Dianetics – Co-counseling and Accessible Homeostasis

In the 50’s Ron Hubbard published a book about his work called Dianetics. It was revolutionary in its claims of self-help psychotherapy, because until then such healing had been firmly in the hands of specialists or cults such as Subud – both being jealous of their field and requiring either high fees or membership. In a readily understandable book Hubbard described how people could help themselves. The book gave details about re-experiencing childhood trauma, of remembering life in the womb, of full memory, and how childhood pain causes the person to function inefficiently. Unfortunately his work led to the formation of The Church of Scientology, which has signs of being another cult.

One of the offshoots of Dianetics, even though it fails to claim itself as such, is Re-Evaluation Counseling or Co-Counseling, which unlike Scientology, makes itself available to the public easily and at little or no cost. Also it clearly works with the process of self-regulation. In 1964 Harvey Jackins published a pamphlet called The Postulates of Re-Evaluation Counseling. In summary these postulates say:

· . . the essence of rational human behaviour consists of responding to each instant of living with a new response, created afresh at that moment to precisely fit and handle the situation of that moment as that situation is defined by the information received through the senses of the person. . . Each human with a physically undamaged brain has a large inherent capacity for this kind of behaviour. . .The natural emotional tone of a human being is zestful enjoyment of life. The natural relationship between any two human beings is loving affection, communication and cooperation. The special human capacity for rational response is interrupted by an experience of physical or emotional distress. Information input through the senses then stores as an unevaluated and rigid accumulation, exhibiting the characteristics of a very complete, literal recording of all aspects of the incident.

Immediately after the distress experience is concluded or at the first opportunity thereafter, the distressed human spontaneously seeks to claim the attention of another human. If they are successful in claiming this aware attention of the other person, a process of what has been called ‘discharge’ ensues.

Discharge is signaled externally by one or more of a precise set of physical processes. These are: crying or sobbing (with tears), trembling with cold perspiration, laughter, angry shouting and vigorous movement with warm perspiration, live interested talking; and in a slightly different way, yawning, often with scratching or stretching. Discharge requires considerable time for completion.

In actual practise two people contract to work together. One listens while the other talks over areas of pain or deep feeling and enters into discharge. They then swap roles. It is a very simple and effective technique. As such it cuts out all the negative aspects attendant on gurus and cults, while remaining highly effective and much more available.

The work of Dr. Caron Kent, as summarised by his book The Puzzled Body, while not as influential as some of the approaches mentioned, is nevertheless important. He began to explore homeostasis because of his own need by giving himself regular time at a typewriter and writing spontaneously whatever came to mind. In this way he found he began to contact areas of experience and feeling previously unavailable. He developed this in his practice as a psychotherapist into working with the body and feelings directly. He writes of his work as dealing with the self-regulatory forces, and deplores physicians and therapists who are blind to their importance. One of the interesting aspects of his work is that he took careful measurements of his patients and found that as they were able to allow their being to release its own self-regulatory process, their bodies achieved their growth potential. In adults head size changed radically, as with feet, chest, etc. Kent concluded that painful or non integrated experience interfered with the growth processes in body and personality. When such experiences were released and integrated, the growth processes were released to complete their work.

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