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How a Guideline Is Changed or Formed 

The first Guidelines for the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities1 were adopted at the first World Conference, in 1972. They have been updated at every World Conference since then, as required by the Guidelines. Here is the process for adding a new Guideline or changing an existing Guideline:

When an RCer gets an idea for a new Guideline or an improvement to an existing one, we ask that she or he first have sessions about the idea. Because the Guidelines often contradict distress, the “idea” may be based in undischarged distress. We also ask that the person discuss the idea with a local RC leader (RC teacher or Reference Person). Many of the proposed changes we receive are based on a lack of information about the Guidelines or a misunderstanding of a particular Guideline. Still, any RCer can put forth a proposal at any time and it will be considered. (And many changes are made to the Guidelines every four years.)

The proposal can be sent either to the International Reference Person (IRP) or to the appropriate Pre-World Conference.

All RCers attending the ten Pre-World Conferences meet in Guidelines groups in which they make proposals for new Guidelines or for changes to the existing ones. They may or may not discuss any individual proposal, but all the proposals are written up in the notes of the meetings and forwarded to the IRP and the Alternate International Reference Person (AIRP).

The AIRP organizes the proposals from all of the Pre-Worlds (by the section of the Guidelines they relate to). Then the IRP and the AIRP review each proposal and decide whether it should be

• recommended to the Guidelines Advisory Committee for consideration,

• set aside for inclusion in the Community Builder’s Manual (a publication in the works2), or

• rejected as redundant or inappropriate for the Guidelines.

All of the proposals (organized by section of the Guidelines) are then sent to the Guidelines Advisory Committee (an international and diverse group of RC leaders), along with the recommendations of the IRP and the AIRP.

The people on the Guidelines Advisory Committee (GAC) review and discuss the proposals over a two-month period via e-mail and three two-hour conference calls. First they make recommendations regarding each of the proposals to the IRP and the AIRP. After the IRP and AIRP review their recommendations, and perhaps add their own recommendations, the existing Guidelines are marked up to show how the proposed changes could be incorporated. Language to be deleted has a red line drawn through it. Language to be added is written in red and underlined. This marked-up document is sent back to the GAC, which reviews it in a second round of discussion and comment. The document is circulated like this many times and goes through many revisions during the two months.

If the GAC and the IRP agree on a proposal, it moves forward in the agreed-upon form to the World Conference. If they disagree, discussion continues until time runs out (the World Conference is usually six weeks after the last Pre-World). Every disputed Guidelines proposal receives at least two rounds of communication between the GAC and the IRP. A number of the proposals have a significant amount of work done on them by subcommittees of the GAC. If there is no agreement after two or more rounds of discussion, a best-possible draft of the disputed proposal moves forward to the World Conference.

Our goal is to finish this process approximately two weeks before the World Conference, to allow time for translation of the proposals3 and to give RCers coming to the conference time to read and discharge about the proposals in advance.

Leaders coming to the World Conference are expected to read all the proposals before arriving. At the World Conference itself, they meet in two small-group (six-person) meetings in which they review the proposals and suggest new ones. Comments from these groups are collected. Then the AIRP and a sub-group of the Guidelines Advisory Committee work through the day and night to organize all the proposals into one document. That document is reviewed with the IRP the next morning. Then a new document of proposed changes to the Guidelines is drafted based on the small groups’ input as reviewed by the IRP. The new document is distributed to the World Conference at noon. People are given an hour and a half to review it. Then the IRP leads the conference as a whole through a review of each proposal. The Guideline under discussion is illuminated on a large overhead screen.

For each proposed change, the IRP first asks whether it can be accepted without comment. (At this World Conference, about half the proposed changes were accepted without comment.) If anyone has a comment, that person is given a microphone and speaks to the conference as a whole. Everyone with a comment who raises her or his hand has an opportunity to speak.

During this review, many changes may be made to the proposal. The IRP asks if the Guideline can be accepted as amended. Sometimes it takes several passes, but usually the Guideline as amended is accepted. (This year we could not reach consensus on about ten of the Guidelines, because we ran out of time. Tim4 asked the conference if it could agree to send those Guidelines to committee for final revisions with the committee being instructed to take into consideration the concerns expressed at the conference. The conference agreed, and the process was finished a month after the World Conference ended.)

The Guidelines are then edited by a group of people to make them easier to read while retaining content.

The final version of this year’s Guidelines should be available shortly, in print and on the RC website.

Diane Shisk
Alternate International Reference Person
Seattle, Washington, USA


1 The policies for the RC Communities
2 “In the works” means being created.
3 The Guidelines proposals are translated into a number of languages for the non-English-speaking delegates to the World Conference. Guidelines completed earlier in the process are sent to the translators at that time, so the translators have about three weeks to translate the first half of the Guidelines proposals and then two weeks to translate the rest.
4 Tim Jackins

 


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