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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings



It’s a curious experience working with clients who are involved in intimate partner relationship issues when I’ve long since gone my own way from such forms of romantic connection. Still, I recall times when I self-disturbed with irrational beliefs about similar sentimental accord.


Alas, practice of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) doesn’t require a psychotherapist to know what a client’s experience is like in order to help a person. Besides, how could I help an airplane crash survivor or person who survived a school shooting when I’ve never endured these issues?


Therefore, when I hear of someone who experiences anguish regarding love, I address this matter using REBT techniques related to the ABC model and unconditional acceptance. I’d do the same for airplane crash and school shooting survivors, as well.


For example, suppose a hypothetical client sought my services for an intimate partner issue similar to that described in rapper Alfred Banks’ song “Alone,” from his 2021 album One Guy Standing by Himself. I’d address his matter as follows:


[First verse]

You’ve got everything that I would need and more

Your timing is so perfect, that’s for sure

And it’s natural to wonder what’s in store

But I know it’s better than all I have endured

When I felt like love was far away

You came and took my heart away

The way I feel is hard to say

I think of you, girl, all I can say

Is, “La. La da da da.

La da da da daaaa.

La da da daa.”


Here, Banks describes a common experience of the in-love or infatuation stage of romantic interest. Unlike love acquired over time, through the endurance of hardship and ability to compromise regarding desires and needs, initial fascination can leave people speaking gibberish to themselves and others. Regarding this experience, I stated in a blogpost entitled Luv(sic):


I suppose one could argue from a materialist perspective, declaring that the chemical composition of attraction—or what many refer to as being “in love”—is comprised by fluctuation of dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin, and phenylethylamine.


In a literal sense, people can make themselves high – and altogether nonsensical – while experiencing infatuation of this sort. When intoxicated on one’s own chemicals, it isn’t likely that rational thinking based on logical and reason will automatically occur.


I suppose there’s an evolutionary explanation to why people become irrational for relatively short periods of time – typically up to six months in duration. Poor decision-making ability could result in the continuation of life when heterosexual couples engage in ill-planned coitus.


In any case, Banks’ first verse describes his love interest miraculously fulfilling a craving the rapper had all but forsaken. When hearing clients express thoughts and beliefs of similar composition, I use the process of disputation to help them think in a more rational and realistic manner.


Although Banks or the character about whom he raps isn’t seen by me, I find the chorus of “Alone” to be quite revealing. It expresses, “I’m never alone, I never be lonely,” stated four times.


It would appear as though an almost otherworldly being has fully satisfied an intimate partner’s desires and needs, presumably leading to eternal bliss. Again, when I hear irrationality of this sort discussed by clients, I use an active-directive approach to disputing.


No one person can fulfill all of another individual’s demands, at least not to my knowledge. Therefore, when irrationally perceiving otherwise, it may be time to start asking critical questions. “Alone” continues:


[Second verse]

Word. Oh, you think you hot

You saw what I was missin’ and you filled that spot

I was on a mission just to not get hurt

But now you got me feelin’ like I just got shot

But with Cupid’s arrow, target was narrow

My heart is on my sleeve and that’s my favorite ‘pparel

Along with a flat note, some brand new J’s

I feel like I’m livin’ in some brand new days

But I lose track of time starin’ in your gaze

Vanish in a labyrinth, ‘cause you are amazin’

And you’re what I’m cravin’

I didn’t know my heart was yellin’ save me

But apparently it was, ‘cause then you showed up

And then you showed love, it’s all sewed up

Yeah, there’s other women, but man, so what?

Go search for what? Thanks for showin’ up


Banks describes his affection for the woman of his interest. While there’s nothing inherently unhealthy about his admissions, I wonder what would occur for the client whose temporary high from being in-love eventually subsided.


The body is in a constant state of equilibrium using a process known as homeostasis. The chemical dump one experiences will eventually diminish. Therefore, what may occur with the residual irrational beliefs one experiences as a result of the chemical high?


It’s quite plausible that without the influence of stimulating hormones, one’s in-love beliefs of joy and pleasure will also dwindle. In “Alone,” Banks insightfully admits that he was shot with “Cupid’s arrow,” the result of which led to the rapper thinking he was “livin’ in some brand new days.”


Although it may seem cruel to some people, if I hear a client reporting drastic swings such as this, I attempt to help moderate the idealistic experience with a more realistic one. This is done through the disputing process, typically using a series of questions.


Rather than straightforwardly telling a client something like, “Hey! You’re using wacky beliefs. Cut that out,” I ask questions to help the individual learn how to use disputation in one’s own life. The client learns this practice in a session and then practices it outside of our sessions.


My ultimate objective isn’t to produce an experience whereby a client rationally concludes that going one’s own way is the healthiest option. Quite the contrary. If someone chooses to live as I do, I hope the person is prepared to truly be alone. This lifestyle isn’t for everyone.


Thus, I aim to help clients consider the two moral codes of REBT: (1) Be kind to yourself and (2) Don’t hurt others. At the end of “Alone,” Banks suggests foregoing romantic engagement with other women, which is likely his moral imperative related to not hurting others.


Thus, my goal for morality related to being kind to oneself would relate to helping a client think rationally when experiencing the high of infatuation so that the individual could make the healthiest decisions possible. Of course, “healthiest” in this regard is a subjective matter.


Some clients express understanding of and belief in REBT. However, their idiosyncratic notions of health relate to feeling better rather than getting better. Therefore, they disturb themselves with irrational beliefs and ultimately find themselves alone – though not by choice, as is my case.


In conclusion, I appreciate being able to work with clients who endure matters I don’t experience. Additionally, I value songs like “Alone” so that I can practice REBT outside of sessions – a method to rational living which I highly encourage clients to use.


Perhaps you’re currently alone, not by choice, and experiencing agony stemming from your unhelpful beliefs. Or maybe you’re in a newly formed romantic relationship and believe you’re on top of the world.


With either of these common experiences, I may be able to help so that you can learn to tolerate and accept the experience of being alone. With this practice of resilience, you may enter your next relationship or experience your current bond with knowledge of how you can be all right whether with or without another person.


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 foremost old school hip hop REBT psychotherapist, 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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