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Racism and the Collapsing Society, Barbara Love and Tim Jackins, June 7, 2020

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A Believable Contradiction

Question: People are insisting on saying, “I am a wonderful person,” when actually “I’m okay” is bringing the discharge. They say the latter is too much of an understatement and we ought to go for1 the whole thing.

Harvey: A client is doing fine if they’re already discharging on the “okay.” It needs to be believable. I remember when we first started validating ourselves. I would ask people to say, “I’m a wonderful person,” and they would discharge all over the place, one person after the other. So I said to Mary,2 “I want to try this.” And she said, “All right. Say, ‘I’m a wonderful person.’” I said, “I’m a wonderful person,” about ten times. Nothing happened. So I sat there discouraged, and she didn’t have any ideas. Suddenly a thought crossed my mind. I said, “I’m not the worst son of a bitch3 that every lived.” Yawn, yawn, yawn. It was believable. It wants to be4 a believable contradiction.5

Harvey Jackins
From the 1986 Peace and
Disarmament Activists' Workshop


1 “Go for” means try for.
2 Mary McCabe, a key early developer of Re-evaluation Counseling
3 “Son of a bitch” is an oppressive term for an illegitimate child and means an offensive or disagreeable person.
4 “Wants to be” means needs to be.
5 Contradiction to the distress


Last modified: 2020-07-02 14:27:35+00