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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Useless Tools

Updated: Nov 25, 2022

When practicing Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I find it useful to explore specific tools so that clients can work on their issues outside of sessions. These tools are introduced in session, tested in everyday life by way of negotiated homework, and restructured for efficiency at subsequent sessions.

Suppose I have a client—I’ll call him Prometheus—who has a go-to method of dealing with issues. His available tool, fire, is useful for many tasks. Cooking, warming a home, and producing light are all helpful functions of Prometheus’ tool.

Still, not every situation requires use of fire. In fact, some errands in which Prometheus’ sole tool is utilized may end in catastrophe. Holding his newborn baby, combing her hair as she transitions to a toddler, or helping his child with homework later in life may not require a single instrument.

Aside from pragmatic material examples, Prometheus may find it difficult to relate well with others when his incendiary tool is all he has to offer. For instance, during a passionate sociopolitical discussion, a heated tool may prove more destructive than constructive.

Working with Prometheus, I explore different options such as water, earth, air, and space. Combining these tools can produce other useful devices such as metal, ice, or plasma.

Likewise, when addressing the needs of clients, I invite them to consider how their usual method of dealing with problems may or may not serve people well. For some, Prometheus’ fire is equivalent to rage, hostility, aggression, or violence.

For others, it manifests in the form of passive aggression, manipulation, control, or character assassination. Rather than trying to convince clients whether or not their wielding of fire is good, bad, right, wrong, or otherwise, I explore the utility of their behavior.

Does presenting to an argument with hostility or manipulation serve you or others well? Additionally, I don’t advise clients on what I think they should, must, or ought to do in their lives. I don’t offer advice.

Just as I would explore alternative strategies with Prometheus, I examine different tools when working with my actual clients. The aim of this approach is to build a metaphorical toolbox with which clients can work on their problems outside of sessions.

Doing so may afford clients the opportunity to face discomfort, push through resistance, build resilience, and strengthen their innate or learned use of helpful or healthy coping strategies. Eventually, my clients can become their own therapists, of sorts.

Though my blog entries are not intended to serve as a substitute for psychotherapy, for educational and entertainment purposes I offer a range of tools with which members of the general public can engage. Perhaps you may find a useful tool within my blog content.

The operative word herein is “useful.” If Prometheus is tasked with bringing bags of ice to a cookout, fire may not be useful. Equally, if you strive for conflict resolution with a partner, violence may not be useful.

Moreover, once a client has a collection of tools to use though neglects to do so, unused tools may not be useful. Those with whom I work have likely heard me declare, “The tools we use less are useless.” (It’s a self-evident term.)

Rather than collecting useless tools, I encourage clients to employ methods that serve people well. Whether helpful, healthy, or otherwise, useful tools may be a preferred option to the sole or no tool approach with which so many people remain familiar.

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you explore which tools may appropriately serve you or others, 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


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

Greek Myths & Greek Mythology. (n.d.). The myth of Prometheus – The thief of fire. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Blog – Categories: Tools. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

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

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Do you offer advice? 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, October 7). Should, must, and ought. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Moody, R. (2017). Homework for homework. The Albert Ellis Institute. Retrieved from

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