top of page
  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Revisiting the Circle of Concern

Who knows?

Recently, many people have expressed concern over shot-down balloons in or around the United States (U.S.), apparently of Chinese origin. Originally claimed to be associated with a surveillance program, it has since been announced that they weren’t state-sponsored spy craft gear.

Personally, I’m not inclined to believe the U.S. government or legacy media sources reporting on the matter. Nonetheless, I think a more efficient way of acquiring intelligence is through use of smartphones, social media apps, and likewise. Who knows?

Still, no one asked what I thought and to be honest, what I have to say regarding the issue matters very little. Perhaps the more interesting topic worthy of my consideration is how such matters impact my clients.

Circle of concern

I work with people by inviting them to consider their powerlessness regarding control and influence over the majority of matters experienced in life. Previously, I addressed this topic in a blogpost entitled Circle of Concern.

Therein, I addressed the outer circle of concern by saying, “Think of natural disasters, traffic patterns in a foreign country, past events, or the person on the other side of town who’s chewing with his mouth open right now.” We have no command or impact on such matters.

Using Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I challenge my clients’ irrational beliefs which may suggest we have more control than we actually do. Consider for yourself whether or not you have the ability to affect the following matters:

· The allegation of the U.S. having destroyed the Nord Stream pipeline, which could be considered an act of war against Russia

· Whether or not Chinese balloons constitute provocation

· North Korea’s threat to take action against the U.S. for participating in military drills with South Korea

· War between Russia and Ukraine, which for some reason the U.S. has devoted more than $100 billion to fund a reported proxy war between the U.S., the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and Russia

· A death toll of 41,000 people who perished in recent earthquake activity in Turkey and Syria

· A train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio that will likely have devastating effects on people and the environment, due to reported toxic chemicals carried on the train

In actuality, there is likely little you could do to control or influence these events. Though you may disturb yourself regarding these matters, you cannot change the outcome. These are circle of concern matters.

Making healthy use of my personal and professional time, I practice unconditional life-acceptance. By accepting that I have no ability to alter matters in the circle of concern, even though I may care for those impacted by events within the sphere, I tolerate and accept my powerlessness.

In doing so, I am able to focus my resources towards issues over which I may have influence (i.e., clients) and control (e.g., myself). This isn’t a selfish act, though one of self-care.


I remain uncertain about unidentified flying objects, unmanned aerial vehicles, or balloons floating over the U.S. As far as I’m concerned, I’ll wait to see if anything changes if or when the Fire Nation attacks.

At that point, there’ll be a different conversation unfolding than the one reflected herein. Until then, I focus on that which I can control or influence.

Do you find that you’re overly concerned with matters beyond your ability to change? Would you like to know more about how to take a healthier approach to life?

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 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


Associated Press, The. (2023, February 17). 11 days after the quake, a few more survivors are pulled from the rubble in Turkey. NPR. Retrieved from

Debusmann Jr., B. (2023, February 17). Ohio town reflects on chemical train derailment aftermath. BBC. Retrieved from

Dubuc, S. (n.d.). Fire prince warballoon. ArtStation. Retrieved from

Elamroussi, A. (2023, February 17). Feds are sending medical experts to Ohio toxic train wreck site as residents’ safety concerns simmer. CNN. Retrieved from

Enriquez, A. (2021, October 25). Q. How does fair use work for book covers, album covers, and movie posters? Penn State. Retrieved from

Gould, J., Harris, B., Sprenger, S., and Kington, T. (2023, February 13). When will the war in Ukraine end? Experts offer their predictions. DefenseNews. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, October 24). Chosen suffering. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, May 17). Circle of concern. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

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

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

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

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2023, February 16). Tna. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, July 11). Unconditional acceptance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Kim, H. J. (2023, February 17). N. Korea threatens unprecedented response to South-US drill. AP News. Retrieved from

Krayden, D. (2023, February 10). Krayden: If U.S. blew up Nord Stream, it could be an act of war against Germany, Russia and NATO. Western Standard. Retrieved from

Nickelodeon Cartoon Universe. (2016, March 10). “Avatar: The Last Airbender” theme song (HQ) | Episode opening credits | Nick Animation [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from

Reuters. (2023, February 17). U.S. military completes recovery of Chinese balloon downed off South Carolina. Retrieved from

Scheidler, F. (2023, February 16). Seymour Hersh answers questions on explosive allegation that US blew up Nord Stream pipeline. The Wire. Retrieved from

Shaw, A. (2023, February 3). Chinese spy balloon: Republican demands for Biden to counter CCP ‘provocation’ escalate. Fox. Retrieved from

Steinbock, D. (2023, February 6). The Ukraine proxy war — and new PH risks. The Manila Times. Retrieved from

Sullivan, H. (2023, February 17). What happened in the Russia-Ukraine war this week? Catch up with the must-read news and analysis. The Guardian. Retrieved from

Vazquez, M. and Fossum, S. (2023, February 17). Biden says objects shot down over North America last week appear to not be part of China’s spy balloon operation. CNN. Retrieved from

Wilkie, C. and Kinery, E. (2023, February 16). Biden says three recently downed aerial objects were not linked to Chinese spy program. CNBC. Retrieved from

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page