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The Importance of RC Communities

A talk by Tim Jackins at the Pre-World Conference for South America, Central America, Mexico, and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 2001

Those of us here have a good picture of how powerful Re-evaluation Counseling can be. We know that we can change our lives. We know that we can change anyone’s life. We can change our families. We can change the way our towns work. We intend to change the way society works—and I think we will.

To do these things we have to keep getting better at Co-Counseling. Every one of us has to improve. I know you get better every year, and I think I do, too.

Over the years we have gained an understanding of what helps people become increasingly effective Co-Counselors.

It is very difficult to get better by ourselves If we have a Co-Counselor, we can make good progress. If we have five, we can make better progress. If we have a Community of thirty around us, we can make excellent progress. Even though we may only counsel with five of them, we have thirty minds thinking about how to make things work, and all of our Co-Counselors have that resource around them. A Community gives us access to what other people in RC have already figured out.

We need to think about and discuss how to build an RC Community around ourselves. We can take RC ideas and use them in other places and organizations, but this doesn’t replace the need for an RC Community. A Co-Counseling Community is the place where we can develop the most. RC Communities are dedicated to figuring out Co-Counseling. We can take the tools we develop in our Communities out into other organizations. But these organizations don’t develop these tools because they have other agendas.

We need RC Communities. The consistent growth and effectiveness of individual Co-Counselors seem to depend on having a Community around them.

Hundreds of RC Communities have been started, and many of these have collapsed. We don’t yet know all we need to know about building RC Communities. However, it’s clear that for a Community to do well at least a few people must be dedicated to building relationships in that Community, and the better these relationships are, the safer people feel to work on difficult things.

A Co-Counseling relationship is a unique relationship. We have tried to define it carefully. What isn’t always made clear is that this relationship will be one of the most important relationships in our lives. There are people I have Co-Counseled with for thirty years. I love them dearly. I know what their lives are like. I know the distresses they struggle with, and I am dedicated to staying with them as they fight through those distresses. We can care that much about each other. We can work that hard for each other and for each other’s liberation and re-emergence. How do we build relationships that are that good? Simply having a session usually doesn’t do it. We need to have many sessions with someone, and have additional people to have sessions with. We need to be involved with each other in an ongoing fashion in an RC Community.

We know we need to teach people in fundamentals classes. People generally stay in these classes for up to sixteen weeks, but for many, that is not long enough to contradict thirty, forty, or fifty years of isolation. When the class is over and there’s no class to come to the next week, many people can’t tell that we still want them with us because we haven’t set up anything else for them to attend.

In 1970 I started building an RC Community where I live. I taught a lot of classes. Out of that work came four Regions with seventeen Areas. To keep people involved, I kept them in fundamentals classes for two years. I asked the experienced people to come back and take fundamentals to help the new people. They got to think about teaching without having to teach. They got to counsel with new people. They got new Co-Counselors, too. (You can never have too many people paying attention to you, however experienced or inexperienced they are.)

I started additional classes for people who’d taken two years of fundamentals. In those classes I talked about theory, often the same theory, but I tried to talk about it in more detail. I counseled each person on what I talked about, so that everyone got to see the others working on their distresses. (You know how much better you can understand people when you’ve seen them working on their distresses.) A number of these people from the early 1970’s are still active in RC. Several International Liberation Reference Persons came from these beginnings.

We learned something from staying together that much: Co-Counseling made sense to us in a deep way.

A Community works well and grows when it is an active Community. It needs to have ongoing activities that everyone can be a part of, so that no one is left just having sessions. You can have a gathering once a month, invite everyone to come, get the Co-Counseling pairs up front, and ask each person how his or her Co-Counseling is going—what has been going well, and where he or she is confused. Being able to talk about sessions with others listening will let people figure out many things.

We run into lots of difficulties when we build RC Communities. All sorts of distresses get in the way. Some of our distresses have us not liking each other much, so sometimes Communities split: my people go with me, your people go with you, and everybody has to choose sides. That’s a mistake, of course. People are simply restimulated. The Community doesn’t have to choose sides. The two people have to face their distresses about each other. The bravest RCer in the Community arranges a three-way session with the two antagonists. He or she brings the two people together and makes them work on what gets in their way of having a good relationship. If that doesn’t work, you ask for help from someone else. You call your Reference Person, or you send me a note and I will send someone to help. You don’t let difficulties just sit there. They are simply distresses, and you don’t have to respect them.

Communities work well when we find ways to keep people in contact with each other. The stronger our Communities are, the better our sessions will go. When one of us moves ahead, soon the others will, too. The more people we have around us, the further we each get, and the further we all get.

Before we leave tomorrow, there will be time to sit down with each other for fifteen or twenty minutes and think about what each of us would like to do in his or her Community. The International Community is going to provide more resource than it has before. It will be easier for you to know that there are other people with you. Some of the resource people who came here with me will phone you occasionally. They will ask how things are going and offer you a fifteen-minute phone session. This is an opportunity to ask questions, to tell how hopeless you feel, or to confess that you are the only Co-Counselor left within five hundred kilometers—everyone else has run away. (In several places an RC Community has failed two or three times but there is now a large, strong Community.)

That we don’t know everything and that we make mistakes doesn’t mean we should stop. It might mean we should get a few sessions before we start again. You have good minds and can figure out how to make things work. You can always write me with your questions.

Our job is to build close relationships and to make sure that everyone has somewhere to go in our Communities, without a long pause. We need to make sure people are not left on their own, that there is a class they can be in or a gather-in every month they can go to. This way, the Community works as a Community of everyone—not just a few people in classes with a bunch of people around the edge.

Our distresses are such that if we are too separate, we forget that anybody cares about us. If we are on our own for very long, we often don’t know how to come back—we are so used to being isolated. We have to remember this as we build our Communities. It’s easy to feel irritated when someone doesn’t come back, but we have to remember that there is a reason people don’t come back, and try to figure out what we can do to make it possible for them. People never really want to go away, but often they can’t figure out how to stay because they get restimulated. They get upset with one person, or they get restimulated by someone’s session, or something hard happens in their lives and they can’t remember anything. We don’t want to leave people alone at those times, even though they are acting like they want to be alone.

Experienced Co-Counselors can make an agreement with each other. I have this agreement with a few people. Many years ago I told them that I never want to leave the RC project, no matter what, and that if I ever get so restimulated that I wander away, they have to promise to come after me—even if I tell them not to, even if I am mad at them, even if I throw things at them. They mustn’t believe the distress I am stuck in. I can tell them now that I will not want to be stuck there, but if it happens, I won’t know how to get out by myself. They have made a commitment to not give up on me and to keep coming after me, and I have promised to do the same for them. We can commit ourselves to each other, no matter what our distresses have us doing at a given moment. We all get restimulated and do strange things, and most of them involve pushing people away.

We have to be more committed to each other than to stay away when somebody is in trouble. When we get to that point of commitment within a Community, things become solid. We start thinking more clearly about each other and how to help each other fight through distresses. We go to sessions intending to counsel people through their distresses, which is more than just sitting and listening to them. It’s standing right beside them in their struggles.

 


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