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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Spreading Word

 

When I was an adolescent member of a Church of Christ (CoC) youth group, a youth minister who seemed fond of asking questions which inspired critical thinking posed a scenario to a class of teenagers with whom I attended regular services. He asked about the limits of our sinful nature.

 

I thought the minister was expecting the usual responses about masturbation, lusting in our hearts, or use of profanity which was generally discussed by other teachers when talking to our group. However, when these obvious answers didn’t suffice, each of the teens remained silent in anticipation of the correct answer.

 

He then informed the youth group that even if sitting alone in a room for the rest of our lives, with no access to various methods of distraction (i.e., television, radio, magazines, etc.) we would be living in sin. “How?” I thought.

 

With a grin upon his face, the youth minister invited the class to turn in our Bibles to the following verses:

 

·  Matthew 28:19-20 – Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

 

·  Mark 16:15-16 – And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

 

·  Luke 14:23-24 – Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’”

 

If followers of Christ were to wall ourselves up in separation of the world, we would be in violation of commands to spread the Word of Jehovah. Thus, when our youth group went into the neighborhood surrounding the church building, knocking on doors and inviting people to attend our services, we were fulfilling our obligation to spread the Word.

 

Among other instruction, this particular lesson from the youth minister stuck with me. Although I no longer practice religion, I retain many of the teachings learned from my former association with the CoC and prior experience with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

 

As spirituality and religiosity informed my moral and ethical framework, I maintain reverence for many of the principles I once learned. Now, as I actively practice the psychotherapeutic modality of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I consider how my behavior is informed by those historic principles.

 

As an example, in a blogpost entitled Parable of the Sower, I likened the dissemination of REBT knowledge to Matthew 13 which addresses spreading the Word and how divine information may be received. Of course, my actions in this regard aren’t meant to constitute blasphemy.

 

In common parlance, blasphemy relates to the act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about Jehovah or sacred things, synonymous with irreverence and disrespect of Jehovah or Christ. I’ve done no such thing.

 

Likewise, from a biblical perspective, blasphemy involves curing or insulting Jehovah, or proclaiming to be Jehovah or the Holy Spirit. Again, I’ve done no such thing.

 

Rather, I’ve drawn similarities to spreading the Word of Jehovah and spreading word about REBT. As a member of the CoC, I went door-to-door and spread the Word. As well, I attended stateside missionary work so that I would remain in obedience with biblical commands.

 

In a similar fashion, though far less dogmatically or mystically, I spread word of REBT through my blog, in sessions with clients, among members of my close circle, through various marketing strategies, and when in public while wearing Hollings Therapy, LLC promotional gear.

 

Nevertheless, my efforts aren’t the same as religious proselytizing—converting or attempting to convert people to religion. Still, my efforts are concerned with attempting to persuade people to challenge their unhelpful beliefs and to adopt a psychotherapeutic model that may help them get better rather than merely feeling better.

 

Remarkably, some religious principles under which I was raised are paralleled with tenets of REBT. For instance, according to Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” as this matter relates to the REBT concept of human fallibility.

 

One lesson the aforementioned youth minister taught teenagers was that Jehovah issued hundreds of commandments which humans were incapable of absolutely obeying. Therefore, the rigid commands existed as a means of reminding humanity that we are not deities.

 

In an interview, the late psychologist who developed REBT, Albert Ellis, stated of his approach to addressing fallibility, “So when I formulated REBT in 1955, I decided as one of its main essences, to help people accept themselves with their flaws, and to also accept other people unconditionally.”

 

From my religious upbringing, I understood that I was imperfect though I could be accepted by Jehovah. According to REBT theory, I acknowledge my imperfection and can unconditionally accept myself, others, and life.

 

I suspect that some religious people may reject the humanistic tenets of REBT. This is understandable, given Ellis’ rejection of faith which he declared is “unfounded on fact; human gullibility; lack of scientific thinking; an unquestioning and unchallenging attitude toward life; or a refusal to accept and life with reality when it happens to be inevitably grim.”

 

Nevertheless, I maintain that a spiritual or religious person can practice one’s metaphysical or theological faith while at the same time using REBT. Undoubtedly, one’s devotion to otherworldly doctrine will take precedence in this regard, though REBT can be grafted onto such principles.

 

Ultimately, I’m spreading word of REBT while no longer spreading the Word. I find that to lead a purpose-driven and meaningful life, sitting alone in a room and showing disregard for humanity wouldn’t serve me well from a spiritual, religious, or REBT perspective.

 

Perhaps you’re the very individual to which this message is intended. Are you interested in knowing how to attain a higher level of functioning and quality of life? If so, I may be able to help. Have you heard word of REBT?

 

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:

 

AEI. (n.d.). About Albert Ellis, Ph.D. Albert Ellis Institute. Retrieved from https://albertellis.org/about-albert-ellis-phd/

College of Cognitive Behavioural Therapies. (2017, February 1). Ellis’ REBT – transdiagnostic humanistic and existential CBT model. Retrieved from https://www.cbttherapies.org.uk/2017/02/01/ellis-rebt-transdiagnostic-humanistic-and-existential-cbt-model/

Halasz, G. (2004, December). In conversation with Dr Albert Ellis. Australian Psychiatry. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/227984238_In_Conversation_with_Dr_Albert_Ellis

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. (2022, November 4). Human fallibility. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/human-fallibility

Hollings, D. (2024, April 25). Life after. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-after

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

Hollings, D. (2022, June 23). Meaningful purpose. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/meaningful-purpose

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

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

Hollings, D. (2023, September 22). Parable of the sower. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/parable-of-the-sower

Hollings, D. (2023, September 15). Psychotherapeutic modalities. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/psychotherapeutic-modalities

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

Hollings, D. (2023, March 11). Unconditional life-acceptance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/unconditional-life-acceptance

Hollings, D. (2023, February 25). Unconditional other-acceptance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/unconditional-other-acceptance

Hollings, D. (2023, March 1). Unconditional self-acceptance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/unconditional-self-acceptance

Honeycutt, K. (2024, April 25). A tall-backed brown armchair from an overhead vantage point [Image]. Playground. Retrieved from https://playground.com/post/a-tall-backed-brown-armchair-from-an-overhead-vantage-point-clvfhv369015rs601vlm5sufy

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