Re-evaluation co-counseling is a peer counseling system. RC has been very helpful for a lot of people. I consider it to be a “big chunk” tool. It lets you know that tears, thrashing about and shaking are not “bad” but are natural ways the body discharges emotion. I have seen it work miracles. But after RC, I turned to more and more subtle tools… just as a carpenter will at first use a saw, then a rasp, and finer and finer sandpaper, until finally he uses a soft cloth.
RC is usually taught in a small class setting. The first part of the class, theory is presented and the second half, students practice in pairs. That’s what “co-counseling” means — you work with another person who is learning with you. You do not pay. You exchange time and attention. Thanks to the RC organization in Seattle, Washington, this is an excellent step-by-step quick start guide that you can download and print if you wish. This video explains a bit…
The good news is, you do not have to take a class to learn the theory. All you need to know is provided free at the exhaustive RC website. And although it is wonderful to have a good listener to work with, you do not have to have a buddy to do the work. You can do it all by yourself once you understand the principles. Once you realize that all your issues have stemmed from past hurts, you can give yourself the compassionate attention you long for — and deserve.
On the other hand, some people take the same class over and over again because it is fun to learn more and to meet other people interested in healing.
I once knew a young man whose father had treated him brutally as a child. My friend spoke often of his wish for revenge, to the point of killing his father. Yet he was willing to work on his anger. So with me as cheerleader, he pounded with a plastic baseball bat on his bed, yelling obscenities, until he had worked the hatred out of his system. We shared a hearty laugh once he finished pounding. He is a happy, peaceful person now.
Most of us have heard things like:
- “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about!”
- “Don’t you raise your hand to me, young lady!”
And we were never taught how to discharge in a healthy way, so we fear that:
- “If I started crying, I would never stop.”
- “What if I got in touch with my anger and killed someone?”
- “If I felt all that fear, I’d go crazy.”
… and so on. But it’s not true. We can release it all — simply and safely.
RC says that every emotion has a natural form of release:
- Tears release sorrow, disappointment and grief.
- Pounding and kicking and making angry noises discharge anger.
- Shaking is the natural release of fear.
My only reservation about RC is that some practitioners do not actually release the distress, they only dramatize it and dump it. There is a difference.
Predictable steps occur in real discharge:
- pounding/kicking/angry noises
- yawning, sighing and deep breaths
- interested, non-repetitious talking
You can discharge feelings by yourself or if you can find a very kind, compassionate, supportive friend who will encourage you to emote but will not interrupt, that is even better. The only rule is: never do anything to harm yourself or any other person or thing. And, if you live near someone who might be able to hear you, notify them beforehand that you will be making lots of noise but that you are ok. Tell them you are rehearsing for a play if you want.