 The Postulates of Re-evaluation Counseling, This is the basis of our entire theory. These 28 points lay out the essential assumptions of RC theory and practice. Everything else we do needs to be consistent with these 28 points.

The Distinctive Characteristics of Re-evaluation Counseling. In this article Harvey reiterates the core assumptions of RC in the context of distinguishing it from other approaches to human behavior. He also explains how we have used both inductive and deductive logic to build out our theory. This article is critical for anyone who wants to understand how our theory is constructed and evolves. 

The Communication of Important Ideas, This is the basis for how we think about organizing for social change in RC. 

The Complete Appreciation of Oneself, This was one of the first major “directions” to come out of Co-Counseling. The article not only explains this direction, but also provides a great model of how we develop and test directions, including important developments that would come later like commitments and understatements.

Who’s in Charge?, This to me is one of the most important theoretical articles in RC. In it, Harvey goes beyond both Hegelian (“idealist”) and Marxian (“realist” or materialist) philosophy, laying out the essential reality of our universe while also understanding that we each “create” this universe uniquely in our minds, and that this gives us enormous power and initiative for thinking about and responding to that universe. He also discusses blame, a concept that has been very confusing for many humans.

The Logic of Being Completely Logical, This very dry sounding title leads into the basic RC theory about addiction. In it Harvey explains the difference between thinking and feelings, as well as RC’s definition of addiction: “We are addicted to whatever is the content of our hurt recordings.” For anyone who has ever struggled with repetitive behaviors of any kind that they know don’t make sense but that they continue to act out (which is just about everyone with chronic patterns, which is just about everyone), this is essential.

The Flexible Human in the Rigid Society, This article holds the seeds of all of our liberation theory. In it Harvey talks about the evolution of societies and their rigidities, the relationship of the intelligent human to those rigidities, and how we can use our minds both to change society and to reach the humans caught in those rigidities.

Human Liberation, This very short article introduces RC’s approach to liberation – our commitment to a two-pronged attack consisting of “direct, intelligent struggle for social change on the one hand, and persistent, effective Co-Counseling on the other” so that we do not end up replacing one rigid society with another one.

The Nature of the Learning Process, This article is the foundation of all of our theory and work in educational change. It describes our theory of how humans learn, and will be of interest to anyone who has ever tried to learn anything (which is all of us), as well as those of us who work in schools or education of any kind.

Is Death Necessary? This is one of my personal favorite articles in RC. Reading it gives insight into how Harvey’s mind worked, how he combined his and others’ experience (inductive reasoning) with logic (deductive reasoning) to point us in directions that challenge some of the most basic premises on which human existence has historically rested, including in this case our assumption that we all will eventually die. The specific insights are very helpful, but so are the lessons that can be taken from it about how to think bigger than we have been taught about what is possible.

The Necessity of Long-Range Goals, This article is for anyone who has ever wanted to think about their next steps. Harvey challenges us to use our minds to put our own individual next steps in the context of our power and ability to think about the whole – the whole family, community, species, universe, looking far and near at the same time. Patterns so quickly can make us forget our significance and our power; well thought-out goals can help us remember who we are and where we want to go. 

The Teacher of Re-evaluation Counseling – A New Kind of Communicator, I hope every person who teaches RC reads this article. It is filled with useful tips, including wise assessment of resources, combining rigor with flexibility, teaching people as opposed to becoming their caretakers, as teachers demonstrating possibility rather than perfection, and being models of integrity and reemergence for our students.

Leaders and Leadership, This very practical article describes why leaders are needed, key functions and attitudes of leaders, patterned attitudes and motivations towards leadership, and how to think about choosing leaders.

Co-Counseling for Married Couples, This article is for anyone who wants to use Co-Counseling to improve a relationship. It is not just for married couples – the principles it proposes can be useful in any “relationship counseling” situation. And the article offers a very hopeful (and in my experience accurate) picture of how Co-Counseling can enhance the functioning of a committed wide-world relationship like a marriage, just as it can help us untangle difficulties we run into in our counseling relationships with each other.

from K Webster (RRP, Manhattan, New York, USA)

Two important articles from The Benign Reality (print, PDF) read by K Webster and recorded by Steve Elson.

The Oppression of Classism, Present Time No. 59 (April 1985).
The Chronic Patterns of Classism, Present Time No. 87 (April 1992)


 from Julian Weissglass (ILRP for Wide World Change)

The Human Situation (print, PDF)

The Logic of Being Completely Logical, This article/pamphlet describes a fundamental part of RC theory – that logical thinking and not feelings are the guide to action. It is our intelligence (the ability to create new, precise, accurate responses to new situations) that makes us human.  The article also explains addictions both to chemicals and to repeating the content of our distress recordings.

The List

Understanding Being a Counselor/Attitude/Actions  (pages 42 to 49) -- Especially items 5.059, 5.060, 5.066, 5.067, 5.090, 5.091, 5.094, 5.098, 10.7. This excerpt explains that the primary role of the counselor is to listen and that people need to be listened to for a long time before being given any directions (or even verbal contradictions). It is the clients powerful intelligence that has the power, strength, and the necessary information that allows discharge and re-evaluation to take place.

from Jennifer Wexler (RRP, Boston, MA, USA)

The Discharge of Patterns of White Racism by White Co-Counselors, Harvey Jackins, April 1990,  Present Time, pages 24-26.

This article describes key developments in previously unresolved limitations and difficulties in how to contradict and fully discharge the oppressor end of racism. The effect of this systematically installed distress is a young person’s terrified, broken-hearted acceptance of racism as enforced by the people the young person loved, were afraid of or tied to in some respect.

This work has huge beneficial effects on the person's life in areas seemingly unconnected to this distress.  The counselor’s attitude is that white people are just as good as anyone else underneath this distress. The client is asked for their earliest memory of noticing people with skin color other than pink. However it takes a great deal of determined counseling, discharge and ongoing work to remove it completely to clean up the person's life in this regard.

from Mike Markovits (President, Re-evaluation Foundation)

An Unbounded Future (print, PDF)

The Intensive Use of Understatements, p21-28, and Useful Understatements/Useful Procedures, p29-30 

Harvey determined in the mid-1990's that we had been putting too much attention directly on our distresses and that we needed to counsel more with attention off of or away from our distresses.   Harvey created the initial understatement, "It sometimes happens that someone likes somebody," to give the client the opportunity to discharge deep feelings of being disliked while putting attention on the possibility of liking.   Harvey provided examples of how this technique of the understatement can be applied against many different distresses.

Important Articles by Harvey Jackins over the years

Present Time 196, July 2019

Present Time 192, July 2018

Present Time 190, January 2018

Present Time 187, April 2017

Present Time 185, October 2016

Present Time 183, April 2016

Present Time 182, January 2016

Present Time 176, July 2014

Present Time 111, April 1998

Present Time 106, January 1997

Present Time 103, April 1996

Present Time 98, January 1995

Present Time 97, October 1994

Present Time 96, July 1994

Present Time 95, April 1994

Present Time 93, October 1993

Present Time 87, April 1992

Present Time 84, July 1991

Present Time 79, April 1990

Present Time 70, January 1988

Present Time 69, October 1987

Present Time 68, July 1987

Present Time 65, October 1986

Present Time 63, April 1986

Present Time 61, October 1985

Present Time 59, April 1985

Present Time 58, January 1985

Present Time 56, July 1984

Present Time 55, April 1984

Present Time 53, October 1983

Present Time 52, July 1983

Present Time 50, January 1983

Present Time 48, July 1982

Present Time 46, January 1982

Present Time 44, July 1981

Present Time 41, October 1980

 Present Time 40, July 1980

Present Time 39, April 1980

Present Time 37, October 1979

Present Time 36, July 1979

Present Time 34, January 1979

Present Time 31, April 1978

Present Time 29, October 1977

Present Time 24, July 1976

Last modified: 2023-12-07 00:18:59+00