Peer Counseling

How it works

“Human beings have the innate ability to heal themselves from emotional (& sometimes physical) pain through the process of emotional discharge, which is the ability to laugh, cry, and express righteous indignation.  This discharging of deep feelings, when done in a safe & supportive environment, is the bridge to healing” —RC Theory

For many years I was involved in an organization called Reevaluation Counseling (RC). As a teacher of this work, I taught co-counseling to many, many people.  This is a simple yet profound process where two people sitting together learn how to really listen to each other, talk about whatever is up for them, to work on healing past and present hurts, to celebrate their successes, and to take intentional steps towards change in their lives.  

For a mutually agreed period of time, one person is in the "counselor" role and the other is in the "client" role. For the second half of the session the roles are reversed.  Co-counseling is not simply a conversation as the person in the counselor role offers complete undivided attention and an attitude of non-judgmental support to the client, so that the client can work through their own issues in an atmosphere of complete safety. A strict agreement of confidentiality is agreed upon by all participants.


Co-counseling is founded on the principle that we each have within us our own answers.  There is no advice-giving where the message is often that we can’t figure things out for ourselves and we need others to give us the answers.  That we each have it within us to find our way is extremely empowering and respectful.  It allows people to reach deeply and find their own inner truth. 

An important aspect of the theory is the belief that we human beings are born with an innate ability to heal ourselves from the effects of past emotional hurts. This natural healing process is the expression of our emotions--to laugh, cry, express anger, etc.  Because it is often not acceptable to express our deepest feelings, we learn to suppress or overlook them.  It is one thing to talk about how we feel, but it is another to actually feel those feelings.  To have a safe place to discharge as we do in a co-counseling group, is what makes this work both profound and deeply healing.

Gaining Tools

This powerful work was the impetus for me to decide to become a psychotherapist.  Then after years of graduate school and training in the many different types of counseling modalities available, I came to believe that co-counseling was still some of the most profound work I have experienced, both in terms of its theory and its practice.

I am happy to offer a co-counseling class to people who are interested in learning this peer counseling process. Because of the nature of the work, it is important that people in a co-counseling group be in good enough emotional shape to be able to put their own issues aside and really be there for someone else. Interested people will be interviewed to see if a co-counseling group is appropriate for them.

Co-counseling is a wonderful tool for friends to share with each other, to deepen already close friendships.  Partners can use these tools in their relationship as they learn to separate out the feelings from what is the reality, and learn how to really listen to the other instead of endlessly quarreling back & forth with no one really listening.  When people learn how to take turns listening to each other, particularly when they know that they will have a turn be heard as well, things go much better.   

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to be part of a co-counseling group in the Sebastopol area. 707-634-4824