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The following three articles are from a conversation on the e-mail discussion list for RC teachers.

Resistance to Discharge

Jeg har forsøkt å lære parsamtale til en av mine kollegaer i 6 mnd. Hun har stor motstand mot alle former for utladning, og vil helst lukke alle følelsene ned. Hun har for tiden problemer i sin relasjon med en mann. Vi hadde et treff i går der jeg forsøkte å klargjøre at grunnen til at hun er så sårbar for det som skjer er noe som skjedde når hun var liten. Hun fikk tid av meg på dette, og utladet med tårer. I dag sier hun at hun ikke hadde sovet hele natten, og at hun følte at jeg presset henne til å åpne opp noe som hun har lukket ned og ikke er klar til å se på. Hun skaffer seg nå sovetabletter

Hun vil likevel fortsette å komme til meg for å lære parsamtale, og hun kommer neste gang om 1 uke. Jeg ønsker å gjøre det som er nyttig, og tar veldig gjerne imot ideer.

Brita Helleborg
Porsgrunn, Norge

I have tried to teach RC to a colleague for six months. She has great resistance to all forms of discharge and tries all the time to close all feelings down. She currently has problems with a relationship with a man. She and I met yesterday, and I tried to clarify that the reason she was so vulnerable was that something happened when she was little. I gave her time on this,* and she cried. Today she told me that she did not sleep all night and that I had pressed her to open up something she was not ready to open up. She has decided to get sleeping pills.

Nevertheless, she wants to continue to learn RC with me, and in a week we will meet again. I want to do what is useful and will be glad for any ideas.

Brita Helleborg 
Porsgrunn, Norway
Translated by Brita Helleborg

* “Gave her time on this” means spent time listening to her about this. 

Frightened of Feelings 

Hi Brita,

Thank you for this question. Your friend is lucky to have you on her side.

Early on in RC, I needed to work through heavy distresses that surfaced quickly when there was attention. I’ve also counseled people who’ve been in a similar situation. I’d like to share some of my thoughts.

It seems to me that your friend has an occluded memory or memories and has understandably suppressed the associated feelings. It may have been a useful survival strategy in the absence of anyone who could help her with the feelings. But apparently her mind is no longer settling for that. She may have outgrown the survival pattern’s usefulness. 

Sometimes our minds don’t cooperate with our control patterns1 and insist on bringing up the feelings instead—a healing crisis, in other words. This can be scary and confusing to clients who are feeling things they may not even remember.

When people are working on feelings from an occluded incident and are frightened of facing them, I have tried several things:

1. I have counseled them very lightly. 

Laughter will release pressure and get the discharge process rolling. It is also in itself a discharge of fear and terror.

If you can’t be light with your friend and laugh together with her, you might need to work on discharging terror yourself and have sessions on working lightly.

Once in an Intensive2 in Seattle, the staff had me take the direction “I’m never, never, ever, ever going to look at this again! Ever!” I would say it in as exaggerated a tone as I could, and the counselor would say it with me, delightedly and lightly. Then we would laugh and laugh. I used that direction for hours. Whenever I wanted to stop, the counselor would gently and firmly require me to say it again, and I would keep discharging. 

A client may come up against some early defeat that is part of the distress recording and want to surrender and sink back into despair. That is why the counselor must hold a light tone and be delightedly outside of the client’s restimulation. 

Harvey3 used to have the client repeat after him, while copying his facial expression and wonderfully cheerful tone, “I’m terrified!” and the client would melt into giggles and laughter and sweat. He always said that the pattern could not stand4 any deviation from it, including in facial expression or tone of voice. 

Discharging this way for many hours can also help clients build the mental “muscle” they need to keep from sinking into the pseudo-reality of the pattern. 

2. I have offered perspective. 

I have tried, in short conversations that aren’t too overwhelming, to offer perspective. (New Co-Counselors may need a foundation for it, so I make sure that they are reading the RC fundamentals books and that I’m teaching them how to both client and counsel.) A perspective can give clients a framework to work within and point them toward reality so they don’t get lost in restimulation. It can also help them to not just rely on others to counsel them but to have the discharge process fully for themselves.

3. I’ve provided lots of warmth, kindness, and physical closeness. 

Most of us have a terrible sense of having been badly hurt and then left alone to handle the damage. Physical contact can allow a person to finally let go and discharge. I sometimes have clients lean against my shoulder or put their head against mine. 

4. I’ve encouraged lots of discharge. 

When a memory is unoccluding, clients need lots of discharge along with the reassurance of human closeness. And after a long or heavy session, it’s important to spend time helping them get their attention out onto present-time benign reality.

5. I’ve helped people set up their lives as a contradiction to the recording5 they are working on.

People need to be active, connected, and self-affirming. I’ve encouraged eating well, meals with friends, reading upward-trend poetry,6 singing, looking at art, and so on. 

6. I’ve gotten resource for myself. 

It’s wonderful to be a resource for people, but it can’t be one-way forever. And teaching people to pay attention back will actually help them a lot, too. I’ve also gotten other Co-Counselors to offer mini-sessions, phone sessions, in-person sessions. 

I hope this helps. 

Good luck!

Mike Ishii
Sunnyside, New York, USA 

1 A control pattern is a rigid behavior a person develops to keep from discharging.
2 An Intensive is twenty hours of one-way Re-evaluation Counseling, for a fee, at Re-evaluation Counseling Community Resources, in Seattle, Washington, USA.
3 Harvey Jackins
4 “Stand” means tolerate.
5 Distress recording 
6 “Upward-trend poetry” means poetry that reflects the upward trend in the universe—the trend toward order, meaning, integration.

Discharge Will Come in Time

I find that one of the most important things with heavy control patterns is to reassure people that discharge will come in time1 and that I am happy to be with them and hear their story, even if they can’t quite get to the discharge in the way they think they should.

One member of my Community did not discharge very hard for three years. She felt terrible about it, but we all kept telling her that we were sure she would discharge eventually. While we did this, we kept trying to understand better how to counsel her and what contradictions2 would work best. 

I suggested that the most important thing was to stay close to her and notice our feelings as counselor. I had to discharge feelings of “I must not be so good a counselor after all” and commit to “Step 0”3: remembering her goodness and intelligence. After three years or so of this, she finally had a big release and has been discharging nicely since. 

My own experience is that a client eventually recovers the discharge process if I as counselor can stay relaxed and light when it does not happen, let the person know that I trust the process even if it takes a while, and stay warm and close enough that the person does not leave.

That being said, I don’t know if any of us have fully recovered our natural discharge process. All the Co-Counselors I know discharge  in sessions sometimes, not every single time. 

Emmy Rainwalker
Dorchester Center,
Massachusetts, USA

1 “In time” means eventually.
2 Contradictions to the distress
3 “Step 0” is the first of four steps that Harvey Jackins said a counselor should take in preparation for a counseling session. In Step 0, the counselor reminds himself or herself that “the client is inherently a person of great intelligence, value, decisiveness, and power . . . [and] notices and remembers where this particular client is capable, treasurable, and already functioning, or close to functioning, elegantly and well.”  

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