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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Desire Much, but Need Very Little

 

Page 21 of The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion invites practitioners of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) to teach clients that it’s psychologically healthy to desire much, though to understand that what people actually need is very little at all. I agree with this notion.

 

“Desire” may be defined as a wanting, hoping, or wishing for something. For instance, I may want to help all of my clients achieve a higher level of functioning and improved quality of life. Of this, I stated in a blogpost entitled Desire and Disturbance:

 

From the REBT perspective I use, there is nothing inherently unhelpful or unhealthy about desire. It’s when the desire is paired with demands of ourselves, others, and the world that self-disturbance may occur.

 

Now suppose that instead of desiring to help my clients I instead maintained the irrational belief that I need to be of help. Demandingness of this sort may contain some form of should, must, or ought-type statement.

 

Imagine that I inflexibly believed, “I must be of help to my clients, because if I’m ineffective at increasing their level of functioning and quality of life, I don’t think that I could stand to continue on as a psychotherapist!” Would this rigid need-based declaration serve me well? No.

 

Regarding what it means to “need” something, in a blogpost entitled Want vs. Need, I stated:

 

“[N]ecessity” refers to the fact of being required or indispensable, and “necessary” implies the basic requirements of life, such as food and warmth. As such, a need is that which is absolutely required to sustain life—the things a person literally cannot live without.

 

Given the distinction between “desire” and “need,” is it true that I need to be of help to my clients? No. I may desire to assist people with improving their level of functioning and quality of life. However, I’m not personally responsible or accountable for the outcomes of my clients.

 

Therefore, in order to lead a psychologically healthy life, it’s okay for me to desire much, but need very little. Not only is this an achievable standard, it’s one that drastically reduces self-disturbance.

 

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

 

 

References:

 

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, October 31). Demandingness. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/demandingness

Hollings, D. (2022, May 28). Desire and disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/desire-and-disturbance

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/fair-use

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/get-better

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-coaching

Hollings, D. (2022, December 2). Low frustration tolerance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/low-frustration-tolerance

Hollings, D. (2022, November 7). Personal ownership. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/personal-ownership

Hollings, D. (2022, March 25). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-rebt

Hollings, D. (2024, January 4). Rigid vs. rigorous. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rigid-vs-rigorous

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/self-disturbance

Hollings, D. (2022, October 7). Should, must, and ought. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/should-must-and-ought

Hollings, D. (2023, May 3). Want vs. need. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/want-vs-need

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