Touching Grass in the Texas Panhandle
Written on June 11, 2023
Posted on June 12, 2023
When my close friend, “Jammies,” invited me to Bomb City (Amarillo, Texas) regarding a celebration of historic Route 66, I was excited to visit my hometown. Aside from advertising for Hollings Therapy, LLC in the panhandle of Texas, I wanted to support Jammies, promote the place of my birth, and discuss Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) with whoever was willing to discuss my purposely provocative t-shirts (e.g., “Stop musterbating”).
Throughout the trip, I was able to discuss REBT with a number of people in airports, on connecting flights, and in the panhandle. In particular, I talked about the value of telehealth services. Post-COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been afforded an opportunity to provide psychotherapy all through Texas, as opposed to solely the Austin, Texas area where I’m based.
I arrived in town the day after a weeklong period of rain that engulfed the panhandle and left many residents and businesses in Amarillo with flood damage. For my visit, the sun shone to such a degree that I wound up with a serious sunburn on various areas of my body—most significantly on my head.
For the first day of my trip, I had lunch with Jammies’ friend, “Manatee.” I was therefore given an opportunity to discuss REBT with someone unfamiliar with the technique, as I enjoy refining how I introduce the various pillars of REBT in a digestible way. Apparently, food wasn’t the only thing on the menu that day.
I then met up with Jammies for a photo shoot. There, I was pleased to observe who I now regard as the panhandle’s most talented photographer while he captured images of Jammies for various promotional media sources.
On the second day, I explored the ever-changing area I call home. Many of the impoverished areas with which I once remained familiar now contain even more dilapidated conditions than when I last resided in Bomb City.
When I left the panhandle in 2012, the affluent people of Amarillo were steadily pushing southwestward. Now, new and extravagant homes stand in farm fields which once were my go-to location when shooting sunsets.
A number of the abandoned warehouses into which I once explored have since been demolished. Speaking with locals, there appears to remain invisible segregating lines which divide Bomb City along racial, ethnic, and class lines.
Those with money have reportedly “flown” southwestward from robust immigration communities, a loose configuration of substance abuse populations, and criminal activity said to be associated with elements to which I was drawn when frequenting shadier areas of town in high school. I reserve judgment for both those who’ve flown and people who remain.
While on my trip, I visited a longtime friend, “True,” her boyfriend, and other family members. We discussed my approach to psychotherapy and how I focus on personal ownership when attempting to persuade clients to reject a narrative of victimhood while empowering them to get better rather than to merely feel better.
I thought it was refreshing to converse with people who maintain a different sociopolitical perspective than those with whom I’m familiar in Bat City (Austin, Texas). As I don’t align with any political party and disregard popular social ideologies, I find value in holding conversations with people who have been able to see beyond corrosive narratives which I suspect have deteriorated this nation over the past decade or so.
While journeying back to my hotel room, I was pulled over by a law enforcement officer for a moving violation. It was in that instant that the ABC Model came in handy, as well as unconditional acceptance.
On my third day, Jammies, her husband, Manatee, and I went on a road trip while touring Route 66. We visited Jericho, Texas, a ghost town with a rich history and which one enthusiastic couple is determined to revive.
Our drive also took us to Groom, Texas, where a sizable cross and a number of biblically-inspired statues have been erected in order to spread the word of the gospel. We then visited a site with which I’ve been familiar since childhood, Cadillac Ranch.
Along the way, I discussed sociopolitical perspectives which were antithetical to those espoused by True and people within her home. It was at that point that I was provided with an opportunity to question my previously held assumptions when hearing challenges to the REBT.
I find it interesting to hear differing approaches to mental health and wellness. Because I don’t pretend as though REBT is an appropriate fit for the needs of everyone, I invite people to inform me of what avenues they traverse when considering the journey towards improved functioning and quality of life.
Apparently, I didn’t take into consideration my own wellness, because I left my hat in the hotel room. The result of a day underneath the panhandle sunshine was a sunburn that resulted in a thick, yellow liquid oozing from my burnt head.
On the fourth day, with my arms, legs, face, and head tinged red from the sun, I attended the Route 66 festival with Jammies, her husband, Manatee, and others. There, I was provided an opportunity to discuss REBT principles with others while promoting my practice.
Standing under the protection of a canopy, I spoke with one of Jammies’ lifelong friends about differences between Bomb City and Bat City—particularly regarding sociopolitical perspectives and cultural differences. Throughout the trip, I’d spoken with people who self-identified as being on the right, left, and center of the political spectrum.
With no one attempting to force their views upon me, nor I on them, I enjoyed the diversity of thought which was valued more than the diversity of arbitrary identity characteristics. When was the last time you experienced a similar circumstance?
As well, with no certainty about whether or not the various business-related t-shirts I designed and had printed for the trip were effective at promoting my practice, I appreciate how receptive people were to the quirky REBT messaging (e.g., “Stop shoulding on yourself, others, and the world”).
On the final day of touching grass in the panhandle of Texas, I donned my final unique business t-shirt, packed my hotel room, and headed to the airport. On the journey home, I discussed REBT with a few people along the way.
In all, I consider the business trip a success. I received a number of new visitors to my website and networked with others regarding Hollings Therapy, LLC. Would you like to know more of the psychotherapeutic method I discussed with others when in Bomb City?
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
Amarillo Convention & Visitors Bureau. (2023). Texas Route 66 festival. Retrieved from https://www.visitamarillo.com/events/route-66/
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Hollings, D. (2022, November 7). Personal ownership. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/personal-ownership
Hollings, D. (2023, April 28). Pillars. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/pillars
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Hollings, D. (2022, November 9). The ABC model. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-abc-model
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Wikipedia. (n.d.). Cadillac Ranch. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadillac_Ranch
Wikipedia. (n.d.). U.S. Route 66. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_66