A DOCUMENTARY HISTORY of the CAREER of HARVEY JACKINS and RE-EVALUATION COUNSELING, A Study of the Origins, Evolution and Prospects of a "Successful" Psychotherapy Cult
Assembled by THE STUDY GROUP ON PSYCHOTHERAPY CULTS
(This is a transcription of documents and articles from the Documentary History. Editorial comments from the original booklet are in square brackets.)
You begin by saying "Id like to give my perspective on some of the confusion surrounding recent attacks on Harvey." We think it is important at the outset to be clear about the difference between "attacking" someone and discussing that persons theories and methods. It is very important that people discharge their distresses on a given issue, but it is equally important that they have accurate data on which to base decisions. We have, to date, seen no attack on (U) Harvey Jackins, only the lucid presentation of pertinent information. We believe an informed public is better able to make rational choices.
You say he has not held back when in his judgment a close personal relationship was required. The issue is how close should that personal relationship be. Thee are those who indicate it is too close in Mr. Jackins case; so close as to involve sexual relationship. Reams of literature have been written about the need not ever to abuse the special counselor/client relationship, even if sexual intimacy is requested by a female client. Most therapists do not but some succumb to the temptation and the opportunity afforded by this special relationship. We contend and there is substantial supportive authority that it is always an abuse of a position of power and trust.
We believe Harvey has been violating the blue pages and that his sexual relations with female clients are not a result of well thought out decisions but are a result of a chronic compulsive behavior pattern. We believe the repetition and duration of this activity bear this out.
Nearly every mental health therapist is aware of the phenomenon of transference which makes female clients particularly vulnerable in the counselor/client setting. The phenomenon of transference should present an opportunity to work through feelings, not to act on them.
Another issue that needs to be considered is the unequal distribution of power between the therapist and the client. Not only is a counselor in a higher status position by having the client come to him or her, but by virtue of being a therapist he or she is assumed to be more powerful and more competent than the client. In addition, the therapist has another major source of power. Knowledge is power and the therapist finds out a great deal about the clients needs, weaknesses, etc. without (in a paid counseling situation) having to reveal anything about him/herself.
Katy, you say we tend not to regard his as a peer - you are absolutely correct. Peers are people of equal rank. Harvey is the President of Personal Counselors, Inc., International Reference Person for the International Re-evaluation Counseling Communities and Editor in Chief of Rational Island Publishers. He is the last word, the final authority in at least 3 R. C. organizations. To ask that he be regarded as a peer is unreasonable to say that he is doesnt square with reality. Only people of equal rank are peers and no one in the RC conglomerate is a peer of Harvey Jackins.
Students who hold no offices are peers with each other. Teachers who hold no other offices are peers with each other. But to claim that all people in these organizations are peers is a severe distortion of reality. (And it is important to bear in mind that people who come for counseling do not need and additional (U) distortions of reality). You cant have it both ways there cannot be an elaborate hierarchy and then claim that everyone is a peer. The continued insistence that people are peers in this organization is the key to some serious confusion about sexual relations. It is the counselors responsibility to refrain from sexual activity with a client. A counselor or other health professional who cannot refrain from such activity should disqualify him/herself from participation in any counseling or leadership role until good counseling has rendered the compulsion completely inoperative. If the counselor or leader refuses to do that, we as people dedicated to behaving rationally, should find a way to keep present or potential clients from being subjected to this harmful and compulsive behavior.
We believe energies would be better spent in dealing with the problem itself than by characterizing any mention of the problem as an attack.
We firmly believe that there is a fundamental conflict between the apparent political goals of H.J. and good counseling for clients. People come in for counseling and end up feeling they are somewhat less than human if they dont become involved in this particular effort to save the world. We, people are basically good, want to be rational and given sufficient discharge and re-evaluation, will find their own ways to work toward a better society. Somewhere along the line a counseling organization has turned into a political crusade with a semi-sacred leader at the helm.
Would it not be more honest to simply call this a political organization?? It would certainly avoid confusion for new members. The only possible repercussion might be the loss of tax-exempt status for the Foundation. However, as the organization becomes increasingly political, a more distinct possibility is that people will begin to regard the "counseling" aspect of this organization as a front for the real intended purpose, so why not simply call it a political organization??
We believe the efforts to reconcile or cover up conflicts between stated principles and actual behavior are what has resulted in confusion and distress.
Our major concern at this time is that no present or potential client or member of the RC organizations be hurt. Many many people have been hurt and continue to be hurt.
We know that you are personally committed to achieving full rationality and we realize that this is a difficult time for you. We hope that you will come to see these issues clearly and do all that you can to protect people from harm.
Colleen Cristel, Board Member of Stop Abuse by Counselors 19 years in RC
Betsy Warder, R.N. , Mother 9 ½ years in RC
Rebecca Baldon, Medical Secretary months in RC
Jerry Deneke, Transit Operator 8 years in RC
Carl Jelstrup, Chiropractor 9 years in RC
John Lopez, Concerned Citizen
Sue Love, Board Member Stop Abuse by Counselors
P.S., To all of you who have received a copy of this letter we would really appreciate hearing from you and would like to know if you would be interested in the development of a newsletter. If you are looking for an alternative support organization, there is one Cooperative Counseling Network.
Anyone who undertakes leadership can expect, at some time or other, to be the object of "attacks," or at least to "feel attacked." These attacks can arise from a number of different sources, each needing to be viewed and dealt with differently.
A reaction to mistakes
The first source is a response to mistakes the leader, himself or herself, makes. Since no one has yet been wise enough to do anything significant, or give significant leadership, without making some mistakes, such mistakes do happen. Other persons, inside or outside of the leaders constituency, will often feel upset by the mistakes and will respond with, sometimes rational, or more usually, patterned, criticisms of the leader which will often appear to the leader as attacks.
The best way of handling this first kind of attack seems to be to admit the mistake openly, to not defend it or excuse it, to take responsibility for it and apologize for it, and to promise to not persist in it or repeat it. (One should certainly make such a promise privately. Often it will be helpful to make it publicly as well). Depending on circumstances, it may then be helpful to counsel the persons who are upset, if possible, and sometimes in the process, convert them from criticizers or attackers to supporters.
The second source or origin of attacks is the compelling, often desperate, desire of some persons to use the free attention (or even the imagined free attention) of the leader in order to seek discharge of their distresses. Unable to ask for counseling reasonably or "nicely," often completely unaware of their own motives, these persons seek to be counseled by rehearsing the invalidating role of their own old distresses at the leader.
Where the patterns do not involve physical violence but seek to injure by slander, machinations, or "making trouble" in various other ways, it is generally necessary to expose or organize effective pressure on the person to interrupt the pattern, stop the attacks, (and rarely) reach the human behind the behavior.
Agents of Repression
The fifth kind of source of attacks upon leadership is the oppressive society itself, expressed through its organs of repression. This is a "whole different ball game" although such government agencies or their representatives often use or manipulate individuals from the previous categories, particularly from the fourth.
The FBI, CIA, and other "spook" agencies, in the U.S. and in other countries, have carried on a great deal of these assaults against progressives in the last few decades. The vast networks of "informers" and unpaid "helpers" that these agencies recruit through "getting something on them" and then holding prosecution over their heads if they do not do the bidding of the agency, have given them a huge supply of "witnesses." Perjurers, and provocateurs to manipulate as the need them.
Attacks on RC Leaders
Even though we have attempted to keep RC to a low profile in the wide world, its profoundly progressive nature and its effectiveness were bound to come to the notice of the repressive forces and their agents at some time. This has happened, and a number of our best leaders have been and are being attacked and harassed, in ways and with a persistence that would be difficult to explain except by the involvement of government agents.
The repeated attacks which have been made on me since the l979 World Conference (and perhaps those earlier) have pretty clearly revealed themselves as agency-inspired and managed. Individuals who were only peripherally involved in RC and without financial resources of their own suddenly were launching expensive mass mailing campaigns to everyone listed in Present Time. Individuals who required government approval to remain in the U.S. as students took wierdly intransigent positions against me at the l981 World Conference. Every attempt was made to represent the attacks as coming from inside
RC and a few foolish and distressed individuals lent themselves to this appearance, but the World Conference, acting for the whole RC Community rejected the attacks and put an end to such pretensions.
Once the attacks had been defeated at the World Conference, the organized, outside RC, nature of their sponsorship became plain. Smearing publicity began to appear "out of the blue." Former clients of mine from ten years back, whose pasts made them vulnerable to agency blackmail and cajolery, appeared on television programs juxtaposed me with unsavory characters and known criminals. Some weeks later a weekly news paper repeated the same slanders. The newspaper shortly went out of business. Then a few weeks later another weekly newspaper parroted the earlier stories.
Legislation was introduced into the State Legislature that would have, in effect, outlawed RC. The same slanders, the same people appeared in legislative hearings (often making fools of themselves). The legislation never got out of committee and was dropped for that session. The legislator who sponsored the legislation was defeated at the next election.
Many proactive attempts have been made to get me to "reply" to the slanders circulated against me. Our considered judgment has been that to do so would be only to play into the attackers desire for continuing publicity for their slanders. (one cannot prevent some damage being done by such unprincipled smears, but one can contain it and limit it.)
Now the attacks upon me have begun again in Seattle and Washington State. A number of other leaders in the U.S. are being harassed in weird and wonderful ways. Various pretexts are being used in the various cases, but in each case the RC leader is being vilified in some very restimulative way and their connection with RC is being attached to the defamatory allegations.
In Washington State there is a repeat of the same ex-Rcers making sensational allegations to the press and television stations and attachment of this to attempted passage of a bill in the Legislature which could make the use of RC difficult.
Active speaking out be Rcers and their friends is needed. The slanders against me and other leaders need to be rejected, and the value and good name of RC needs to be asserted and re-asserted. This should not be left up to the attacked leaders to do
New Skills to Learn
Handling this type of attack well will require improved maturity, consciousness, and awareness on the part of our leaders and of our Community members. Or dismay at "the unfairness of it all." Other leaders and Community members cannot afford to sit back passively and watch to "see how the leader handles the attack" or, as has, amazingly, sometimes happened, join in a "discussion on the "merits" of the attack. The leader (and the RC Community which is the real object of the attack) deserve immediate, counter-attacking support. This support must not be defensive, but needs to be indignant toward the attackers and wholeheartedly validating toward the person attacked. The leader is the Community members leader, is the Communitys leader, and it must be clearly everyones battle from the first hint of attack.
In needs to be made immediately clear by other Rcers that no "vulture" can attack an RC leader without losing some tail feathers in the process.
The "dirty tricks" experts who plan such attacks and harassment count on naïve attitudes among us. It costs them little effort to have their agents suggest or imply slanders which will push peoples buttons. If we allow this kind of restimulation to take place, we can get caught in the illogical "how do we know the leader isnt guilty of the slanders?" or, "Id better dissociate myself from the leader before Im contaminated by the association."
The fact is that the leaders have earned our confidence and support. They also need it precisely at the time of the slanders and attacks. Self-estimation and estimation by the group are desirable processes for improving leaders functioning but no leader deserves to be attacked.
The general attitude that "an attack on one is an attack on all" and that "the best defense is a fierce, indignant counterattack" needs to become endemic and aware throughout our Communities.
Transcript of a talk and discussion at the conference of
Liberation and Regional Reference Persons
Amherst, Massachusetts, USA
My announced topic is "correcting and protecting leadership." Id like to switch the order of that. Ill talk about protecting leadership first and then talk about correcting leadership. Correcting is important but it is not of the first importance in this period.
Throughout the years of RC, every so often, there have been attacks on the leadership of the Community. These attacks have taken various forms.
An attack is always based on the most restimulating topic available, because attacks wont work unless they restimulate people. Attacks dont blossom into attacks if no one pays attention. So attacks will be about money, will be about sex, will be about politics, something that is sure to restimulate enough people that there is a chance for disruption.
Everyone has a feel for what attacks are (laughter). Everyone knows. The reason they know is what happened to them in their childhood. Children are attacked-a lot. They have few ways to defend themselves.
An attack is not an attempt to correct mistakes. It often
masquerades as that. This is a place that we all can get confused. We can also confuse a
well-meant attempt to correct mistakes (or perceived mistakes) with an attack. When a real
attack comes along we may think perhaps it is a well-meant attempt to correct perceived
mistakes. The effect of an attack is never to correct mistakes. The effect of attacks is
always to destruct, to restimulate all those who have not gotten enough work done
discharging their hurts in the selected areas and to generally disrupt the functioning in
Someone personally having a question about a mistake and being worried about it and trying to figure it out is much different from a person making an attack. Trying to figure things out as a private concern switches over into an attack when it goes "public". It becomes a public position, where someone, usually through restimulation, is trying to gain adherents to a position. Almost always the position is against someone. It is a very personal thing; any issue that was there to begin with quickly fades and the attack is about someone.
Any time you get a slight whiff of that, you need to remember that that is an attack. It is not an attempt at correcting mistakes, and it needs to be handled differently.
It does not matter who the person attacked is, it doesnt matter even if theyre not in leadership. (that doesnt tend to happen. (laughter) You need to know that very few unknown people are attacked (lots of Laughter)
When someone has crossed this line and is mounting an attack, it must be handled differently. You can be understanding of the distress but their behavior cannot now be handled sympathetically. The behavior is destructive to their getting help with that material. Very few people that in desperation cross this line and start attacking manage to attract the resource necessary to work on the distresses involved in that attack. The attack alienates resource and restimulates everyone so much, that even the people they can pull with them are not able to help them with what pushed them to this point.
In our experience, what is necessary is that the attack be interrupted. The person or persons involved in the attack must cease that behavior. To offer someone counseling support without a commitment from them to stop that behavior immediately has not been effective.
Historically, in our Community (or actually in any group), I know of no one who has ever handled attacks well. Maybe it has happened somewhere. They used to kill attackers in older times. (laughter) you can understand the appeal. (lots of laughter) It solves one part of the problem and it doesnt restimulate the same material. (laughter) we, however, being constrained by rationality, and law (laughter), have not attempted this solution (laughter).
One way of picturing attacks is that they are attempts by a desperate person to get help on material that he or she is unable to find any other resource for. If you picture any attack coming at you as this sort of attempt you can understand it. Theres a person desperately lost in the distress, who is trying to get somebody to pay enough attention to it, because nobody has, and hoping that maybe therell be some help.
In every case we need to stand up to the attacks as soon as they occur. The longer you hesitate, the more people get restimulated, and the more work you have to do. You can have a long, long time of cleaning up after someone who has been allowed to dramatize their distress around the attack and restimulate lots of people. Their will be restimulating attacks. They will keep coming. You have no escape. (laughter) I want you to understand that.
There are, of course, larger forces outside of counseling that manipulate peoples distresses to disrupt. For those of us who have been around certain progressive movements in the United States a favorite example is the government intelligence agencies. These hire people to go in and disrupt organizations; they are not trying to do anything else except attack leaders, disrupt in all sorts of ways, restimulate and confuse, and interrupt the work that goes on there. Those things can happen here in RC and may well have happened. Its important that we know these things can occur.
The following resolution was adopted by the l98l World Conference of the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities by unanimous vote.
That the l98l World Conference of the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities express complete endorsement of Harvey Jackins, of his work as International Reference Person of the Communities, as the founder and leading theoretician of Re-evaluation Counseling, and as a personal example of courageous risk-taking, caring for, and excellent counseling of others.
That we reject and condemn, as completely contradictory to the spirit and practice of Re-evaluation Counseling, the vicious gossip and slanderous circulation of written attacks upon Harvey Jackins in the period of preparation for this Conference, point out that this activity violates the fundamental principles of fairness and justice as well as all the principles and practices of Re-evaluation Counseling, and amounts to an extreme example of internalized oppression directed against a leader.
That to allow such attacks to go unrebuked would open the door to behavior within the Community that would make it impossible for any leader to function within the Community.
That we hereby notify all Co-Counselors and ex-CoCounselors that participation in such gossip, slander, and/or attacks on anyone is incompatible with membership in the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities or having access to the benefits and resources of the Communities.
POLICY ON ATTACKS
As formulated at the World Conference of the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities, November l989, Orlando, Florida USA.
These are dramatizations of distress patterns, and while an underlying motivation may be to attract attention and ask for counseling help with the distress, this is not a workable procedure and is not acceptable behavior.
Reformers seek to outlaw therapists sexual exploits
March l0-March l7, l982
Should therapists in Washington State be permitted to have sexual relations with their clients? Shirley Siegel doesnt think so. She was in therapy for years with Harvey Jackins, a 60 year old ex-Dianetics leader who now runs his own international organization, Re-evaluation Counseling, headquartered on Queen Anne Hill. Its membership has been estimated at l00,00 to 200,00. Siegel claims that Jackins sexually exploited her on the pretext of helping her "work on (her) sexual problems." Spokesmen for Jackins and his organization say he is being victimized by a "smear campaign."
This fall after decades of silence, Siegel co-founded Stop Abuse by Counselors, which lobbied two bills before the legislature this session intended to regulate errant therapists. House Bill 954 would make it a class B felony for "health professionals" to have sexual contact with a client. House Bill 953, aimed at unlicensed counselors, would prohibit sexual conduct with clients; failure to refer clients who need help (e.g., medical help) the counselor cant provide; false advertising; "undue influence, fraud, or intimidation": practicing while ill or using "alcohol, drugs, narcotics, or any other substance": the counselors failure to disclose credentials and employment history; and a few other items. Despite support of the intent of one or both bills by the Washington State Medical Association, the Washington State Psychiatric Association, the Seattle Office of Womens Rights, the American Association of Pastoral Counselors/Northwest Region, and other groups, both are dead in committee.
The most unified front against the legislation came from the Re-evaluation Counseling camp, which was represented by seven or eight partisans in Olympia. They neglected to mention their R.C. affiliation, but Siegel make not of it in her testimony. ("I used to lobby legislators for R.C., too," she recalls, "just like all the other good little robots.") Katie Kauffman of the R.C. headquarters, who testified in Olympia, says Mr. Jackins is unavailable for interviews, but she does offer her own eight-point critique of 953. Among other things, Kauffman objects to the bills excessive openness to interpretation, its civil-rights implications, the "sensational" nature of its promotion, and its presumption of "agreed-upon standards of counseling practice." Kauffman also alleges that it is "biased against lay counseling>" as for Siegels accusation that Jackins is a seducer, Kauffman says, "were just basically disgusted shes got a personal ax to grind .Shes a person with a number of personal problems." Kauffman strongly praises Jackins personal character and professional expertise.
But others have accused Jackins of sexual aggression: one l9-year veteran of the Seattle R.C. group says Jackins has seduced "hundreds" of female patients, and 45 members of the Minneapolis-St. Paul R.C. group resigned in December partly because of his alleged practices. According to the accusers, Jackins did not deny the accusations, insisting he was "the best male ally I have ever heard of for women and womens liberation". A Maryland R.C. member defended Jackins, comparing him to Jesus, Socrates, Joan of Arc, Einstien, Shakespeare, Mozart, and Marx; he asserted that "even if Harvey had committed murders I would not remove him from leadership."
Regardless of any particular personal interest Ms. Siegel and the R.C. people might have in the matter, the legislation is obviously meant to address a general problem. With the proliferation of unconventional therapies unregulated by the Department of Licensing and often lacking the professions internal ethical apparatuses, the buyer of therapy has more to beware that ever. "right now, anybody can be a counselor-youve just got to pay your B.& O. tax, says Marie Rains of the state Medical Association.
The backers of 953 and 954 will have to wait until next session to tackle the problem again; the only thing theyve got to show from this sessions efforts is a House concurrent resolution that would call on the states department of licensing and professional and voluntary organizations to crack down on offenders more effectively. But the recent efforts have not gone to waste, says Marie Rains. "the problem is sort of like rape was l0 years ago. Now its been brought more out into the open."
February 8, l982
I was a staff counselor for a Seattle Organization for 5 years. During that time the head of the organization was having sex with almost every female client that came to us for counseling. The 6 women with whom I worked including myself, would also work these women after they had seen the boss. It was a very damaging situation. These women would have to work on the facts that this man was not really interested in them as a lover, or in even having a long or short term love affair That he would never marry them that they were simply being used by him. This was an additional problem they didnt need. They came to him and us for help and ended up with more problems. All of us women had to handle this mans sexual compulsions. I personally ended up in a wrestling match with him. We (the staff) talked to him, told him he had a problem et. But to no avail- he still continues these sexual get past their sexual problems. Young and troubled women come away feeling confused, misled, and of course, used. I am not speaking of a few. I am speaking of hundreds.
I strongly support this bill and if you wish to speak to me in more detail I would be happy to accommodate you.
DEAR MEMBERS OF THE SENATE:
In l965 I moved from California to Seattle to live with my Dad. I was having a hard time adjusting and my Dad sought to help me be getting me to Re-evaluation Counselors (actually Personal counselors, Inc.) in Seattle. My counselor was Harvey Jackins, the founder. I was fifteen at the time. I was lonely and confused and having a tough time relating. Harvey helped me out a lot by being a buffer between my dad and stepmom. Helped me do my schoolwork and soon he became my best friend, making me feel safe and cared for. I trusted and believed he had my best interest at heart
On day while in session, we kissed and before it was over, he pulled a rubber out of his wallet and we had sexual intercourse, he told me never to have sex without a rubber. He had me taste his cum. He told me I was wonderful. Someone thought I was wonderful. I longed to hear that. We had intercourse weekly after that. He told me we would go away on vacation away from his wife and spend it in bed getting love. I started resisting going to sessions and things got worse at home. I didnt feel right and now I had no one to talk to. One day after a session I came home and tore my bedroom up, breaking all I could. I started to talk a lot of drugs, mostly LSD, so I could escape from my reality. Finally I caused enough fuss so I didnt have to go back and see him. The bottom line is Ive never been able to trust anyone Ive slept with since. I am still that lonely lost little girl looking for love. Whose fault was this years and years later I finally know it was not mine. I am not the one who needs to be held accountable. It was my counselor. Harvey Jackins. I feel that SHB129will make this more of a reality and hopefully be a deterrent to abuse by counselors. Thank you.
Sunday March 25, l984
Public attention is beginning to focus on therapists who misuse their power over clients.
Counselors who discourage clients from seeking further help, including medical treatment, is a special concern of Siegel. She founded stop ABC with two other women after l9 years in Re-evaluation Counseling, an international counseling movement headquartered on Queen Anne Hill and listed in the phone book under Personal Counselors, its private business.
Siegel publicly has accused RCs founder and leader, Harvey Jackins, of seducing her years ago during counseling and dissuading her from seeking medical treatment for a severe intestinal disorder. As a result, when her4-year old daughter got sick during that time l6 years ago, Siegel says, she was too ill herself to respond adequately. By the time the child was hospitalized for a respiratory infection it was to late to save her.
Jackins, a former labor organizer and mathematician now in his late 60s has refused repeatedly to discuss Siegels accusations. Other former RC members have accused him of sexually exploiting women in several cities; a Minneapolis group of 45 charged in an open letter that Jackins repeatedly seduced women in counseling sessions. The letter was circulated to RC members worldwide.
Jackins chief spokesman, Katie Kauffman, denied the allegations saying, "hes tired of being harassed. We dont think its fair to be dragged into a debate about a smear campaign. Hes and extremely valuable person."
Kauffman and other RC supporters are among the most vocal opponents of recent efforts to license counselors. They testified against legislative efforts backed by Stop ABC in l982, and Graves says they tried to disrupt a public form sponsored by her group last fall.
RC members were in Olympia in recent weeks lobbying against a proposal to license mental-health counselors and social workers. Eight states require licensing for masters degree-level counselors, and similar legislation has been proposed in 30 other states. Social workers are licensed in 36 states.
Kauffman said she and Jackins oppose licensing because there is no evidence it would guarantee better counseling. She believes current proposals would promote a small group of counselors and discourage the growth of peer counseling, an RC concept.
Hypnotherapists and scientologists also testified against the proposed legislation, calling it restrictive. Rep. Kreidler said his committee simply ran out of time to consider it.
James Terhar, director of the Division of Professional Licensing, said his office took a neutral position on the legislation, but he criticized attempts to restrict what counselors can call themselves, saying, "all you do is chase the incompetent and unscrupulous from one profession to another. We are interested in legislation that would encompass the whole practice of behavior modification and outline what that practice its."
Kreidlers staff is drafting a bill for introduction in the next legislative session that would encompass regulation of the entire mental health profession, Terhar said.
Stop ABC supports licensing efforts but
An inadequate 20-year old law is to blame for the states inability to do much about complaints of possible ethical violations against licensed psychologists, says Yvonne Braeme, executive secretary for the Board of Psychology Examiners.
Washington states 850 psychologists are governed by the only board in the nation without disciplinary powers, officials say. To take disciplinary actions, the governor must convene a hearing committee, a cumbersome process that has occurred only once in the five years Braime has been in office, she said.
A bill to revamp the psychology law and strengthen its disciplinary powers had no opposition from state lawmakers during the recent legislative session, but they ran out of time to consider it. Said Terhar of the licensing department. "its a shame. It cleaned up the old law and put some teeth in it." He said.
By Shirley J. Siegel, Founder/Coordinator.
Stop Abuse by Counselors
Vol. II No. 2 October, l987 pg. 9
If you live in Western "Washington and were active in the drive to pass our newly enacted Omnibus Credentialing Act, you probably are well-acquainted with Re-evaluation Counselors. They were the chief opponents of our bill. However, if you live elsewhere, although "RC", as it is known, is an international organization, you may not be familiar with it at all. And you probably should be.
In approximately l950, the Dianetics Institute of Seattle was formed. There was soon a split between Dianeticists L. Ron Hubbard and Harvey Jackins, with Hubbard going on to found Scientology, Jackins Re-evaluation Counseling. The Dianetics Institute of Seattle became Personal Counselors. Inc.
Today, Seattle is still headquarters for Personal Counselors, inc., but also; The re-evaluation Foundation, Rational Island Publishing and the International Re-evaluation Counseling Communities. Harvey Jackins is President of Personal Counselors, Inc., Editor in Chief of the publishing company and "International Reference Person" for the international counseling communities.
Well, thats interesting, but why the opposition to the bill?
The answer to that question is not a simple one. To understand why Re-evaluation Counselors dont want counselor regulation anywhere I believe it is necessary to know a bit about the nature and practices of the organization.
THE FIRST PUBLIC HINT OF TROUBLE CAME IN September of l981 when the Seattle Sun published an article entitled, "therapist Accused of Sex Abuse." The article stated that "Jackins whose mental health counseling credentials take the form of a degree in mathematics and a prior career in political organizing, is one of several area therapists accused of either sexual misconduct or negligence in treatment of patients". The article further stated that former members had accused the groups leader (Harvey Jackins) of "engaging in sexual relations with hundreds of his female patients over a period of time stretching back to the early 50s".
That same fall, Linda Coldiron, investigative reporter for Seattle CBS-affiliate, KIRO_TV, did a documentary on psychotherapy abuse. Jackins was included. From the transcript:
"Linda Coldiron: Critics say he abuses the counseling to exploit women. This woman told us she is one of these he seduced."
Voice "and he is doubly terrible because all of his own rules and regulations are very puritanical. No sexual relations between student counselors I mean reams of material written on rational sex and hes so screwed up about sex its unbelievable. To my knowledge he has had sexual relations with dozens and dozens of female clients in an out of a counseling setting."
Letter from 45
And in December of l981, 45 Re-evaluation Counselors from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area signed and widely circulated, a letter objecting to: "the continued sexual exploitation of women and the practice of engaging in sexual intercourse with other co-counselors, in and out of session, by the International Reference Person, Harvey Jackins;
"the exclusion of our elected delegate to the World Conference and the censorship of ideas and discussion in our area newsletter and international publications;
"the undemocratic decision-making structure of the entire RC organization which gives unchecked power to the IRP (International Reference Person Harvey Jackins) and which gives the majority of our community no power over our own local leadership."
Major Seattle papers publish information on Jackins
My experience with Harvey Jackins (my former counselor) is briefly chronicled in a l984 Seattle Times/Seattle Post Intelligencer article: "Siegel publicly has accused RCs founder and leader, Harvey Jackins, of seducing her years ago during counseling and dissuading her from seeking medical treatment for a severe intestinal disorder. As a result, when her 4-year-old daughter got sick during that time l6 years ago, Siegel says, she was too ill herself to respond adequately. By the time the child was hospitalized for a respiratory infection, it was too late to save her."
(continued in next issue).
ABOUT RE-EVALUATION COUNSELING
By Shirley J. Siegel
Continued from last issue
No. 3 December, l987 pg. 5
Stop abuse by counselors, as recently as the Spring of l987, was still receiving letters alleging Jackins seduction of female clients. The last one, circulated by its writer to every member of the Washington State Senate in March of l987, stated that Jackins had repeatedly seduced her while she was his client at age l5. Her parents, she told us, would not believe her when she told them what was happening.
To stop the sessions, the letter says, "I started resisting going to sessions and things got worse at home. I didnt feel right and now I had no one to talk to. One day after a session I came home and tore my bedroom up, breaking all I could. I started to take a lot of drugs, mostly LSD, so I could escape from my reality. Finally, I caused enough fuss so I didnt have to go back and see him. The bottom line is, Ive never been able to trust anyone Ive slept with since. I am still that lonely lost little girl looking for love."
RCers object to mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse
To backtrack just a bit, RC literature mailed statewide during the l987 legislative session, objected to the bills requirement mandating counselors to report suspected child abuse.
And, from beginning to end of the session, RCers engaged in a "disinformation campaign" of immense proportions.
Sex and opposition to counselor regulation not the only problems in rc
In l982, Representative Georgette Valle, at the request of Stop Abuse by Counselors, introduced a bill which would have made it a crime for therapists to have sex with clients.
Writing in opposition to this bill (HB 954), RCer Gay Janidlo, likens a woman who is seduced by a counselor to someone addicted to tobacco, alcohol, drugs or food. And, she says, "a woman who has consented to and has willingly engaged in sexual activity with a man, any man, has to accept the consequences of her actions just as one would expect any other cult to take responsibility for decisions made and acted upon." This statement, of course, completely ignores the fact that the counselor/client relationship is not a supposedly equal social relationship, but is an imbalanced relationship composed of vulnerable client and presumed-expert therapist. It is the position of every major expert on this issue in the United States, that it is the therapist not the client, who has the responsibility for refraining from sexual involvement even if a female client strips naked and throws herself across the male therapists desk!
There is more
Jane and Maurice Temerlin, in Psychotherapy Cults: An Iatrogenic Perversion, Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, (Summer, l982), discuss the hallmarks of a psychotherapy cult, some of which are:
"Leader, a therapist with charismatic, authoritarian, dominating personality: narcissistic, grandiose and paranoid features.
"followers are patients who idealize their therapist. Consider her/him a genius. S/he is supreme authority.
"Patients are, or become True Believers, accepting therapists theory and therapy as valid, true and superior to all others. This belief is encouraged, and rational empirical research is discouraged.
"group suspicious, fearful and hostile toward other professionals. Therapist controls or interprets for member all contact with other professionals. Dependence and submissiveness increase; critical thinking decreases."
Many more cult characteristics are listed, but in the interest of brevity, I will stop with these.
In January, l986 issue of Present Time," international RC leader, Harvey Jackins, discusses the issue of "charisma". "I think, he says, "it is important to allow people to use you as a symbol in spite of any discomfort you feel and that I know I felt. I wanted people to believe in the theory and the principle and not just in the person, but I was reluctantly forced to conclude that this is too difficult for most people to start with. They have to see the embodiment. They cant believe in Christs or Buddhas teaching unless hes up there on the cross or dais where they can see him."
Jackins, also in the January l986 issue of "Present Time" says, "selling twelve copies of each issue of "Present Time" to new people may prevent nuclear holocaust!"
Seattle paper, The Weekly, on March l0, l982, reported that "A Maryland R.C. member defended Jackins, comparing him to Jesus, Socrates, Joan of Arc, Einstein, Shakespeare, Mozart and Marx; he asserted that even if Harvey had committed murders I would not remove him from leadership."
And a l981 "Present Time" article says, "our theory is already influencing people far beyond the community membership. It will continue to do this both under its own name and in a thousand other guises".
(continued from page 5)
as Rcers offer correct policies and assume leadership in many non-RC situations. It is time for a goal to be set for every co-counselor whom we accept into our Communities (which will not be everyone who learns to Co-Counsel) to be, on the one hand a Community builder, taking responsibility that our base, the RC Community, become strengthened and extended, and on the other hand a leader, with constituency in the wide world. Our RC leaders must become leaders in the wide world also, but many of our wide world leaders also need to become leaders inside the Community. Any patterned tendency to separate the two aspects of leadership or to emphasize one at the expense of the other can be eliminated, with the two fields instead being viewed as tow sides of a common effort."
Now just a minute, if RC theory and practices are perfectly acceptable, why would or should they be presented in a "thousand different guises"?
Is RC a counseling or a political organization or both?
A l981 letter signed by seven ex-Rcers and one concerned citizen, and circulated worldwide, says "We firmly believe that there is a fundamental conflict between the apparent political goals of H.J. and good counseling for clients. People come in for counseling and end up feeling they are somewhat less than human if they dont become involved in this particular effort to save the world."
The letter later asks the question. "Would it not be more honest to simply call this a political organization?"
Dual/multiple roles with clients not only confusing, but unethical
Of course experts stress that counselors should never assume dual or multiple roles with clients. Clean, fee-for-service relationships are the key, they say. Counselors should never assume the roles of counselor/lover; counselor/employer; counselor/landlord/ counselor/social companion; counselor/political recruiter-mentor or any of a number of other dual or multiple roles which can muddy or confuse proper boundaries in the counselor-client relationship.
It is interesting then to note RC publication, "Wide World Changing", and an article authorized by Harvey Jackins. it seems to emphasize the position taken in the l981 article cited above that all RC leaders/counselors are expected to play two roles with clients one as counselor and one as political indoctrinator.
For two paragraphs in the Wide World Changing article, Jackins discusses the terrible state of the world and in paragraph 3 discusses the reasons society is on the brink of destruction.
The first factor, according to Jackins, is a "dense accumulation of distress patterns placed on people in early childhood, "
The second factor is the absence of rational enough alternative program to that offered by the oppressive society .for achieving unity of all people, for replacing the collapsing society with an intelligent one. For ending the threat of war and nuclear destruction, and for restoring and enhancing the earth and the lives of its inhabitants."
Paragraph 5 says. "There is no such program for wide world changing presently available outside of RC. No existing program being offered by other social change forces meets the standards of RC for rationality and completeness."
Well, regardless of whether RC is or is not the only organization which can possibly save the world from utter destruction I do not that Jackins has used the word "oppress", "oppression" or "oppressed" 47 times in this three-page article. This is surely guaranteed to cheer up depressed students or clients who come in for counseling.
The prospect for passage of an omnibus credentialing act in other states
We, in Stop Abuse by Counselors, worked for passage of the Omnibus Credentialing Act not only in close cooperation with members of Washington Association for Counseling and Development, but Washington Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the local chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and the Washington State Psychological Association. We would like to see a similar law passed in every state that doesnt presently regulate masters level (or those with less education) counselors, social workers or marriage and family therapists.
However, please dont forget Re-evaluation Counselors are not only organized nation-wide, but highly opposed to any counselor regulation.
And they are persistent.
Even after our bill was passed, 70-80 or more out-of-state calls came to our Governors office urging him to veto the bill. We believe the vast majority of these were RC-originated. Because of the vast amount of misinformation circulated (and I do not claim to know the origin of all of it), our bill was almost vetoed on the Governors desk.
So you can be sure that on some level in some way, Re-evaluation Counselors will work against counselor legislation introduced in your state too. In my considered opinion, the best way to pass your particular piece of legislation is not only to form a coalition with other professionals and consumers, but to be very aware of the nature and tactics of the Re-evaluation Counseling organization.
The Cult Observer: May/June 1990The Cult Observer: May/June 1990
A former client has initiated a suit in King County, WA, accusing her therapist, Harvey Jackins, head of Seattles Personal Counselors, of multiple acts of sexual abuse which, says Deborah Curren, caused her physical injury, emotional and mental distress, anguish and pain. Cult Observer Report of a suit filed on 1/17/90.
According to a former Jackins client, Shirley Siegal, Founder/Coordinator of the Seattle-based Stop Abuse by Counselors (STOP), Personal Counselors is associated through Jackins with Re-Evaluation Counseling, an international movement which STOP has accused of widespread client abuse. Siegal, who helped pass a counselor abuse statute in the Washington legislature last year, says that Jackins was a colleague of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard around 1950 when the Dianetics Institute of Seattle was formed. The two soon split, however, with Hubbard going on to found Scientology and Jackins to establish Re-Evaluation Counseling.
Siegal says Re-Evaluation Counseling under Jackins leadership is fostering cult-like behaviors toward his leadership and seeking to create a cadre among Re-Evaluation Counseling "communities" that will form a political force in society at large to help build a new world order. From "Re-Evaluation Counseling," American Mental Health Counselors Association News, Vol. 11, No. 3, December 1989, 9-10, 11.
HARVEY JACKINS International Reference Person The Re-Evaluation Counseling Communities
719 Second Avenue North, Seattle, Washington 98l09.USA
Compuserve user ID: 71271,2716
Dear Friend and RC Leader,
Attacks by Former Leaders
A number of former RC leaders whom I had appointed and encouraged into leadership have abandoned the actual content of RC and are trying to create a following and organizations for themselves around some practices which they have called "present-mindedness." "presence a soi," "aanwezigheid bij je zelf," and "selbestgegenwartigkeitsubungen."
Many of the Guidelines of the Communities were violated by them in promoting these wrong ideas to other people within the Communities.
I had trusted and expressed confidence in these people because I had previously had good relationships with them, and they had at one time expressed devotion to RC, so I must take some responsibility for having unknowingly allowed this activity to develop over the period of time that it did. (However, there had been, it is now plain, secrecy and dishonesty on the part of some of these people for some time.)
I did examine translated versions of Daniel LeBons presentations of "present-mindedness" and had several people who had attended his workshops give me demonstrations of it. The whole content was clearly a mixture of well-known psychologies, very introverted in its effect on the people doing it and very anti-rational in the submissive attitudes engendered toward the "trainer."
In an attempt to clarify the issue around "present-mindedness" I arranged that at the January l989 meeting of the European Regional Reference Persons in London, each person there spoke on their experiences and their conclusions about "present-mindedness." After everyone had spoken, I met my responsibility under the Guidelines and ruled that these ideas, practices and methods are incompatible with RC (which they certainly are).
Daniel LeBon immediately resigned from RC and organized most of the RC leaders of Francophone Europe (which I had left to his care for several years) to resign with him.
Joke Hermsen, Inez Roelofs, Marjoke Weston, Dirk Jaspers and Winy Duindam, who were acting as my deputies by my appointment, continued in the next few months to organize Rcers around these foreign practices. They were informed that this was in violation of the policy of the Community, and were dismissed from RC leadership in November, l989. They have also decided to leave the RC Community.
Maria Kranz, who had been my Regional Reference Person for German-speaking Europe, and Jean Ann Phillips, who had earlier been replaced as Regional Reference Person for Northern England and Scotland, resigned from RC in December, l989.
I find it hard to understand that people who had such excellent opportunities to experience the consistency and integrity of RC could take the attitude that these people have done. For at least one, "empire-building" and securing some "prestige" for themselves obviously played a part. For others, having difficulty with their own counseling may have left them looking for an easier answer.
What is important to make clear is that "present-mindedness" is not RC, and is not consistent with RC. Rcers should not be confused and RC and the RC Community should not be exploited and damaged by these individuals.
However some of them are continuing to circulate appeals in Rcers. You may have received one. Please be clear that their present activities are not RC, and involvement in this and activity within the RC Community are incompatible.
Tim and I have just returned from The Netherlands, dealing with some continuation of this disruption initiated by Daniel LeBon. I am astounded at some of the people and some of the motives that have led to this disruption some of the other RC leaders have suggested that I have been naïve and somewhat blindly trusting. I do not think that I will adopt a chronic attitude of suspicion because of these happenings, but we must all be aware of the continuing possibilities of distresses causing confusion and misdirection, even to the point of attacks.
At the very least, it has been made clear that material contradictory to Re-evaluation Counseling is not to be offered as RC or inside RC by people who have been previously entrusted with RC leadership.
Committed leadership is now in charge again in The Netherlands, and I anticipate rapid growth. Similar crisis in other places in the past, once resolved and the mid-leadership removed, have always resulted in a surge of growth.
Things are excellent, world-wide
I am filled with a sense of wonder and satisfaction at how profoundly well RC works everywhere and for everybody when it is applied.
We are continuing to discuss the concepts of "all for one and one for all" and "continual improvement in everything" at workshops and with the Seattle group.
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