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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings



In 1999, Mr. Oizo released the song “Flat Beat.” At the time, I appreciated the way its varied tones sounded in my headphones, because I couldn’t play it as loud as I wanted to while residing in a military barracks.


I later saw a video for the track and appreciated the introduction of puppet character Flat Eric, who went on to become a popular feature in Levi’s commercials. Personally, I hoped for collaboration between Flat Eric and DJ Qbert’s Skratchy Seal, though not all hopes come to fruition.


At any rate, when considering “Flat Beat” and how it relates to my practice of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I think of irrational beliefs relating to low frustration tolerance (LFT). Here are some LFT narratives with which you may be familiar:


·  I can’t stand this!


·  I couldn’t bear the thought of that!


·  I can’t even!


·  I literally cannot right now!


·  This is unbearable!


·  He’s intolerable!


·  She’s insufferable!


LFT beliefs of this sort are unproductive, because we assume these narratives are true when in fact they aren’t. For example, if you believe, “I can’t take another minute of watching the ‘Flat Beat’ video with that annoying yellow puppet, Flat Eric,” you’re essentially convincing yourself that you’re literally unable to tolerate a video that you merely consider disagreeable.


While it may be true that you don’t appreciate Mr. Oizo’s song or a silly little puppet, is it factually correct that you cannot accept and tolerate audiovisual content which you consider obnoxious? Slight adjustment to a rigid attitude may serve you well.


When telling yourself that you “can’t take” the video, you create a scenario by which your frustration tolerance decreases. Convinced that you literally can’t abide Mr. Oizo’s content, you may emotionally react to your assumption by disturbing yourself into a disgusted disposition.


Rather than causing an LFT reaction of this sort, you could use frustration-lowering acceptance and tolerance (FLAT). Suppose that when encountering the “Flat Beat” video you helpfully tell yourself, “I really dislike this beat and that puppet, though I can indulge it for several minutes or so.”


With this FLAT approach, you can achieve high frustration tolerance (HFT). The outcome for an HFT belief may relate to mild annoyance, slight frustration, or insignificant disappointment. Would you prefer these outcomes to disgust that accompanies an LFT belief?


I’ve accepted and tolerated the fact that Flat Eric and Skratchy Seal haven’t collaborated after all these years. Regarding this matter, I use FLAT to achieve HFT by admitting that not all hopes come to fruition and I can stand this disappointing outcome.


Although the “FLAT” acronym isn’t an REBT concept, this is what I think of when listening to “Flat Beat” and considering how the song relates to REBT. Therefore, next time you upset yourself with an LFT narrative, I invite you to try a FLAT approach to see whether or not you can achieve an HFT outcome.


If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.


As the world’s original electronic dance music (EDM)-influenced REBT psychotherapist—promoting content related to EDM, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters. 


At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!



Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW



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