The Counseling Relationship

From a talk by Tim Jackins to a group of young people in January 2001

The counseling relationship is gigantic. You actually get to have each other fully. You get to care with all your heart about each other for the rest of your life. You’ve got fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety years that you get to support each other. You get to cry with each other; you get to encourage each other on into battles; you get to be that fully a part of each other’s lives. It’s a bigger picture of a relationship than any picture society gives you.

In this relationship you get to help each other figure out how to build other big relationships outside of RC, in which you get to do other things. In these other relationships you can take on a particular project together, or figure out how to be fully affectionate, or figure out if you want to have sex together, or have children together, or if you really want to live together every day. You’ve got all those things to figure out. They are not part of a counseling relationship, but your counselor can help you figure them out by helping you fight through all the distresses in your way. You get to be open with your counselor about all the “weird” little things you want—the things you never tell anybody about. You get to see whether those things make sense, and some of them will, or whether they’re really strange,  and some of them are. Some will simply be places that got frozen because of what happened to you.

A Co-Counseling relationship is a picture of one part of what’s possible between people. You get to build that with each other—and with some people it really will be for the rest of your lives. You will have contact with some of us—young and old—for the rest of your lives. Some people here I’ve known for more than half their lives. We trust each other, we can relax with each other, in a way that is unusual in this society. We are together because we’ve done the work to develop these relationships. And that’s possible with everybody.

Counseling doesn’t work unless you build these relationships. If you do, you find ways to make counseling work all over the place. You don’t need to have a lot of contact all the time because the picture stays fresh in your mind.

One way to think about RC is as a way to give people a full chance to be related to each other and understand how close that can be—it’s much closer than we can remember or feel most of the time.

We all want these important relationships. We would do anything we could to have them, including face our distresses (grudgingly, maybe). We’ll probably feel pulled to tell each other how hard it is, but we are willing to listen to each other about this to make it work. Building the closeness in relationships with each other is what makes it all hang together and move forward.

Tim Jackins

International Liberation Reference Person

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