Back
Home
Next

 

 

A PSYCHIATRIST'S STORY OF HIS BRIEF INVOLVEMENT IN RE-EVALUATION COUNSELING

HISTORIA DE LA BREVE IMPLICACION DE UN PSIQUIATRA EN RC     

(This article translated into spanish)

 

By Richard M. Childs

Because of the attitudes toward psychology and psychiatry that Harvey Jackins shares with his mentor, L. Ron Hubbard, it is uncommon for clinical psychologists or psychiatrists to become involved in Re-evaluation Counseling at all.

In THE 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 contains a 1991 letter form David C. Tinling, MD, a psychiatrist in Honeoye Falls, NY, who in the 1970s had initially admired Jackins, only later to learn that clients he had referred to Seattle were used sexually by Jackins. Dr. Tinling's letter and my own are the only documents written by psychiatrists I have seen in the documentary history assembled by "The Study Group on Psychotherapy Cults (Groupe D`Études des Cultes PsychothÈrapeutiques)" of Brussels, Belgium.

There are virtually no references to RC in the professional mental health or academic literature. Two exceptions are the articles by
Bernard J. Somers, PhD and Thomas J. Scheff, PhD. In 1972, these
scholars wrote articles about RC that appeared in the Journal of
Humanistic Psychology. Both men have since repudiated and dropped
Jackins.

It is little wonder that few competent mental health professionals would be attracted to Jackins when he writes so condescendingly and arrogantly about them, as he did in his introduction to a re-printing of the two articles by Scheff and Somers in his pamphlet printed by Rational Island Publishers. In his introduction, Jackins wrote:

"Substantial numbers of professionals from the 'helping professions' [quotation marks in the original] have been attracted to Re-evaluation Counseling and its communities in recent times. These professionals are most welcome because of their dedication and their opportunities to involve segments of the population that would otherwise be difficult to reach.

[Jackins continues] Difficulties in communication have appeared,
however. What has been simple for the housewife or the technician to understand has often been difficult for the professional. Apparently prior training and assimilated vocabularies [in other words, they're too impaired to understand RC's jargon!] must be taken into account for communication to be effective. We are especially grateful, therefore, to Professor Scheff and to Professor Somers for serving as ambassadors and interpreters to these important people." [Isn't it interesting that neither of these two "ambassadors" has ever been heard from in RC again?]

My own brief career in RC began with Charlie Kreiner. At that time, I had never heard of Harvey Jackins or RC. The denouement to my story began to unfold with my 1990 "Letter from Richard Childs, former Kansas City RC leader" that is now posted on this website. The letter was taken up by the Study Group on Psychotherapy Cults, and excerpts from it were included in the group's collection of RC documents. From the Documentary History booklet, my letter was evidently scanned as an image, along with the address on my letterhead, and was posted here on the Internet. A review of this letter will provide the context necessary for understanding the following remarks.

When Harvey Jackins did not respond to the respectful letter I had
written to him, I gave up any expectation that his organization could be changed or salvaged. Consequently, I experienced it as an honor when the enraged St. Louis "Regional Reference Person" telephoned and accused me of "running a bad distress pattern against leadership". Actually she had never even seen my letter to Jackins, but following the orders she received from Seattle, she banished me from all RC activities.

At the time I wrote to Jackins, I foolishly thought that I might be the only person who had ever seriously confronted him about his behavior with clients. I even believed that he would answer my letter. Rather grandiosely, I had allowed myself to think that I could persuade him to shape up and change.

I soon learned how naive and pathetic my expectations had been. Jackins has always refused to face his misdeeds, and he purposely organizes things to keep anyone from confronting him effectively. The same methods are employed by his son and successor, Tim Jackins, as well as by all other top RC leaders. (Soon we will probably see more evidence for this statement.)

This same tactic is used by other cults and also by criminal organizations where grandiose, narcissistic and unscrupulous leaders seize control and forbid any critical discussion of their misdeeds. Many people involved in these groups may recognize, and some of them may even genuinely regret, what their leaders are doing, but they feel powerless to do anything about it. So they just go along passively and, by their silence, let themselves be compromised by their leader's actions. Even good guys like Charlie Kreiner (about whom more later) badly discredit themselves by their capitulation to this corrupt and hypocritical "policy".

Not long after writing to Jackins, I became fully disabused of my naivetè. I learned that many, many other persons had already written remarkably similar letters to him, nearly always with the hope of salvaging something of what they liked about RC. I was unaware of it, but well before I wrote my letter, The Study Group on Psychotherapy Cults had collected a significant number of comparable letters that had been sent to Jackins during the past thirty years. His transparent defense strategy has always been to label them as "attacks" brought on by the "distresses" of those who challenge him.

Anyone who accepts this notion is well on the way toward becoming caught up in the RC psychotherapy cult and its distorted mindset. Those on this list who whine about "trashing HJ" are simply following RC's Policy on Attacks whether they admit it or not.

As I learned more about Jackins and his history, I, like so many others, was appalled to find that RC was actually a spin-off from L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics/Scientology. This fact is completely at odds with the "official" story Jackins routinely tells about how he "discovered" it himself. In his 1994 pamphlet "How Re-evaluation Counseling Began", Jackins repeats and reworks the same self-serving myth about how he stumbled upon this counseling technique all by himself. He begins his pamphlet with the sentence "The activity known as Re-evaluation Counseling began almost as an accident." This statement is contradicted by Jackins' own words in his letter, entitled "Letter from Harvey Jackins on Dianetics" that can be found in the DOCUMENTS section of this website. In this letter he presents "a popular summary of eighteen months experience in using Dianetic Processing here in Seattle."

Readers will note that Jackins' letter (written in about 1952) appears on stationery from the DIANETICS INSTITUTE OF SEATTLE, which at the time was also called PERSONAL COUNSELORS, INC. Not long afterward, Jackins dropped Dianetics (or, more likely, they dropped him!). The Seattle headquarters of RC are still called "Personal Counselors, Inc." and Jackins keeps silent about his earlier Dianetics connection. The origin of RC with Dianetics is not an irrelevant matter as some have claimed.

Several contributors to this list have pointed out how the attack policy in RC is similar to the techniques Scientology uses to deal with so-called "suppressive persons" and "potential troublemakers". A paranoid sensitivity to being challenged is only one of the several ways in which Jackins resembles his mentor Hubbard. Personal grandiosity, outrageous self-promotion, lack of truthfulness, and a hatred of most "mental health professionals" are other shared traits.

The suppressed facts about the origin of RC are clearly presented in the Documentary History (i.e., a history consisting of original source documents). The materials reproduced include a 1952 photograph of a smiling Harvey Jackins, at age 36, as a member of the "Hubbard Dianetic Foundation, Inc." He is one of eleven pictured top leaders of Dianetics. The photo was taken at the Dianetic Foundation "International Conference." [Do these grand terms ? "International Conference" and "Foundation" - sound similar to RC's organizational vocabulary?]

There is also a chapter-by-chapter comparison of Jackins' 1965 book "The Human Side of Human Beings" with Hubbard's 1950 book "Dianetics, A Handbook of Dianetic Procedure". Jackins plagiarized Hubbard's book and called the result RC. He paraphrased Hubbard's terms by recasting them in his own jargon. Hubbard's "Engrams" became Jackins' "distress patterns", "release" became "discharge", and "to become clear" became RC's "to re-emerge". The interested reader will find some of this material here on LRC.

The origin more than forty years ago of RC from Hubbard's Dianetics (both names were commercially trademarked for profit-making motives) is not without relevance to some of the discussions on this list. At least one RC apologist who contributes here has spoken favorably of Dianetics and Scientology. Many would agree that this fact alone illustrates an impaired capacity for informed and rational discernment.

Anyone who does not hold Jackins and all other RC leaders accountable for their actions also suffers from a diminished ethical capacity. When they prattle on and on about "how much good Harvey and RC have done for the world" they diminish themselves even more. Those who talk hopefully of reforming the "guidelines" simply do not grasp the point that Jackins has made it impossible to achieve an honest and ethical organization that can live up to the high principles he hypocritically espouses and fails to follow.  

BACK TO MY OWN STORY:

During the two weekend-long re-evaluation counseling workshops held at my home (the workshops referred to in the letter), my wife and son participated in some of the activities. While both of them were tolerant and supportive of my enthusiasm, they each said "some of it seems kind of cult-like to me". At the time, I was annoyed by their remarks. Whatever could make my family think that something I saw merit in could be a cult? Later I would realize how accurate their observations had been and how my initial enthusiasm had momentarily blinded me to what should have been obvious.

For several years during the 1980s I had been a co-leader of support groups at my mainline Protestant church (Presbyterian) for a national organization called Fundamentalists Anonymous. The group's meetings were attended by many persons who had been involved in the Jehovah's Witnesses sect. Many of these poor souls were now being shunned and vilified by their former friends and even by their own family members. (The JWs call this kind of disconnection "disfellowshipping". It is what happens to those who are critical of JW theology and won't keep quiet about it.) These ex-Jehovah's Witnesses all described how potential recruits into the sect were at first treated to "lovebombing" to soften them up for joining the group.

This lavish affection and concern shown them, along with the warm and seemingly open fellowship the group seemed to promise, were deeply appealing to certain needy and tender-minded persons. Only later did they discover that this love and camaraderie were conditional upon their quietly accepting all the group's doctrines and upon their never mentioning any inconvenient facts about JW's shady and well-documented history.

RCers, too, when they set out to recruit potential members, are always loving and full of patronizing "appreciation" for the converts. This is RC's version of "lovebombing". It lasts until someone asks forbidden questions about Harvey Jackins that make the leaders feel frightened. This is called an "attack", and it calls for a mindless application of the attack policy. One of the consequences is that the errant member is threatened with the loss of "the resources of the community." If anyone wants to stay in RC he must keep silent about certain major issues. He also runs the risk of being subtly "brainwashed" by this seemingly open, loving, progressive group.

Because of my experience leading support groups for ex-fundamentalists, I had mistakenly thought that I knew more about cults than I really did. I could not yet see how the group to which Charlie Kreiner had introduced me could be a cult. I had attended several of Charlie's non-RC (i.e., "naturalized" RC") workshops and had not yet heard of Re-evaluation Counseling or of its "founder and leading theoretician", Harvey Jackins.

Others in my family had also attended some of Charlie's week-long "naturalized RC" workshops in Oregon. Charlie and I began an active mail and telephone communication. He corresponded with my youngest son. I helped arrange several local non-RC workshops in Kansas City for Charlie; and he stayed at my home when he led them. It had seemed to me that we had a substantial and authentic relationship.

But when I asked Charlie Kreiner about the "rumors" circulating about Jackins and about RC's connection to Dianetics, he abruptly disconnected from me. He wrote me a very distant and formal letter that accused me of being "divisive, destructive, disruptive and negative." In the letter he celebrated Harvey Jackins for having "done more for women's liberation" than anyone else had ever done. Kreiner refused to discuss any aspect of the concerns I had raised.

After receiving his close-to-bizarre letter, I never heard from Charlie Kreiner again. He did not answer any of my subsequent letters or phone calls. (This was long before he became ill with hepatic cirrhosis and had a liver transplant.) I was both surprised and disappointed at his behavior toward me. His actions were similar to the Jehovah's Witnesses and their "disfellowshipping" of those who asked forbidden questions about the JW organization.

While there had seemed to be much to admire about Kreiner, this behavior legitimately calls into question both his discernment and his integrity. I do not know what his current position regarding RC is, now that he himself has been deposed. Many ex-RCers have a habit of not really facing up to the implications of the facts. It can be difficult for any of us to admit that we got involved with a psychotherapy cult.

Charlie's disconnection from me occurred about a year after the two well-attended official RC workshops I had convened at my home. I had invited a number of my friends and professional colleagues to these workshops. Several of them shared some of my initial enthusiasm for RC. You can probably imagine how this well-nigh seventy-year-old psychiatrist and university clinical professor was a bit chagrined to report how little he had actually known about RC and to have to tell of his being summarily excommunicated from the "community" he himself had organized.

The collapse of the nascent Kansas City RC Community notwithstanding, several of us have continued to participate in a reciprocal talking and listening group that is still functioning today. Needless to say, we do not regard it as "RC", and we do not use any of its jargon. You might say we function like a gestalt support group influenced by the ideas of Carl Jung ("active imagination"), Carl Rogers ("unconditional positive regard") and Dorothy Tennov (reciprocal talking and listening among peers). But the organized talking/listening activities of the group did start with our brief involvement in RC.

At the time of the RC workshops I convened at my home, I had not yet appreciated the rigidity, pomposity and inaccuracies in so much of Harvey Jackins' much-vaunted theorizing. I had evaluated RC ideas solely on the basis of the fuzzy and sanitized version of them offered by Charlie Kreiner. I was unaware of the absurd and inflated claims Jackins was in the habit of making for this simple talking/listening procedure. I had never heard the claim that RC might enable one "to become physically immortal", a claim Jackins repeats in his latest book, THE LIST. Charlie had never mentioned any of this.

As many correspondents on this website already know, Kreiner himself was later relieved of his years-long position as RC's "International Liberation Reference Person for Men". Although no one has made any official announcement about it, my suspicion is that Harvey Jackins and his heir-apparent, Timothy Jackins, were glad to rid themselves of this articulate, charismatic leader who might well have threatened their dominance of RC. Charlie Kreiner is a much more appealing and attractive leader than either of these two domineering and manipulative men.

Before being blacklisted, I had attended a number of RC workshops, including three led by Jackins himself. I had visited Personal Counselors. Inc. in Seattle. The last RC workshop I attended was the "INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP FOR PSYCHIATRISTS, PSYCHOLOGISTS & PSYCHOTHERAPISTS" led by Jackins in 1990. It was attended by only one other psychiatrist, a man from Sweden who knew very little about RC and who had been persuaded to attend the workshop because his expenses were paid by Jackins. I later learned that the "international" flavor of many Jackins workshops is enhanced by subsidizing foreign attendees. Not that there is necessarily anything sinister about this, but it does illustrate how important it is to Jackins for RC to be seen as a cosmopolitan and "international" movement. (See the European resignation letter on this website for more examples of how Jackins tries to embellish and inflate his own and RC's image, often by telling outright lies.)

[Here in a good example of Jackins' tendency to inflate and exaggerate. RC's official September 1994 membership roster, entitled "GENERALISTS BY NAME" (i.e., RC members who are not teachers), lists a grand total of 26,151 names and addresses. The list includes everyone known to have had any connection to RC. Although I had been officially ex-communicated in January 1991, my name is still listed in the 1994 publication. The entry is accompanied by the notation "NO LONGER IN RC 93/04/12", a date more than two years after I had been formally expelled!. A number of names and addresses from more than a decade ago include notations like "WRONG INFORMATION, 86/06/02". Not surprisingly, Jackins does not indicate which among the 26,151 names refer to the thousands of persons he has expelled from RC or who have resigned in protest against his hypocrisy. Nor does he indicate those whose sole involvement was to attend but a single meeting of an RC class or "gather in". He does not hesitate to embellish the numbers in order to make RC appear more significant and influential than the facts warrant.]

A recent contributor to this discussion speculated that "around 10,000" persons are currently active in RC. I don't know the true figure, but I suspect it is not nearly that large. It would mean that over one third of all those who had ever participated in RC are still active. This is unlikely. Seattle no longer publishes any numbers, and probably they don't even know for sure.

The Documentary History reprints Jackins' letter from Present Time that he wrote just after the defection of the entire Francophone group in Europe. It is a splendid example of his evasive and dissembling style.

Everything he says about "the attacks" is absurdly distorted. I suspect that he may actually be deluding himself when he talks like this. To persons with little capacity for discernment, Harvey Jackins' spurious self-confidence might also seem convincing. But it should not take too much gumption to recognize his hypocrisy and grandiosity.

At the WORKSHOP FOR PSYCHOTHERAPISTS, I was surprised to observe how even the casual mention of any topic other than RC was immediately and angrily discouraged by Jackins. Any view of therapy other than RC was firmly discounted, usually with a tone of belittling contempt. Jackins refused to allow the comparison of RC with ANY other theoretical system. He was clearly in a praise-seeking mood, and all those who spoke at the meeting were obliged to give credit to him for anything that was good about their work or their "thinking".

One cannot fail to notice the effusive "appreciation" true-believing RCers express for some of the trite statements uttered by Jackins. Some of his trivial pronouncements are treated as if they were Pearls-of-Great-Wisdom. Much of the nicey-nice "appreciation" RCers express for each other amounts to little more than treating each other like naive children who are not expected to be capable of appropriate self-criticism or matter-of-factness about themselves or others. This kind of empty patronizing encourages a rank and profoundly debilitating narcissism. Hypocrisy becomes the order of the day.

Several of us who attended the Jackins psychotherapists workshop talked together and agreed that this was a kind of "professional" meeting such as we had never attended before. I became increasingly puzzled that such a limited, self-centered and pretentious man could retain the loyalty of rational persons.

The explanation for this seeming appearance of loyalty is probably as follows: Jackins has in fact lost the loyalty of the great majority of those with whom he has come into contact. Over the years, far more persons have quit RC in disgust or have been expelled by him than there have ever been active long-term members. The RC organizational process selects out those susceptible persons who have the required peculiarities and vulnerabilities that allow them to remain loyal to a corrupt leader like Jackins. Nearly all well-informed and truly rational persons either leave or get themselves kicked out.

Although at the therapists workshop I had not yet heard the "rumors" about Jackins' customary sexual use of the women he "counsels", I was increasingly uncomfortable with what I saw there. Neither had I yet recognized how clearly the RC organization qualified to be called a "psychotherapy cult" [This term is used in the sense of the definitive article entitled "Psychotherapy Cults: An Iatrogenic Perversion" from the American Psychological Association's journal PSYCHOTHERAPY, Vol. 19, No. 2. The reader should see also the long article on this website by Tourish and Irving of the University of Ulster (U.K.) that deals with the topic of "cultism in RC". Those who keep quibbling about calling RC a cult should read this material before belaboring us further with their opinions.]

At the end of his "psychotherapists" workshop, Jackins ceremoniously announced who was to be the next "International Liberation Reference Person for Therapists." I had not known that there even was such a position. When Jackins announced that the job would remain in the hands of Jane Bunker (who herself had apparently not yet been told of his decision), several of us were surprised at how oddly she behaved. She squealed with joy, clapped her hands, jumped up and down and ran to Jackins and gave him a big hug and kiss. Her behavior was so fawning that many of us looked at each other with shared and embarrassed amazement. A number of the other women participants, however, seemed highly pleased with this great news and clapped their hands in excited approval.

It was clear that Jackins had many well-selected, loyal female supporters at his workshop. Similar claques are observed at many RC events. Some commentators on LRC (see the Vermont material) have expressed the opinion that Jackins appoints to leadership only women who have been intimate with him. Over the years, RC has more and more come to operate like an incest family where it is forbidden ever to mention the perpetrator's misdeeds.  

THE AFTERMATH OF MY EXPULSION FROM RC

Either as a consequence of finding my name on the letterhead in the Documentary History or upon having been referred by the Study Group on Psychotherapy Cults, persons from all over the world soon began to contact me with their own individual concerns about RC.

I soon became an involuntary and non-soliciting consultant sought by those who were upset by what they were learning about RC. Other than having a slight lingering chagrin about my own initial excessive and undiscerning enthusiasm, neither I nor any of my friends in Kansas City had suffered any specific harm from our brief exposure to RC.

However, from the literally scores of persons (almost a hundred) who have called or written to me during the last seven years, I have learned that many persons have indeed been harmed by RC. Some became disillusioned after only a short time, others left after many years when they finally learned the truth Jackins tries to conceal. A few of those who felt harmed were women who had gotten involved in sexual liaisons that they later regretted. Some of these RC-sex affairs had led to divorce or had other harmful life consequences.

A few of those who sought me out were psychologically more-or-less seriously disturbed persons who had mistakenly thought that RC might be a short-cut to therapy for them. Others who called me were "just mad" at the hypocrisy, lying, deception and abuse they had encountered. From my own experience in RC, I found it easy to empathize with this latter group.

For documentation of a number of specific instances of sexual abuse, see the following material on this website: "STATEMENT BY FORMER RC LEADER", Lawsuit filed by Deborah Curren", Letter from Pat Pearson", "Letter from Michael Sweringen", and the Vermont researches. Several of these reports describe "first hand" experiences; others report "second hand" experiences that have a reliable consistency. The documentary history provides many more examples.

For more that a half decade now, I have been fielding questions from many persons who continue to seek me out. I have provided information, offered support, and made appropriate referrals when necessary. I have also met a number of other former RCers who are similarly active in providing information and support to those who consult them. Like me, some of them have spent a great deal of time counseling RC "survivors".

There is by now a large group of persons who at one time or another, and to one degree or another, have been troubled to learn how corrupt the RC organization and its leaders are. This website is the first easily available source of up-to-date information for the growing number of persons who seek accurate information about Jackins and RC. Many of them wish to share their concerns and to learn about the experiences of others. It is a relief for many of us to have this web site to which we may now refer those who consult us. The increasing number of "hits" on LIBERATE RC! (now well over 5000) reveals the burgeoning interest in learning the suppressed truth about Harvey Jackins and his claque.  

BURN-OUT IS A RISK

From the foregoing remarks, you might correctly conclude that one could get burned-out from listening to all this anguished talking about RC. I submit that this kind of "burnout" accounts for my more cantankerous contributions to this list. But dammit, I get sick and tired of the lame, uninformed, inflated, self-righteous and pathetically hopeful remarks made by those who refuse to accept the facts about RC. And I must add that it is troubling to think that Harvey Jackins and his fellow perpetrators might escape from being effectively confronted and continue with their abusive actions. By persuading uninformed or compromised believers to stick up for them, they simply stonewall until the "attackers" give up and go away. I believe that the entire RC organization deserves to be held accountable for the actions of its top leaders, and I strongly disagree with those who hold otherwise. Apologizing for RC amounts to complicity with its deceptive cover-up of the truth and contributes to the misleading of many people.

Probably some of Jackins' apologists are persons who have gotten so deeply involved in the group that their entire world would collapse without RC. Some of them experienced the thrill of "leadership" for the first time in RC. But most only think they are "leading". [Words referring to leadership are put in quotes to emphasize that "leadership" in RC has nothing to do with authentic leadership in the world.] Instead, they get hooked on the patronizing praise lavished upon them if they follow the "policies". This kind of dependency on a cult-like organization has nearly crippled some of RC's leaders for living in "the wide world". The same thing happens in the Jehovah's Witnesses and to members of other abusive groups.

In a manner similar to the televangelists and perhaps a few Scientology executives too, some of RC's apologists make money from teaching and leading workshops under Jackins' aegis. Others enjoy a lot of ego-inflation from being RC "leaders". Many confused persons have persuaded themselves to overlook the flagrantly repeated abuses perpetrated against women who give varying degrees of consent to what happens to them in "counseling" sessions with Jackins and other RC leaders. And probably there are some in RC who simply welcome the company of women who will have sex with their counselors. It is sad to see anyone try to explain or excuse this exploitative situation merely by saying "everyone has a lot of distress around sex". Saying this has become a kind of a paranoid mantra used by true-believers to ward off any thoughtful reflection on the sordid facts.

A number of badly-informed persons endlessly repeat Jackins' inflated dogmas about how good RC is for everyone and for the world. It is irritating to keep hearing these commonly-known and widely-used psychotherapy methods referred to as if they were unique to RC because they are cloaked in Jackins-jargon. It is also sad to hear these useful methods touted as if they are all one needs to resolve the world's problems. This kind of inflated ignorance and gullibility reveals how pathetically compromised and bankrupt the whole "RC Community" and its mindset have become.

Community members are encouraged to believe that the messianic Jackins has found the only valid way to save the world and that nobody else truly understands the nature of human beings or even of reality itself. Maybe it is the simplistic and shallow nature of his doctrines that appeals to those who are unable to face the reality of human complexity.

The word "messianic" is fully appropriate to describe Jackins' doctrines since he has actually suggested that "complete re-emergence" can lead to "physical immortality". While some don't like the term "cult", the word is, nevertheless, commonly used to refer to a number of other groups that promise to outwit death (viz. the recent Heaven's Gate group). In the opinion of many of us, this claim regarding immortality alone warrants calling RC a psychotherapy cult.

Some correspondents on this list seem only to fuss about the term "cult" in their pointless postings. Apparently they do so in order to escape having to confront anything relevant about the actual situation in RC.

Lest the reader think the notion of living forever is not a tenet of RC, let him consult Jackins' latest 1997 book, THE LIST. Its 272 pages are, just like the Bible, organized into numbered chapters and verses. It is breathlessly and grandly described as "a summary of everything known about the theory and practice of Re-evaluation Counseling up to the present." It refers in all seriousness to "the attainment of immortality." The book is available for $50 from Rational Island Publishers in Seattle.

For all of the forgoing reasons, when I read on this RC discussion list that somebody or other is offended by vigorous and less-than-friendly confrontation, or by the word "cult", or by expressed anger & outrage, or who is "scared shitless" (as one writer actually wrote) by the tone of the discussion, then I feel like saying: "Oh Shit! Come off it!". Climb down from RC's lofty position of superiority and feigned goodness. Just discuss frankly the issues raised. Isn't that the purpose of this list?"

It has seemed to me that some of those who claim to be offended by the tone of a critical discussion are like the satisfied Germans during the Third Reich who disapproved of any criticism of Hitler. They refused to listen to or learn anything bad about him. Evidently they found his policies and tactics close enough to their own views that they continued to support him, even as the rest of the "wide world" was learning the truth about him. Maybe they, too, wanted to spare the leader and his followers the "painful re-stimulation of being confronted with their own material out-of-session". (Sadly, a lot of RCers really do talk like this!)

I still find it worthwhile to stay in touch with those who are interested in a serious, honest and robust discussion of this interesting phenomenon. I used to be in contact with members of the Study Group on Psychotherapy Cults, and I have seen much of the group's accumulated documentary material about Jackins and RC. Much of it consists of letters and reports about the activities of the top leaders. The material assembled by the Study Group contains many compromising letters to and from Harvey Jackins, letters that he no doubt wishes had never been preserved. He is understandably unhappy when they come back to haunt him. Regrettably, many of these letters were not included in the Study Group's excellent Documentary History.

Apparently the Study Group has now largely disbanded. It is easy to see why its members could get tired of the enduring hypocrisy shown by Jackins and his supporters. Like Jane (a former subscriber to this list) said in her last post when she quit "I'm washing my hands of the IRCC's problems. I'm tired of thinking about them." Yet, the purpose of this list is the discussion of these very problems.

Some of the Study Group's erstwhile members have no doubt found this Website and are lurking out there now. It would be good to hear from them. Some of them may have additional documentary material or other information that no one else has seen yet. I hope those who have such information will make it available here.

Because of the nature of the abuse sustained by some RC participants, it is easy to understand why they might be reluctant or even fearful to reveal their personal experiences. Occasionally RCers have been very nasty in their treatment of so-called "attackers". (See comments in the Hurwitz/Dickens investigation on LRC under "ARTICLES".) The anonymity and pseudonymousness of this list provide some protection. While it could also make mendacious hit-and-run tactics possible. I have never seen any grossly irresponsible postings by RC's critics.  

LET RC's DEFENDERS RESPOND TO THE REAL ISSUES

Some (but not all) of the correspondents on this list refuse to address the uncomfortable facts about Jackins and RC, and they appear to minimize the significance of the information about his abuses and his hypocrisy. They try to explain the situation by grandly proclaiming "Harvey is only human and therefore has some patterns, too. He does not deserve to be attacked for them." According to this standard, no liar, hypocrite or abuser could ever be confronted about the mischief he does.

It is easy to recognize these apologists by their evasiveness and their tendency to discount those who demand relevant answers. They have a tone of sanctimonious piety that exceeds even my own. Such persons usually begin with praise for one or another aspect of RC. They talk about how much it has helped them. They usually embroider their remarks with jargon terms such as "re-stimulation", "patterns", "dramatizing", "clienting", "having enough slack", and "talking about somebody's material out of session". They counterattack by focusing on the style of pointed criticisms and thereby evade their content. They never explain how RC's leaders could still practice such hypocrisy, other than to say "Nobody's perfect; leaders have their patterns too". For some easily-satisfied persons, this all-excusing formula is all that needs to be said.

A recent contributor like a good many other RCers, full of dogmatic and jargon-laced advice for everybody else wrote: "There is so much about RC that is valuable and wise." I believe there is a crucial problem with the writer's words "about RC". The writers of sweeping and empty statements like this are usually persons who have gotten excited about the few useful techniques they have been introduced to. Since RC was their only exposure to these widely used techniques, they have bought Harvey Jackins' flatus that these commonly held ideas are unique to RC and originated with him. They become RC's "true believers".

Such misguided persons believe that the benefits of these psychological techniques are available only in RC. The truth is that the Jackinses have perverted them in the service of their own unhealed addictions to sex and power. But HJ & Co. must be given credit for being successful in convincing gullible persons to stick up for them.

Like L. Ron Hubbard, Harvey Jackins and his followers make a lot of outrageous and stupid remarks on issues they know nothing about. They pontificate about philosophy, politics, psychology and psychiatry. They denigrate all non-RC approaches to healing or to anything else. They are particularly hard on traditional mental health approaches, and even then, mostly for the wrong reasons.

RC has a special support group with its own "journal" for "MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM SURVIVORS (MHSS)". The journal contains little but paranoid ranting. The MHSS group totally ignores the large constituency of persons who have been deceived and injured by RC itself. Those who speak up about what has happened to them in RC are dismissively relegated to the category of "re-stimulated attackers". Joan Karp, an RC workshop leader referred to in earlier postings on this list, is a frequent spokeswoman for this MHSS group. Karp often joins forces with those who speak like Scientologists.

A group of letters written by a former RC Area Reference Person from Somerville, Massachusetts, Jassy Kowalski, is included in the Final Supplement (October 1997) to the Documentary History. In Kowalski's resignation letter to her RRP, Joan Karp, and to those RCers she formerly led, Kowalski describes the reasons for her resignation. She is one of many former RCers to resign in disgust. One sees no discussion of these events in Present Time.

Psychological "catharsis" (meaning to cleanse or purify as with a cathartic for a blocked-up colon) has long been understood as sometimes (and ONLY sometimes) healing. The ancient Greeks and Sigmund Freud used it. Today, the practitioners of gestalt therapy and psychodrama continue to explore and exploit its therapeutic potential. There is a large and sophisticated professional literature on the topic. Harvey Jackins' "hydraulic" view of catharsis ("discharge of dammed-up distress") is only a pale shadow of the real thing.

I suggest that there is nothing good "about RC" that is not also broadly known and practiced in the "wide world". Those who don't know anything about psychotherapy and the rich variety of techniques currently practiced are the ones most likely to be taken in by HJ. They are also often the ones who scream the loudest about "the abuses perpetrated by THE MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM". (There are, of course, some abuses in this "system". But, unlike the situation in RC, the ethical mental health system is very often successful in exposing and eliminating the kinds of abuses rampant in RC.). RC's eccentric Mental-Health-System-survivors turn a blind eye to survivors of the flagrant abuse perpetrated right under their noses in RC.

Interested persons would profit from reading the book "Sexual Exploitation on Professional Relationships" by Glen O. Gabbard, MD, published by American Psychiatric Press, Inc., 1989. Gabbard discusses the extreme damage done to the sexually exploited client and how both client and counselor may deny this to themselves. The "lovesick" therapist is illustrated in thoughtful detail as an emotionally dependent man, plagued by middle-age woes. Readers of Gabbard's book will find an accurate and sophisticated psychological picture of men like the Jackinses.

The "Open Letter To The RC Communities" written by Jackins' personal secretary Katie Kauffman, is a pathetic example of the type of denial referred to by Dr. Gabbard. Her letter appeared in Present Time No. 41, October, 1981. It is one of the many original RC documents assembled in the Documentary History.

A recent posting here is relevant to Gabbard's book. An Anonymous Contributor wrote: "I've been to several of Harvey's workshops. Probably 3 / 4 or more of the Caucasians he has used in demos were young women who would be considered attractive by society's standards of beauty. He carried on an ongoing conversation with the women and three of them were eventually given reference person positions. He bullied and humiliated most of the Caucasian men who attempted to get his attention (not me - I had an instant intuitive distrust of him and tried to avoid him). He had a completely different manner when talking with women. He was curt and sometimes sarcastic with men." Many others, including myself, have made similar observations.

There is nothing good "about RC" that is unique to it, but there is a lot about RC that is really bad. RC's "policies" are geared toward protecting errant leaders, like the Jackinses and others, from having to take responsibility for their actions. There is nothing unique "about RC" that ought to be preserved.

There are good reasons to argue that the RC name, along with all of RC's top leaders, and most of its "policies" are best gotten rid of entirely. Merely to gratify the nostalgia of misinformed enthusiasts is a poor reason to perpetuate a deceptive and hypocritical group. It would be better to start over again, with a clean slate and a wholesome integrity.

In spite of all the reliable information available on this web site and elsewhere, there will always be some who accept Jackins' evasions and his paranoid explanations (e.g., about involvement of the FBI, the CIA, etc.). Such persons refuse to acknowledge the complexity of life, and they sadly cling to their leader's grandiose and simplistic ó but reassuring ó pronouncements that "discharge" brings "re-emergence". We see this same phenomenon in other cult-like groups. Simplistic answers to complex human problems are deeply appealing, even when they fail as dismally as they have failed for Jackins himself. (The ".ex-cult Archive" web page is recommended as a source of information about other groups with characteristics similar to RC's, but those who wear RC's blinders are unable to recognize the many similarities.)

I assert categorically that I am not and have never been an agent of the FBI. the CIA, or a "repressive Government Agency" of any kind. I doubt that any members of the Study Group on Psychotherapy Cults are connected with "Government agencies" either. I know at first hand that the so-called "Kansas City people" (another term used by the same defensive RRP referred to earlier) are not government-affiliated either.

Jackins has been able to convince a few conspiracy-theory fans that he is being persecuted by "U S Government Agencies". The reason he gives for the government's enmity is that RC is such a revolutionary and overwhelmingly successful enterprise (remember, it can solve the world's problems and lead to immortality!) that the very Government itself is threatened by RC's power and magnificence. Consequently, the government's leaders are envious and frightened of him and of RC. I suspect that Harvey Jackins may even believe this preposterous fable himself. His capacity for self-deception is matched only by his followers gullibility and their eccentric mindset.

Many persons will no doubt continue to report nothing but wonderful experiences from their RC involvement. But such satisfaction is far from universal. Although RC's defenders resent having to hear it, many persons say that continued support for the organization is contrary to RC's own stated principles. The pitiable and uninformed (but much-encouraged by Jackins) belief in the uniqueness and marvelousness of RC keeps the fires of loyalty burning brightly in the minds of dim thinkers.

Any person who is involved or considers getting involved in RC deserves to know the truth about the organization. Those who know the facts and who are still committed to RC have no right to prevent others from finding out the truth. It is merely manipulative to define these facts as "an organized illegitimate attack" (an RRP's actual words in a letter to one of her flock who had begun to ask questions).

It is interesting to read on this Liberate RC! website about experiences that one could never learn about from official RC sources where one finds only puffed up testimonials to Harvey Jackins. While LRC provides a hypertext link to the IRCC's official Seattle Internet site, Jackins provides no links to anywhere else. His is one of the few pages on the World Wide Web that offers no links to any other site. This fact alone says something significant about him and about his attitudes. Those who refuse to see it are deluding themselves.

Translate this page automatically. rd_pin.gif (1016 bytes)

        

Articles      Documents      Links      Contact Info      Discussions