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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

What a Treet!


Although I was familiar with the genre of music broadly called “techno” when in high school, I didn’t fully appreciate what is now recognized as electronic dance music (EDM) until I joined the Marine Corps a year after graduation.


As well, unlike some of my school peers who attended raves, I didn’t experience my first rave until I was a young adult. At that time, EDM was more unpolished than it is in its commercialized form today.


All the same, I recall being on leave in the Corps when a former high school girlfriend asked if I’d heard EDM group Smart E’s song “Sesame’s Treet,” a track that one 1992 source describes as follows:


Theme from classic kiddie TV show [Sesame Street] is the hook on which this contagious pop/techno jam hangs. The contrast between rigid synth riffs and the bouncy melody are jolting good fun. “Hardcore” mix of the track was a fave among rave jocks on Belgian import a while back, and lighter, less-confrontational remix is custom-made for crossover and top 40 radio’s increasing interest in techno. Could be the novelty smash of the year.


I enjoyed the song quite a bit and added it to my EDM repertoire of tracks used for DJing when at parties. Later stationed in Lima, Peru, I prepared a set list for a house party at which diplomatic personnel were to attend.


I was eager to introduce the Peruvian embassy community to “Sesame’s Treet,” thinking about how the catchy melody may resonate with my audience. However, one fellow Marine from Southern California disagreed with my mix playlist.


He said something to the effect of, “What’s this shit,” indicating his dissatisfaction with the Smart E’s song and adding, “You aren’t a real DJ, because they never played this shit at any rave I went to!” At that time in my life, I was a frequent attendee of raves in South America.


I knew there were different subcategories of EDM and different DJs presented their own selected tracks at parties, raves, and festivals. I also understood that the Marine’s critique of my set list was subjective and that he was entitled to his opinion.


Nevertheless, I upset myself with my beliefs about his comment. Back then, I knew nothing about Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) and its ABC model which identifies a Beliefs-Consequences (B-C) connection.


According to this psychotherapeutic modality, when an Activating event occurs—such as a Marine chastising my decision to play “Sesame’s Treet” while other Marines laughed at me as my choice was being criticized—the event isn’t what caused an unpleasant Consequence (e.g., anger).


Rather than an Action-Consequence connection, REBT maintains that we disturb ourselves with a B-C connection. Therefore, when the Marine made fun of my decision (Activating event) and I Believed something like, “He shouldn’t criticize my playlist,” it was my irrational belief about the event that resulted in anger (Consequence).


Essentially, I treeted…er…treated the Marine’s comment as evidence to invalidate the notion that I was a competent DJ. I didn’t think of the no true Scotsman fallacy (appeal to purity) that was at play in my fellow Marine’s accusation.


Was it true that no DJ would play “Sesame’s Treet” at a rave? Likewise, who were the real DJs, only those individuals who never spun Smart E’s music?


Was the Marine’s appeal to purity worth considering or could I have perhaps unconditionally accepted that we merely had a difference in opinion? Furthermore, was the matter worth upsetting myself over in the first place?


At the time, the consequence of my self-disturbing belief was unpleasant feelings (anger as an emotion and tightness in my chest as a bodily sensation), as well as unproductive behavior (removal of “Sesame’s Treet” from my set list). I unnecessarily allowed my beliefs about the activing event to influence my reaction.


Over two decades later, I now understand how I treeted…er…treated myself back then. Now, I use this example to teach others about how to keep from self-disturbing over trivial situations. Would you like to know more about how REBT may serve you in a similar fashion?


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 the world’s original EDM-influenced REBT psychotherapist—promoting content related to EDM, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues 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




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