Claiming Our Full, Common Humanity

The Family Life Workshop, led by Louisa Flander,1 in Melbourne (Victoria, Australia), gave me more appreciation for my decision not to have children. The allies’ class helped me see that society pits parents and non-parents against one another. We are all good. And it’s good to have a place to say, in detail, how we are treated differently. My mind really engaged with the idea that if I claim my whole humanity and my full capacity to love, then I am taking a stand against the oppressive society.

Vicky Grosser
Geelong, Victoria, Australia


 “People are not their patterns.” What does that mean to me? It means that all the patterns I struggle with I can escape from. Some of them have come from individual hurts and some from oppression. It doesn't matter where they’ve come from; I am not beholden to them. For example, I could give up being defensive!

Dennis Wollersheim
Rosanna, Victoria, Australia


 We were reminded, in the context of male domination and sexism, that men are not bad and women are not bad. We are not our distresses. The problem is with the oppressive society. My highlight was the flash of understanding that, equally, Gentiles are not bad and Jews are not bad; white people are not bad and people of the global majority are not bad. In that moment I could see how much I still believe that we are to blame in each of our roles. Suddenly, in a flash, the whole world looked different and I could see our common humanity. How relaxing, joyous, and easeful.

Karen Rosauer
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 


The workshop gave me a chance to learn anew the basic and beautiful idea that is Co-Counselling. As client I can put my mind on the person who is with me paying attention to me. I can use my intelligence to discharge on my early life, with the clear knowledge that I have a rich and interesting present and, despite the hurts, a rich and interesting past. Many people were available to me in the past. I can discharge by remembering that, and noticing my own power and connection over time despite the oppressive society. I want my brain, my flexible thinking. I can get it by showing up2in my sessions and noticing I am not alone now. As counselor, I can show up and be with my clients.

Victoria Kemp
Thornbury, Victoria, Australia


Now that I know that I am not my patterns, and that I have a group of people who know me deeply and remember that I am not my patterns, I can love myself with more abandon; I can be completely forgiven for my difficulties; I can discharge my distresses with something like the spontaneity and resilience of a young baby; and I have the freedom to be part of the human party, with renewed joy and compassion.

Giving special time3 has always been a useful reminder of the goodness and blamelessness of people. Providing intelligent attention gives people the space to play their way free of the distresses they carry. Young people who grow in an environment in which they get this kind of attention can be unburdened of the guilt and the habit of blaming that has retarded my own progress.

Stephen Costello
Thornbury, Victoria, Australia


Two ideas stand out:

  • It’s important to take a stand of seeing the complete humanity, intelligence, and lovingness of every person of every identity. Re-evaluation Counseling theory is clear that identities are not basic reality, but if everyone agrees with the oppressive society that they are, then they get seen that way. If we insist on the humanity within every person of every identity, it changes everything and we are using our whole minds. What an awesome and fun way to push back against oppression.
  • The role of grandparents around grandchildren is to be the person whom they get to have fun with (this idea came from Dottie Curry4. I do not have children, so I will not get to be a grandparent. But I do get to hang out5 with young people, and the idea that my role is to be the person they get to have fun with is an exciting shift. It will push me out of the “job” of being an ally into being completely human with every young person in my life.

Anne Barton
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Reprinted from the newsletter of the Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, RC Community 


1Louisa Flander is the Area Reference Person for the Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, RC Community.
“Showing up” means really being present.
“Special time” is an activity, developed in RC family work, during which an adult puts a young person in full charge of their mutual relationship, as far as the young person can think. For a specific period of time, the adult lets the young person know that he or she is willing to do anything the young person wants to do. The adult focuses his or her entire attention on the young person and follows his or her lead, whether the young person tells, or simply shows, the adult what she or he wants to do. Adults can also give “special time” to each other, following these general guidelines.
4Dottie Curry was an International Liberation Reference Person for Elders. She died on March 10, 2012.
5“Hang out” means spend relaxed, unstructured time.


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00