"Mr. Testimonial Man"

During the recent Georgia-Florida Teachers' and Leaders' Workshop, I had the privilege of leading an exuberant, laughter-filled topic table on a technique to discharge the difficulties in taking RC into the wide world. Many of us expressed frustration at not being able to talk to others about RC in a way that we can be easily heard. If we can see how useful the process is, then why oh why can't everyone else? What's the problem? Why can't we all be like honey to flies?

The idea for the technique began with a session I had with another physician. We were working on distress around bringing more physicians into RC, and he came up with the idea of a testifying preacher, which I now call "Mr. Testimonial Man." In a very earnest tone he began to enlighten me on the benefits of RC. He laughed and laughed and shook and reported being sweaty and hot. I noticed I had a similar reaction and proceeded to use the same technique in my session, with his permission, modifying the dialog to my liking. I've continued to use it in my own sessions with consistently strong discharge. I've also successfully adapted it as a direction for others, having them choose their own context.

So, it seemed like just the thing to introduce to this topic table.

First we discussed how this particular issue touches directly on a chronic distress for many of usñthat of wanting our parents and those around us when we were growing up to know how to treat us. When we carry this distress-based urgency about wanting others to "do RC right now!" people can smell it on us and it makes them run away. If we work on the pattern that laid in the distress, then we won't give off that "odor of desperation." Just like so many other things in RC, finding a good way to discharge on this issue promotes our own re-emergence while simultaneously helping us become more effective in talking to people about things that are near and dear to our hearts.

So, to start each member thinking about his or her direction, I asked them to state their religious background. We had a very diverse group-Jewish, Quaker, Southern Baptist, Unitarian, someone without formal religious upbringing who attended a Christian Fundamentalist school, Presbyterian, and more. Next, I did a short demonstration of "Mr. Testimonial Man" with lots of discharge and laughter from the group. Then I asked them to think about talking to people about RC using the context of their religious upbringing, remembering to exaggerate and play with dialects and speech patterns. I only asked for one or two sentences. It was wonderful what people came up with, but what was even more wonderful was noticing how well and how quickly people were discharging from just one sentence.

Two interesting things that group members did during their turns helped me toward some realizations about why this is so effective. One participant decided that he needed to discharge his feeling that talking about RC makes people think he's trying to enlist them in the Communist Party. His statement started out with, "Comrades, I am here to tell you about a new order called RC," accompanied by much discharge. In another interesting variation, one woman decided to do her statement like a television ad for hemorrhoid cream, "Painful rectal itch? RC is the answer!" We all discharged on that one. What I realized is that there are many places where we get information shoved in our faces about why we should do this or why we need that or how we will not be whole without yet another thing we don't already have. Needless to say, quite a bit of distress builds up from this bombardment, and this build-up gets in our way when we are trying to let someone else know about something we think is good.

The creativity people demonstrated with this method was highly entertaining. One man who was raised Southern Baptist discharged immediately with the words, "Brothers and sisters, come, hear me and learn how to use RC to wash away your sins with the mucous of discharge." He also played with the advertising format and proceeded to do a "commercial" in a rapid monotone: "Welcome to Discharge City, where all 1995 RC specials are priced to move. We're blowin' it out the door at unbelievable discount prices! So come on down to Discharge City! Thousands of locations to serve you." One Jewish participant did a richly-accented Jewish Rabbi exhorting the crowd about having something that was "even better than a bagel, with cream cheese, no less."

People at the topic table were excited about this technique. I found it particularly poignant for those who have moved to communities without RC and been frustrated in getting things started. I love the way this technique is light and playful but gets right in there. And I love being a part of a process that lets me use my creativity and sense of fun in such a useful way.

Cornelia Cho, M.D.
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00