Gradually Understanding Chronic Patterns

Harvey Jackins, at a workshop at Buck Creek Camp, in Washington, USA, August 1971

It took two and a half years before we got a clear picture that the distress turns off the thinker and the information freezes and becomes a compulsive recording.1 It took about four and a half or five years before we understood the difference between an intermittent and a chronic pattern.

Permissive counseling and warm attention are sufficient for an intermittent pattern. Clients will always hold up2 such a pattern and start discharging on it. They don’t have much trouble getting outside it.

With “heavy” patterns, we were having great success with some and, right alongside of that, discouraging failure with others. We didn’t yet know they were chronic; we saw them as “heavy” patterns. We didn’t have any awareness that just the counseling situation was enough to contradict one chronic pattern while another took grabbing the client by the throat3 and saying, “No, you’re not going to do that; you’re going to do this,” in order to interrupt it and get discharge.


1 Distress recording
2 “Hold up” means voluntarily expose to counseling.
3 “Grabbing the client by the throat” means firmly and insistently getting the client’s attention.


Last modified: 2017-04-06 16:01:36-07