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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Active and Directive


I once attended a life-sized corn maze in which participants were invited to navigate various paths that led to twists, turns, and dead ends. More than once, my friends and I got lost in the maize labyrinth.


Thankfully, there were printed maps, fellow passersby, and elevated platforms upon which maze workers sat, ready to assist as needed. Ultimately, I had a good time maneuvering in and out of cornstalk-lined paths and my friends seemed to have enjoyed the excursion, as well.


Now, I think back to that time and wonder what it would’ve been like to traverse the terrain at nighttime. Add to the level of difficulty, how might a thunderstorm have impacted my experience?


Rain beating down, ankle-deep in mud, low visibility due to darkness of night and rustling vegetation, no map or passersby, and no one to guide me doesn’t sound like the sort of activity in which I’d want to participate. In fact, given that scenario, I’d appreciate active and directive help.


The challenging metaphor of a nighttime stroll through a corn maze during inclement weather isn’t dissimilar to the experience of mental, emotional, and behavioral self-disturbance many people frequently endure. Quite a few individuals become lost in mazes produced by irrational beliefs.


Using Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I offer active and directive help to passersby in search of a way out the unpleasant consequences of unhelpful beliefs. By “active” I’m referring to that which is characterized by action rather than by contemplation or speculation.


I’m not the sort of psychotherapist who merely sits upon an elevated platform and passively observes people meandering in a maze below me. I take an active role by engaging in dialogue, shaping conversations, modeling behavior, using role play, and employing a number of other dynamic approaches to therapy.


By “directive” I’m referencing behavior that serves to direct, guide, and usually impel toward an action, interest, or goal. Particularly, I use psychoeducation to promote understanding of, foster belief in, and encourage practice of REBT.


This is akin to providing a map to a person lost in a corn maze. Through use of active and directive psychotherapy, I focus more on helping people get better, not necessarily aiming to merely help them feel better.


Which would you rather have if lost in a dark, cold, and wet maze—someone who offers passive and indirect encouragement (e.g., “You’re deserving of love and support, so hang in there.”) or an individual who uses active and directive help (e.g., “Keep using the flashlight and map, because it looks like you have two lefts and then a right to go.”)?


According to one source, “REBT has sometimes been pictured as very active and directive (even harsh). This is false! Depending on the client and his/her problems, in the context of a sound therapeutic relationship, REBT can be very active and directive and/or very metaphorical.”


I’m an active and directive REBT psychotherapist, though I don’t consider myself to be particularly harsh. As demonstrated herein, I use metaphorical examples which I hope will communicate a pragmatic approach to getting better.


Moreover, page 41 of The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion invites REBT practitioners to be active and directive with clients. As well, it encourages clinicians to alter the style of intervention as clients assume more personal ownership so that they can eventually perform more of the effort in- and outside of sessions.


Alas, I’m aware that some clients prefer a therapist to remain dormant and non-directive in sessions, listening as the person bitches, whines, moans, and complains about being lost in a nightmarish corn maze scenario. For such individuals, I genuinely hope you find what you’re looking for—even if that means you’re seeking to remain willfully lost in suffering.


For others, I remain ready to actively find you in the labyrinth and provide you direction with a map. Once you maneuver through the discomfort of the self-disturbing beliefs which placed you in the maze to begin with, you can get better and hopefully stop visiting corn mazes on stormy nights.


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—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.


As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging 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




David, D. (n.d.). Rational emotive behavior therapy in the context of modern psychological research. Albert Ellis Institute. Retrieved from

Dryden, W. and Neenan, M. (2003). The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion. Albert Ellis Institute. ISBN 0-917476-26-3. Library of Congress Control Number: 20031044378

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2024, January 2). Interests and goals. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, November 7). Personal ownership. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2024, January 1). Psychoeducation. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, March 25). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. 2024, January 16). Understanding, belief, and practice. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

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