A Very Brief Look at the

History of RC



  1. The Beginnings of RC
  2. Early Literature
  3. The Development of RC Communities
  4. Liberation Work
  5. The RC Communities Today

Togo • Ellie Putnam


The insights that became the theory of Re-evaluation Counseling (RC) came out of an accidental happening in Seattle, Washington, USA. In 1950, Harvey Jackins (who at times in his life was a shipyard worker, building maintenance worker, and labor organizer) agreed to help prevent an acquaintance (M.) from being committed to a mental hospital. During the next few months, Jackins spent time listening to M., mostly without interruption other than to urge him to continue talking. He found that M. would cry, laugh, and shake for hours at a time as he reviewed difficult incidents in his life. M. steadily progressed from a non-functioning, emotionally debilitated state to recovery beyond his former functioning. 

Jackins and a small group of friends and family suspected that something profound had happened. For the next two years they experimented with listening to each other review key incidents in their lives, while permitting and encouraging crying, laughing, and shaking. Reliably, they observed each other thinking and functioning better as what they came to call emotional “discharge” occurred. Jackins approached psychologists and psychiatrists, thinking that they would be better suited to follow up his discoveries, but each time he was rejected. 

After several years of struggling to handle his job and experimenting with "counseling," Jackins quit his job and took up counseling full time. He opened a small office in downtown Seattle and offered one-way counseling under the name of Personal Counselors, Inc. The process began to be called Co-Counseling because it worked well for two people to exchange time listening to each other. In these very early years, Harvey associated with L. Ron Hubbard and others interested in “human growth.” But because of differences in their thinking, collaboration became unworkable, and Harvey Jackins ended their association in the early 1950s.They went their separate ways and L. Ron Hubbard founded the Church of Scientology. RC has had no contact with Dianetics or Scientology since that time. Eventually Harvey named the process of Co-Counseling “Re-evaluation Counseling” (RC), because using this listening process enabled people to have new thoughts after discharge.

Thus the foundation of the theory of Re-evaluation Counseling was developed in the 1950s and 1960s by Harvey and others doing thousands and thousands of hours of one-way and “intensive” (multiple hours in one day or one week) counseling. The theory was built only on what they observed, discarding any previously held assumptions, including any other theories of human behavior. In 1958, Personal Counselors began to hold “classes” in "Personal Re-evaluation Counseling," open to the broader public and taught first by Jackins, and later by others whom he had taught. They gradually expanded their understanding of the reliable outward signs of this natural healing process to include laughing, crying, shaking, yawning, and non-repetitive talking all of which indicate that the discharge and re-evaluation process is taking place.

The early practicioners of RC  found that most people could learn the skills they were developing and that they could usefully exchange counseling time with each other rather than be “one-way” clients. So RC developed primarily as a two way process that people can learn and share.

Classes were held only in Seattle and the surrounding area until 1968, when RC began to spread by word of mouth beyond Seattle. Classes then formed in California, the East Coast of the United States, and England. In July 1970, the first Re-evaluation Counseling workshop was held, led by Jackins, at Buck Creek near Mt. Rainier, Washington. The transcript of that workshop, “Rough Notes from Buck Creek I,” is available from Rational Island Publishers, the publishing arm of Re-evaluation Counseling. In the next few years, Harvey (and to a lesser degree, other RC leaders) began traveling the world, leading RC workshops and seeding the beginnings of RC Communities around the world.

In 2005, Personal Counselors became Re-evaluation Counseling Community Resources, Inc. (RCCR) and functions as resource and support for RC leaders and the International Re-Evaluation Counseling Communities.


In the 1950’s, mimeographed copies of the first principles of Co-Counseling theory were created and handed out in classes. A pamphlet, “The Communication of Important Ideas,” was copied and distributed in 1961. The first book of RC theory, The Human Side of Human Beings, was published in 1965, followed a few years later by the Fundamentals Manual (1970), and in 1973, Jackins's first collected writings: The Human Situation (the articles were previously published as individual pamphlets). In 1970, the monthly newsletter of Personal Counselors was replaced by a quarterly journal of the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities called Present Time, which is still published quarterly.


As the numbers of people involved in RC grew, there emerged a need for an organizational structure that would support growth while maintaining the integrity of RC theory and practice. Guidelines for the RC Community were proposed by Harvey and adopted at a leaders’ workshop in 1972. At the first international Reference Persons’ Workshop in 1973 Jackins was confirmed as the International Reference Person. Regional Coordinating Persons (soon to be called “Regional Reference Persons”) were appointed by Harvey and assigned the primary task of developing and supporting RC leadership in geographical regions around the world. A means of “certifying” teachers was developed and basic agreements for organizing RC classes (and later, the RC Communities) were agreed upon. A percentage of teachers’ class fees (25%) began to be collected in order to establish an “outreach” fund to expand and diversify the RC Communities internationally. 

As groups of Co-Counselors grew and developed leadership, they were organized into “Areas” and an Area Reference Person was chosen to reference Co-Counselors in the Area. The first “World Conference” (convening Co-Counselors from around the world) was held in 1976. World Conferences were held every year or two from 1977 through 1981, and every four years since then.

As RC spread beyond English-speaking countries, basic materials began to be translated by volunteers. Audiotapes and videotapes were produced to facilitate the teaching of RC theory. In 1972, the Re-evaluation Foundation was established to support projects based on the theory and practice of RC.

The Re-evaluation Counseling Community Guidelines continue as a living document and are revisited and revised every four years through the RC World Conference processes. The RC Guidelines are available on the RC website: www.rc.org.


The first RC “liberation” workshops were held in the spring of 1975. Co-Counselors of African, Asian, Latino/a, Chicano/a, and Native American heritage, along with constituencies of women and Jews, set out under Harvey's leadership to explore how discharge and re-evaluation worked on oppression. (The transcript of this workshop and the second liberation workshop are published by Rational Island Publishers as Rough Notes from Liberation I and II.) Theory on oppression and internalized oppression developed rapidly from that point, and RC began to be organized by constituency as well as geographically. As constituencies have grown, leadership has been chosen (an “International Liberation Reference Person” or ILRP), and journals (with articles written by members of that constituency about that constituency) have been published. The first ILRPs—for Black people, Puerto Ricans, Asians, older persons, and Jews, were appointed in 1976. Currently there are ILRPs for twenty-eight constituencies and International Commonality Reference Persons (ICRPs) for the five issue areas of educational change, care of the environment, family work, languages and interpreting, and wide world change.

As the relevance of Re-evaluation Counseling to social change became more and more obvious, workshops on “wide-world change” have been held, a wide world change reference person has been appointed. Three issues of a journal, Wide World Change, as well as the pamphlet, Logical Thinking About a Future Society, have been published.

In 1995, the RC web site www.rc.org and electronic discussion lists (for the leaders of thirty-eight constituencies, for RC Community members, and for people working to end racism) were started. 

In order to move forward our work on our goals to end racism, sexism, and care for the environment, in recent years, RC has had four projects—United to End Racism, No Limits for Women, Sustaining All Life, and Jews and Allies United to End Anti-Semitism.

The main work of United to End Racism (UER) (established in 2001) is to illuminate the damage done to individuals by racism and to undo this damage on an individual basis, using the resources and process of Re-evaluation Counseling. As people do this work, they become better able to interrupt racism in their daily lives, free themselves from all of racism's effects, take leadership, form deep relationships across racial lines, remove racism from our societies’ institutions, and support the work of other individuals and organizations in ending racism. UER examines the racism in our societies’ institutions and encourages its members to become actively aware of it and to find new ways of combating it. More information about UER can be found at the website for this project at www.unitedtoendracism.org.

No Limits for Women (No Limits) (established in 1985) is dedicated to eliminating sexism and male domination throughout the world. The main work of No Limits for Women reveals how women have been damaged by sexism and  helps them assist each other, woman by woman, in recovering fully from the damage. Developing female leadership is a priority of No Limits for Women. Women leaders and their perspectives are crucially needed in order to solve the enormous challenges facing the world today. Using the tools of RC, No Limits for Women offers a system of ongoing mutual support and resource to sustain women's efforts to eliminate sexism and male domination. It is available to women of all cultures, representing all economic and social conditions. No Limits also works with men in partnership to end sexism and male domination. More information about No Limits can be found at www.nolimitsforwomen.net.

The main work of Sustaining All Life (SAL) (established in 2014) is to limit the effects of human-caused climate change and restore the environment—and some big changes are needed if this is to happen. These changes will require a massive movement, spanning the globe, of people from every background. We believe that current barriers to building a sufficiently large and powerful movement include: (1) longstanding divisions (usually caused by oppression, and especially racism and classism) between nations and between groups of people, (2) widespread feelings of discouragement and powerlessness, (3) denial of or failure to engage with the escalating damage to the earth’s climate, and (4) difficulties in effectively addressing the connections between the environmental crisis and the failures of our economic system. The tools of Sustaining All Life are useful in addressing these issues and others. [www.sustainingalllife.org]

Jews and Allies United to End Antisemitism (established in 2018) is a group of people, of all ages and from many countries, working together as Jews and non-Jews to end antisemitism. Key parts of the project are to model that there are allies committed to ending antisemitism, to stop the use of antisemitism to divide progressive movements, and to join with others to make sure that anti-Semitism is included in the work on all oppression issues. Reports on the project’s activities along with information from the pamphlet Anti-Semitism: Why Is It Everyone’s Concern? are at jewsandallies.org.

These projects offer RC theory and RC tools of mutual support and engaged listening. The practice and process frees people from the effects of hurts and oppression. We can also use these tools to remove many of the difficulties of working together. This personal work heals emotional damage and, as a result, people are able to think more clearly about the climate emergency, antisemitism, racism, and sexism, build and strengthen alliances, and fully enjoy working together to set the world right. This healing work also builds courage and stamina and the confidence that we can create a just, sustainable future for everyone.

We encourage people to think about every issue in our efforts to live intelligent lives and transform society to one where all humans can thrive without oppression or exploitation. We put forth our best thinking from our accumulating experience as “draft policies” for the RC Communities, always subject to revision as we gain more experience and our thinking improves through use of the discharge process. No one is required to agree with our policies as a condition of participation in our Communities. We do ask that people not attack or organize against our draft policies or against leaders in the RC Communities. Instead we ask that Co-Counselors use the processes described in our Guidelines for handling disagreements, criticism, and upsets.


In July 1999, at the age of 82, Harvey Jackins died.  Pursuant to the Guidelines, Tim Jackins (then Alternate International Reference Person) became the International Reference Person. Diane Shisk was appointed Alternate International Reference Person. They have resigned (as required in our Guidelines)—and then been reappointed—at each subsequent World Conference (held every four years). In 2022 Diane resigned and Teresa Enrico was appointed Alternate International Reference Person.

Currently there are people Co-Counseling in 93 countries, with 211 organized RC Areas and 1546 RC teachers. Ninety-two Regional Reference Persons assist the International Reference Person in thinking about RC in these countries. Basic RC literature has been translated into forty-two languages. Twenty-eight constituency/issue journals exist, most having published multiple volumes. Harvey published 20 books before his death; the final one was “The List,” subtitled “Everything I Know About Re-evaluation Counseling Until Now.” The quarterly journal Present Time just published issue number 210.

In 1999, we decided that the elimination of racism is the key issue for the International Re-evaluation Counseling Communities. Much work has been done to bring that work into the center of every Co-Counseling Community and to take what we know about ending racism into the wide world. Other goals address the following topics: care of the environment, ending classism, young people and young adults, Indigenous leadership, and growth. The Re-evaluation Foundation, the parent organization to these projects, is an NGO. 

The climate emergency has also been a priority issue for the RC Communities for many years. At the World Conference in 2022, our new Unified Goal on the Climate calls on our Community members to challenge all distresses that prevent us from engaging in the struggle to preserve the world and becoming involved alongside others working on climate change.

For more information about RC, see this FAQ



Last modified: 2023-04-15 09:24:12+00