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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Massaging to Get Better


I’m not a massage therapist, I’m a psychotherapist. Therefore, I use an ignorance-informed perspective when discussing matters related to massage.


Nevertheless, for the handful of massages I’ve experienced in my lifetime, I think I understand the difference between comfortable and uncomfortable kneading of body parts. Although there are different types of massage, one source highlights two popular forms thusly:


Swedish massage uses long strokes and light-to-firm pressure to provide gentle relaxation. Deep tissue massage is a more forceful technique that releases tension deep in the muscles and connective tissues.


I’ve experienced both of these massage forms. Personally, Swedish massage was comfortable. I felt joy and relaxation during the process.


Still, after enduring a physical injury associated with military service, I experienced the discomfort of a sports massage. It hurt quite a bit and my mood wasn’t joyous when undergoing the treatment. Regarding this form of intervention, one source states:


Sports massage is a form of deep tissue massage designed to help athletes recover from injuries, enhance performance and reduce fatigue. By stimulating circulation, it helps speed up the healing process and allows athletes to increase flexibility, stamina and strength.


For my specific injury, getting better by way of a deep tissue massage was preferable to feeling better through use of a Swedish massage. This is precisely how I conceptualize some other psychotherapeutic modalities in comparison to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).


Although it may feel good for a massage therapist to lightly rub on your body for an up-to 50-minute session, how long does the effect of the body-kneading last? Have you found that the effects of something like a Swedish massage tend to be short-lived?


In psychotherapy, catharsis may be roughly defined as the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong emotions. In psychological literature, “psychologists have largely rejected the idea that catharsis is a ‘medicinal’ form of emotional venting because of the scant and often contradictory evidence.”


Despite the fact that it may feel good for a psychotherapist to listen to you vent for an up-to 50-minute session, how long does the effect of bitching, whining, moaning, and complaining last? How meaningful is the service your therapist provides when a friend or family member can easily demonstrate similar listening capabilities?


One of the main objectives of REBT is to help people get better, not merely feel better. As such, I liken the mental, emotional, and behavioral health services I provide to that of a deep tissue massage. As such, therapy can be an uncomfortable process.


Nevertheless, by pushing through discomfort as a means of achieving growth, a person can address deeper issues than a surface-level therapeutic approach may provide—whether from a massage therapist or psychotherapist. With this understanding, the services I provide are analogous to massaging to get better.


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





Hollings, D. (2023, September 20). A messy situation. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

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

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. 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. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2023, September 15). Psychotherapeutic modalities. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

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

Johnson, J. (2019, November 13). Swedish massage vs. deep tissue massage: What’s the difference? MedicalNewToday. Retrieved from

Khoo, G. S. and Adkins, B. (2020, September 9). Catharsis. The International Encyclopedia of Media Psychology. Retrieved from

Northwest Career College. (2023, January 12). What are the 7 types of massage? Retrieved from

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