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Re-evaluation Counseling (RC) is a counseling/psychotherapy movement founded by the late Harvey Jackins and based on the application of the techniques of Dianetics and Scientology to a Marxist and identity politics-based analysis of societal oppression, racism, and sexism. Jackins was both the 1950s Pacific Northwest organizer for L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics movement and a socialist labor organizer. The target audience of RC is the left-wing liberation movements that came out of the 1960s and 70s, such as women's liberation, anti-racism, etc. RC generally presents itself to its target audience as a method of using emotional release techniques (derived from Scientology) to free persons from patterns of behavior imposed on them by systemic racism, sexism, and classism in society, but did not openly disclose the origin of its techniques in Dianetics. The claim of RC is that this emotional release can free people of the effects of societal oppression leaving them re-empowered to change the world.
Relation to Scientology
RC is not a part of the Scientology organization, which Jackins officially left in the mid 1950s, and is sometimes characterized, using the Scientology terminology, as part of the "Free Zone" of those using Scientology practices outside of the official sanction of the Church of Scientology. In 1957, the Church of Scientology wrote the FBI requesting they investigate Harvey Jackins, who at the time had left Hubbard's organization but was still calling himself a Dianetics auditor, as a Communist. The FBI, who considered Hubbard a mental case, typically ignored such letters from the Co$.
RC's main practice is "co-counseling", involving two people who take turns being the counselor and counselee. It is somewhat similar to early Dianetics "auditing" (circa early 1950s) in that it does not use more recent Scientology practices such as the E-Meter, except that both persons approach the session as equals (in contrast to Dianetics auditing where one person only does the auditing and the other person is the one audited.) Each person is encouraged to share their experiences with the other, in the process supposedly uncovering deep-seated issues from their past which they are then encouraged to bring to the surface and act out in emotional ways - crying, laughing, shaking. This is supposed to discharge those past issues and help each person put them behind them.
This practice of re-visiting old traumatic experiences and bringing them out in especially emotional ways is found within many therapy and self-help disciplines and is not limited to RC and Scientology (it is also found, for example, in Gestalt and encounter therapy, primal scream therapy, and in some psychotherapy methods intended to treat post-traumatic stress disorder). Its effectiveness is controversial within mainstream psychology - it was a popular concept from the 1950s to the 1970s, but much research since indicates that re-visiting and emotionalizing old traumatic experiences can do more harm than good for many people; such experiences are buried and compartmentalized in the past for a good reason.
Response to criticism
Re-evaluation Counselling does not permit criticism of its leaders. Any discussion or disagreement in the organization is regarded as an attack, which the organization is under instruction to ignore. Anyone who criticizes the leadership is asked to apologize and, if they do not, they are asked leave the group.
Involvement on the political left
"United to End Racism" is a RC front group which has participated in several conferences of identity politics and anti-racism movements such as the Durban World Conference against Racism, the World Social Forum in Caracas, and the White Privilege Conference 2006. RCers are also encouraged to bring RC principles and techniques into other activist groups they are members of, such as labor, environmental, and feminist organizations, to expose them to RC on the pretext of making them more effective by "discharging" their members of their internalized oppressions. The RC-coined concepts "internalized oppression" and "co-counseling" have passed into the broader parlance of psychotherapy and self-help movements.
- Erhard Seminars Training, similar in its heavy borrowing from Scientology and claims to break up destructive behavior patterns
- Social Therapy, similar in its claims to free people of systemic oppression based on a Marxist and identity politics analysis