top of page
  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Moral Arbiter


 

According to one source, “Deric is a boy’s name of German origin. From the Old Germanic names Theodoric and Derek, this name means both ‘power of the tribe’ and ‘people’s ruler.” Although my name suggests authoritative control I’m not anyone’s moral arbiter, other than my own.

 

By “moral,” I’m referring to the concern with principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character. By “arbiter,” I’m describing a person who settles a dispute or has ultimate authority in a matter.

 

I think this fact is worth addressing, because I often find that people who seek mental, emotional, and behavioral health services with me erroneously believe that I’m their source of morality. However, I’m not someone who can rule on what is good, bad, right, wrong, or otherwise regarding others.

 

Through my practice of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I understand the process of self-disturbance which occurs when using irrational beliefs related to demandingness. Narratives comprising these assumptions generally relate to unhelpful should, must, or ought-type statements.

 

For instance, I may unhelpfully believe, “People ought to value what I have to say; otherwise, they are bad.” This is an unproductive belief for two reasons. First, there is no universal imperative for other people to obey my personal decrees.

 

Although I may prefer for individuals to value what I have to say, it isn’t objectively true that they ought to do so. Second, there is no objective moral code that only I possess, and upon others must rely, that grants me the authority to determine who is good or bad.

 

While I may wish for others to value what I have to say, they aren’t bad people for choosing to ignore me. I’m simply not the moral arbiter of the world. This is because I’m neither a king nor a deity.

 

Noteworthy, there’s an important distinction to be made in regards to unhelpful versus helpful demands. As I’ve outlined an example of unhelpful demandingness, it may be useful to illustrate an instance of a helpful demand.

 

Though I have no legitimate authority over others, I recognize that I’m my own moral arbiter. For example, I may helpfully believe, “I ought to be open-minded to other people when they change their minds, because I think this is a good practice for me to consider.”

 

This is a productive belief for two reasons. First, I can set personal decrees for myself. For instance, I should drink enough water, I ought to attempt to help my clients, and I must not commit murder.

 

As long as I’m demanding moral and ethical behavior of myself and not others, this is a proper use of self-regulation. Second, even if there is such a thing as objective morality, not everyone adheres to its mandates.

 

In my own life, I adopt moral lessons which admittedly are heavily predicated on my upbringing which was influenced by Judeo-Christian values. I realize that such principles are intrinsically intertwined with what I consider good, bad, right, wrong, or otherwise.

 

Given this understanding, I can prescribe to myself what is good or bad “practice for me to consider.” However, I’m not the moral arbiter of other people – even if my namesake suggests otherwise.

 

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:

 

Bump, The. (2024, February 7). Deric. XO Group Inc. Retrieved from https://www.thebump.com/b/deric-baby-name

Hollings, D. (2022, October 31). Demandingness. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/demandingness

Hollings, D. (2022, October 5). Description vs. prescription. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/description-vs-prescription

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. (2024, April 2). Four major irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/four-major-irrational-beliefs

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. (2023, October 2). Morals and ethics. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/morals-and-ethics

Hollings, D. (2024, March 13). Objective morality. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/objective-morality

Hollings, D. (2023, April 24). On truth. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/on-truth

Hollings, D. (2022, March 24). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-rebt

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

Öster, M. H. (2024, March 7). Wise king seated on an elaborate throne within his castle [Image]. Playground. Retrieved from https://playground.com/post/wise-king-seated-on-an-elaborate-throne-within-his-castle-c-clthp5d4x0adss601jr9rwvnv

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page