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Family Work at a Community Workshop

This past year my Area1 Reference Person, Gregg Wagner, seized an opportunity to do family work2 at our Community workshop. It was an interesting and useful experiment and a huge success from my perspective.

Two infants came with their parents to the workshop. They were there to make it possible for their parents to attend. One infant (a two-month-old) came for the day on Saturday with her mom (who is in Co-Counseling) and her dad (who has done a fundamentals class but is currently not in RC). The other young person (about eleven months old) came for the whole weekend with her mom and dad, both of whom are currently in our RC Community.

We had done something like that before. What was unusual this time was that Gregg devoted a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon to a playday.3 In the midst of working on our relationships with each other, battling racism and sexism and anti-Jewish oppression, thinking about our GLBTQ4 constituency, and taking on5 issues of class, we got to put our minds behind the two young people in our midst. And of course when we did that, all those other things got tackled too. It jiggled them all and made working on them more possible.

In our Community there is a wide range of experience with family work, and even the two families had different pictures of what it is and why we do it. So this was a daring experiment on Gregg’s part.

I thought it was hugely successful. It gave us an opportunity to experience family work in the midst of a Community workshop. We got to try something new with our home base, the people in Co-Counseling whom we are closest to, in a situation in which our core chronic material6 was up in our faces.7

For some it was their first taste ever of family work. What a great way to be introduced to it! The dad who is not currently in RC was willing and even pleased to participate. He has relationships with several of us and had done a fundamentals class, all of which made it possible for him to be included. Others of us who are more “experienced” got to push ourselves in new ways, reach for these families where they were at, and get a better picture of what the struggles were.

There were definitely lots of feelings. Some people got a clearer picture of their own early material. Some were just upset and rattled and didn’t know why. All the feelings were good.

On Saturday evening, Gregg did a go ’round8 and everyone got to share what the experience had been like for them. That was super useful too.

It was great to try this at a Community workshop, to put everything aside and stretch ourselves to really think about two young people and their parents. For me, it made anything and everything feel possible.

Rachel Landsberg
New York, New York, USA
Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion
list for leaders of family work


1 An Area is a local RC Community.
2 Family work is the application of Re-evaluation Counseling to the particular situations of young people, and families with young children. It entails young people and adults (both parents and allies) interacting in ways that allow young people to show and be themselves, and not be dominated by the adults.
3 A “playday” is a several-hour workshop that includes time for children to do whatever safe activities they want to do, with the encouragement and appreciation of the adults present, and to discharge if they wish. It also includes discharge time for the adults.
4 Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer
5 “Taking on” means facing and doing something about.
6 “Material” means distress.
7 “Up in our faces” means being acutely felt.
8 “Did a go ’round” means had each person take a turn.


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