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"Mental Health" Liberation Is for Everyone

A current goal of the RC Community is to go public with RC. One reason this may seem difficult is "mental health" system oppression.

We may fear telling our friends that we use this powerful and innately human resource because the word "counselling" has all sorts of wrong ideas attached to it. There is nothing inherently wrong with the word "counselling," and the awkwardness we feel when we use it can be discharged. We can take this awkwardness to a session and discharge so that we can be completely open and delighted about what is so important to us and what we are using to make the world right: Re-evaluation Counselling. Human beings listening to each other-that's it really. Not a bad idea, is it? Say loudly and proudly in a session, "I do Re-evaluation Counselling!" until every drop of shame, embarrassment, and fear melts away. We do not need to be timid about what we do. Only some internalised "mental health" system oppression stands in the way of us living in the world of our dreams.

I would like to see all RCers everywhere discharging internalised "mental health" system oppression. "Mental health" liberation is not an issue within RC-it is the issue. The reason we need to do RC at all is that we have had our discharge process interfered with repeatedly and so have accumulated hurts which have become patterns. That our discharge was ever stopped was "mental health" system oppression. Discharge on what you need to to regain the discharge process and you are working on the basis of all your patterns-when this crumbles, the patterns cannot be supported and will fall away, too.

I lead a "mental health" system survivors' support group. I invite you to trust my thinking about the above, and if you distrust it because I am a survivor, I encourage you to discharge that, whether you are another survivor or an ally.

"Mental health" system oppression affects us all. Effective allies to "mental health" system survivors know that the way to end "mental health" system oppression is by discharging all their own terror of "losing their mind" or being punished by the system, not by trying to "help" survivors. Survivors do not need this kind of help. Survivors are people who resisted the oppression and then were caught by the system-there is nothing "wrong" with us. As you trust our thinking around "mental health" liberation, you are supporting our leadership in a significant way.

There will be an International "Mental Health" System Survivors Leaders' Conference in April in London, led by Janet Foner and organized by Jim Read. Take a session on what might get in the way of you being there as a survivor. Many survivors think they are "not enough of a survivor" to do the work. Many feel they don't deserve attention now for all the times when they most needed it in the past. That is internalised oppression.

Making the RC process a part of our daily lives, integrating our re-emergence into our daily activities, depends on us allowing ourselves to have feelings. We have been told that we have to "cope" and "get on with things," which amounts to putting up with an oppressive society. In RC we know that if we feel and discharge then we think clearly again, and because we are thinking clearly we come up with great new ideas for how to make society a better place.

RC is not a "therapy"; it is not about learning how to "cope." Any ideas that it might be are messages from "mental health" system oppression. The way to feel better, as well as to think better, is to let ourselves have our feelings in the first place, not to wish feelings away.

Using RC well as a counsellor means not carrying over oppressive practices from therapy-like commenting on our clients' distresses, taking over their sessions, thinking that we know what's best for them. Our primary job as counsellor is to assist our beloved client to discharge. If we have not discharged on the ways in which we have had to learn to "cope with" our own feelings and to function despite them, we will act to pacify our clients rather than letting them feel everything fully. Discharging on "mental health" system oppression can make clear the difference between oppressive counselling and decisive counselling. I encourage you to go to or set up a survivors' support group, or if you are an ally, to go to or set up an allies' support group.

Using RC well as a client means discharging fully in session. I think it also means being free to notice that we have feelings all the time, every day, and not being compelled to switch them all off or "pull ourselves together" outside of session. (I think we would look like very unusual creatures to the rest of the world if we appeared never to have any feelings.) Taking all of our feelings to session and never letting any of them show in the rest of our lives reinforces the idea that feelings are unacceptable-a message of the oppressive "mental health" system. On the other hand, indulging every feeling, "dramatizing" them, and stoking them up to fever pitch is another distortion, the other end of the pattern.

"Mental health" system oppression serves capitalism excellently. We are made to give up having our feelings. We are made to hand over being in charge of our minds. Then our feelings and minds can be manipulated by others, in this case by market forces.

Really taking charge of our sessions as clients means that we find ways to discharge what we need to in our own ways, and these ways might look different from anybody's else's. Being afraid of looking different is an effect of internalised "mental health" system oppression. As clients, we need to not worry about whether we look "odd" to our counsellors. Often, the "odder" the better, because then we are more likely to be ourselves.

I have heard others say that "mental health" liberation is frightening. But discharging internalised "mental health" oppression is like discharging any other feelings. Believing it is too scary means believing the oppressive system, which would have us be too frightened to act to change it. Discharging on "mental health" system oppression is a great way to get rid of loads of fear which keeps us in line, conforming to an oppressive society and not being ourselves.

For a while I believed it when people said that my desire to have everyone discharging on "mental health" system oppression was part of my desperation as a survivor. I now recognise their comments as part of the oppression. Because I believed it, I held back, until now, from trusting my own thinking enough to say what I can see needs to happen for us all in order to use RC well. Making discharging on "mental health" system oppression central opens the way for us to be able to reach out into the world and offer what we know, delightedly and unreservedly, to others. I thank Janet Foner for encouraging me to write this up and by doing so providing a great contradiction to some of my internalised distress.

Susan Diab
Hove, East Sussex, England

(Present Time No. 110, January 1998)

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