These answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about “mental health” issues are based on the theory of Reevaluation Counseling (RC). A brief introduction to that theory follows. You can find a thorough presentation at http://www.rc.org/.
Mental Health Liberation
People come into the world inherently good, intelligent, thoughtful, cooperative, zestful, and with all other positive human qualities intact. Exceptions are the few people with damage to the forebrain, and these people, too, have many inherently human qualities intact. We are vulnerable to emotional hurt, which can mask and distort our inherent qualities, but we also have an innate ability to heal from such hurts.
We believe people want a society where oppression and mistreatment are ended, where people cooperate in mutually beneficial projects, and where all resources are used in sustainable ways. In such a society a “mental health” system would be unnecessary. Everyone would be a part of a caring, supportive network. Children would be allowed to discharge hurts as they occurred so that deep hurts did not accumulate to ruin people’s lives.
The resources needed to solve the problems people face are caring, undistracted attention, listening, encouragement of discharge, speaking out against mistreatment, and thinking put into action. While the RC Community is limited in what it can provide (although it is growing and committed to spreading the understanding of these valuable tools), friends and families can learn the tools of RC well in order to listen to and support people, and help them set up lives that work better. Supportive networks can eventually be set up so that everyone will have enough resource.
The “mental health” system has a concept of “normality” that permeates our society. Their concept of what is “normal” is based on the status quo. The status quo is based on what is acceptable to the cultural standards set by the groups that are in power, which often are a minority of the people in any society (for example, white men). The cultural standards of groups that don’t have economic or political power are seen as “less than,” “weird,” or “strange.” People from those groups are treated as not “normal.”
Yes, they can be allies, just as anyone else can. Using the RC process can make them better allies. “Mental health” workers’ interests are inherently the same as those of “mental health” patients. It’s in everyone’s interest to work towards all human beings recovering their connection to their full intelligence, full humanness. This can be attained by us all using the natural recovery process. As allies, they are in a position to make a big difference.
The “mental health” system has a theory that there is such a thing as “chemical imbalance” in the brain, necessitating drug therapy. But this has never been validated scientifically, even though many studies have tried to. Historically, the “biochemical imbalance” theory is rooted in the mechanistic view of the mind that came out of the industrial revolution and became prevalent in the mid-1800s, and developed as part of the push for psychiatry to be legitimized as a medical profession. More recently, the drive for profit from the drug companies has led to heavy promotion of the theory.
If everyone, including people in the “mental health” system, used the RC process, people would be much less likely to become dangerous, because there would be places to work on feelings in an ongoing way and in a way that steadily reduced the intensity of the feelings, instead of allowing them to build up and then be acted out. When people act in dangerous ways, they do need to be removed from situations where they can do harm until they are no longer tempted to do harm.
People who are involved in RC have Co-Counseling partners with whom they have regular Co-Counseling sessions. Co-Counselors use these sessions both to address difficult issues in their current lives and to heal from past hurts that otherwise would continue to surface and distort their lives. When someone in RC has a crisis, they already have a personal support network of Co-Counselors to draw upon to schedule extra sessions to address the emergency.
Yes. Using the natural tools of Re-evaluation Counseling, permanent recovery is possible. Although it may take years to recover completely from some hurts, people can fairly quickly recover enough to regain control of their lives, have closer connections with people, and experience fewer difficulties in daily activities while they are on the road to full recovery.