Background

The Pajaro Valley Sunrise Center is a residential drug free recovery center. Our mission is to assist people to free themselves from psychiatric drugs and to teach others to spread this work. The center will be capable of assisting a small number of residents at a time. Through the intensive use of Re-evaluation Counseling (RC), residents will be helped with the symptoms of withdrawal as well as the emotional issues that resurface as the drugs leave their system. The residents will be active partners in this endeavor. They will come to the center ready to stop taking drugs and will proceed at their own pace. In collaboration with the staff, residents will plan their activities and assist in planning their emotional healing process. The goal is to have residents get off drugs safely, and return home in charge of their emotional issues, able to use the tools of Re-evaluation Counseling, and with a support system waiting for them. The theory behind the center is the theory of Re-evaluation Counseling. Since its beginning in the early 1950's, Re-evaluation Counseling theory and practice have been based on the rediscovery that humans have a natural ability to heal from emotional as well as physical hurts. People heal from all types of hurtful experiences as they release the feelings associated with those hurts. The outward signs of this healing process are: crying, shaking, sweating, raging, laughing, yawning, stretching and talking. Re-evaluation Counseling refers to all these as discharge. There is no limit to the depth of hurt that can be healed with the discharge process.

We believe that all humans experience enough hurt throughout our lives to produce significant limitations in our ability to use our minds fully. Some of these hurts are random such as the death of a loved one. Other hurts are systematically caused by the various oppressions in the society, such as racism, sexism, mental health oppression and many more. Some people react to being hurt in ways that lead them into the mental health system, and they get labeled as mentally ill. In our view, all irrational behaviors are caused by the individual being hurt, and all can be discharged fully.

As people use Re-evaluation Counseling to discharge the painful emotions that were associated with the old hurt, they re-evaluate their past experience and are able to think better in the present. Their current thinking and behavior become less guided by the old hurts, and consequently, they can live more fully and intelligently.

A major obstacle in people's work to heal from old hurts is the misconception that the preoccupation with those hurts and the release of feelings in an attempt to heal them is mental illness. The current dominant theory about mental illness is that it is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and that this imbalance is best corrected by drugs. The theory of Re-evaluation Counseling runs counter to this idea. Instead, Re-evaluation Counseling has found that the psychiatric drugs prescribed to correct this supposed chemical imbalance actually impede the natural healing processes of discharge and re-evaluation. Drug treatment leads people to believe that their hurts are their individual problem, lets the oppressions go unchallenged, and creates additional layers of injury. The drugs cause a large number of ill effects and structural changes in the brain. They create emotional dependence on the mental health system and leave people feeling that they can t function without the drugs.

The Pajaro Valley Sunrise Center will help people to get off psychiatric drugs safely, and assist them by teaching, counseling, and supporting them in their work to live their lives more intelligently and creatively. Residents will have 4 or more Co-Counseling sessions per day, either with the full time staff, or with other residents. In addition, there will be a large number of activities designed to help people keep their attention in the present such as gardening, exercise, music, and art.

We will demonstrate to doctors and other healthcare professionals that people can heal emotionally without the use of psychiatric drugs. We will also train a large number of staff so that this work can be spread to other sites.