Opportunity to Expand Your Life Through a Re-evaluation Counselling Course

  Joan Mobey of the Sydney, New South Wales, Australia RC Community is a member of the Post-Polio Network, an organisation of people who have a range of disabilities traceable back to childhood poliomyelitis. She has been leading a support group for them for some years. She recently wrote the following article to go in the Network newsletter, as a way of recruiting an RC fundamentals class.

This opportunity to learn Re-evaluation Counselling (RC) should attract smart, effective people.

I have been involved with this movement for fifteen years and have been a teacher of its fundamental practice and theory for about twelve years. This involvement has made a tremendous difference to my life, and I would like to give other polio survivors the opportunity to share this experience.

RC (or Co-Counselling) is a grass-roots movement that began in Seattle, Washington, USA approximately fifty years ago and has now spread to over eighty countries. Some countries have just a few Co-Counsellors, while in others there are thriving Communities. Australia is in the latter category. In Sydney there is a Co-Counselling Community of more than two hundred people. You may wonder why you have never heard of Re-evaluation Counselling before. In the past we have kept a low profile and the Community has grown by word of mouth. Now we feel it is the right time to have a more public presence and to share our theory and practice more widely.

Let me tell you some things that RC is not. It is not a New Age movement and is not part of, or a substitute for, the "mental health" system. It will not cure the physical effects of post-polio nor be able to provide information about treatments and aids (we are fortunate to have the Network to fulfill this role). If you accept my offer, you will not become a professional counsellor. You need no academic qualifications to become an excellent Co-Counsellor.

RC empowers people to take up their current challenges, broaden their horizons, and enrich all of their experiences. It may well lessen the fatigue that we suffer by freeing us of the tension from old polio memories. It may also help with that part of the fatigue which is physically based, by making it easier for us to be more sensible about pacing ourselves. RC can be a means to improve our ability to deal flexibly with (among other things) the many frustrations of the late effects of polio. If a number of Network members and our friends take it on, we could set up a special network of support for each other in which the telephone could play a key role. Those who choose to become involved in the larger RC Community would have access to a wide variety of Co-Counsellors of different ages and life situations. There is no charge for individual Co-Counselling sessions.

In a fundamentals class there are two roles to be learned: the role of client and the role of counsellor. Each role informs the other. It is not possible to be a Re-evaluation Counselling counsellor without also engaging in depth in the process of being a client.

An RC counsellor needs knowledge of the theory, but the greatest tool a counsellor can have is a growing freedom from the rigidities that hamper his or her ability to be awarely there for another person and to respond spontaneously and appropriately.

Knowledge of the theory is also important for the client, enabling him or her to work effectively when it is his or her turn. In a session, both people work together as collaborating peers.

Through RC we are able to free ourselves from our rigidities by natural processes, including laughter, shaking, tears, and talking without interruption. Polio survivors have generally been strongly conditioned to manage our feelings without releasing them, and no good can come of trying to force release. The class would start off very simply, just by talking about ourselves and our lives while others listen awarely and without interruption. This process would deepen naturally as trust was built up, inhibitions dropped, and knowledge of the theory expanded and deepened through reading, thinking, and talking.

Being a Re-evaluation Counsellor does not mean keeping our attention focused on the difficult experiences of the past or the present. It does mean getting on with our lives with our attention on the goodness of people and the beauty in the world around us while having agreed-upon times to clear away the hurts of the past. If I receive a response to this article, I will present an introductory lecture after which people can make a decision as to whether or not they want to continue.

Joan Mobey
Glebe, New South Wales, Australia

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