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 of 12, 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.