Co-Counseling and Christian Spirituality

There are two ways I could describe the relationship between RC theory and my Christian faith. One is to say that Christian theology has given me a head start toward understanding the philosophical framework of Re-evaluation Counseling. The other is to say that RC has provided me with a bag of practical tools for living out the Christian life.

As a professional Methodist minister and counselor for many years before I encountered RC, I have studied and employed a host of psychological theories: Freud, Adler, Frankl, Jung, Transactional Analysis, Gestalt, and a plethora of the works of pastoral counselors. I've found pieces of truth in all of them. I have also found unnecessary complication and an avoidance of what I see as the central insight of RC-that emotional problems are addressed not primarily through the head, but through the gut. Many therapeutic systems allow for the value of emotional discharge, but it is as if in instructing how to play basketball one said, "It's all right if the ball goes through the basket," when one ought to say, "The point is to get the ball through the basket!" Discharge is not simply an okay ingredient in good counseling. It lies at the heart of good counseling.

RC "dovetails" with my Christian faith more readily than any psychological philosophy or other counseling system. It does not make me choose between sound psychology and Christian theology.

Re-evaluation Counseling is not a religion, nor does it identify with any particular religious tradition. However, RC sounds to me like Christian faith in a different language. Three illustrations stand out for me.

First, in the Book of Genesis our human nature is portrayed as essentially good ("very good," God says at the conclusion of the creation myth). When RC theory says we are all created with intelligence, creativity, and possibilities for compassion, I hear that we are all created in the "image of God." My faith is that that image never dies. When we confront a counseling client, RC never lets us forget that here is the real person.

Second is the story in scripture of what theologians call "the fall." We fail to behave in ways that reflect the goodness and intelligence of our nature. Something stands in the way of our living like the children of God. Re-evaluation Counseling puts its finger on the distress experience. The unprocessed pains of our lives obscure our essential nature and cause us to think and behave otherwise. The Bible calls this "sin." I do not believe that "sin" and "distress" are the same. However, I believe that distress exacerbates our sinful condition and that dealing appropriately with our distress experiences opens us up to the possibility of having our sinful condition amended.

Third, as a Christian, I put heavy stock in the Grace of God as the only source of my healing redemption as a sinner. Re-evaluation Counseling doesn't say anything about this, nor should it. However, this is precisely what I see taking place in a Co-Counseling session. When a Co-Counselor faces his or her client with an attitude of delight, confident that the client can take charge of his or her own life, when the counselor helps the client do battle with patterns that try to trap the client in a false perception of reality, I see the Grace of God in operation. The transformation or re-evaluation that can then take place is not something the client does all alone but is the result of a "partnership." One might say the partnership is with the Co-Counselor. I say it is also with God.

RC is not a religion, and the Christian gospel says more than RC says or should say. However, the anthropology (doctrine of the human) of RC parallels that of the Bible. The objective of RC-to enable people to perceive themselves accurately rather than falsely in a patterned way; to see the way the world could be and to work toward that realization-parallels the image in the New Testament of the Kingdom of God .

I think RC pictures things accurately. I like what Tim Jackins said: "RC is not our invention. It's just our name for the way things are."

Bob Holmes
Helena, Montana, USA

Last modified: 2021-06-01 12:29:59+00