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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings


On his 1998 album Inevitable Alien Nation, Superstar DJ Keoki featured Dimension 23’s track entitled “I.M.O.K.R.U.O.K.” The main vocals were presumably created with a Speak & Spell toy with which I was familiar from childhood.

In the beginning of the song, a person inquires, “What connection do you think there can possibly be between UFOs and heroin?” This line was sampled from a 1982 independent science fiction film entitled Liquid Sky.

Following the question, the track explodes into a rhythmically pulsating beat worthy of any dingy underground rave scene of the late ‘90s, as well as commercial venues which promoted the rave subculture towards the beginning of the millennium.

Throughout the song, the electronic lyrics state, “I.M.O.K.R.U.O.K.,” which when pronounced express, “I am okay, are you okay?” For those who attended raves during the time this track was released, you may understand the need for a reassuring check in.

Per one source, “In a nutshell, when a person expresses that they are going to ‘check in on you’ they are saying that they are going to actively monitor your condition, status, safety, or well-being.”

To the less fortunate among you—those who never experienced the old school rave scene—I’ll briefly explain the need for status checks. Often, there was a component of heavy substance use and/or abuse among rave attendees.

Though not everyone partook, as I raved sober, I suspect the overwhelming majority of ravers with whom I partied were high on ecstasy, ketamine, nitrous oxide, psilocybin, LSD, Rohypnol, GHB, or cocaine.

Add these substances to a night filled with dancing, elevated body temperatures, and poor hydration, and some people were bound to have bad trips, pass out, or become so incapacitated that while they were conscious these individuals weren’t cognizant of their surroundings.

I can’t speak for all ravers from that era. Still, what I recall is the people with whom I partied were compassionate towards and protective of one another.

Amid glow stick dance battles, laser and strobe lighting effects, smoke machines billowing massive clouds of mist, packed dance floors, and people who were tripping balls, I observed individuals checking in with one another to assess for well-being.

It wasn’t uncommon to hear something like, “Ay, yo…I am okay, are you okay?” Perhaps influenced by nostalgia, I appreciated those moments when people actually demonstrated the core elements of rave subculture—P.L.U.R. (peace, love, unity, and respect).

Now that I’m much older and as I practice Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I reflect upon the significance of checking in. This may be accomplished in a number of ways.

For example, if John Doe is emotionally activated and perceivably unable to use rational thinking in the movement, he can check in with himself through use of self-talk. John could say, “Hey, man, are you okay? Are you currently under any immediate threat right now?”

Here, John isn’t using disputation to target irrational beliefs. Rather, John merely takes account of his actual versus perceived level of threat.

In another instance, Jane Doe may experience low frustration tolerance by convincing herself something along the lines of “I can’t stand this” regarding a situation. Rather than beginning the challenging process of her unhelpful assumption, she could first check in with herself.

Jane could use a grounding technique, such as savoring a scent (inhaling a fragrance slowly and deeply while trying to note its qualities), and say to herself, “I am okay.” Here, Jane is sitting with discomfort—because her situation hasn’t changed—while learning to ground herself in the moment.

Yet another case may include Jim Doe and his use of unconditional self-acceptance. Instead of inflexibly demanding (e.g., should, must, ought, etc.) that he must do well, others must treat him well, and life must be easy, Jim could relieve himself of rigid expectations.

Taking an unconditional approach to tolerance and acceptance, Jim could say to himself, “I don’t have to do well, because I am okay. If I wanna improve upon this default position, I can. However, I am a fallible human being and it’s okay that I’ll never be perfect.”

In a final example, and not one necessarily related to the practice of REBT, Joyce Doe could contact someone about whom she’s concerned and inquire, “Are you okay?” Typically, I prefer asking, “How are you?” because this question doesn’t infer the answer one wants to receive.

By asking, “Are you okay?” the implication is that whoever poses the question actually wants to hear that the other person is okay. Still, I’ll exercise flexibility herein and acknowledge that asking others if they are ok seems to be more useful than not asking at all.

From the track “I.M.O.K.R.U.O.K.,” I’ve been able to extract a number of helpful elements which I use in my psychotherapeutic practice. If this approach appeals to you, perhaps I would be a good fit for the provision of your mental health services.

If not, that’s okay. I am okay and I hope you’ll be okay nevertheless.

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 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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