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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Wishes, Dreams, and Goals


When I was in elementary school, I found it odd that people would cast coins into a large fountain in a local park while silently wishing for good fortune. What force or entity did they hope would grant their desires and why was there a price for each wish?


A “wish” may be defined as a desire for something, such as that which is unattainable. Fantastical thinking, or perhaps irrational beliefs, apparently allowed people to deceive themselves about their ability to manifest something out of the either into the material world.


In middle school, my late stepmom used to tell me, “Don’t nothin’ come to a dreamer, ‘cept a dream.” Her pragmatic approach to life was that in order to attain the object one’s desires, a person needed to works toward an aim.


A “dream” may be defined as something that fully satisfies a wish. Whereas a wish merely relates to desire or hope, a dream refers to a vision to fulfill a desire. For instance, I may daydream about success regarding a task as opposed to hoping that it will magically manifest out of thin air.


In high school, after having performed life coaching with other children and adults for a couple years, I learned about the value of establishing goals. Simply wishing for something or dreaming about steps to acquire it wasn’t enough, because a goal outlined a path to obtaining what one desired.


A “goal” may be defined as the end toward which effort is directed. As an example, the goal of this post is to briefly illustrate how I broadly use goals when practicing Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) and carefully drafting this entry represents effort toward that end.


Regarding use of goals in REBT, page 115 of The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion (“Pocket Companion”) invites REBT practitioners to ensure that client and psychotherapist goals are aligned. Otherwise, the plan for success I have in mind may conflict with a client’s interests and goals.


Additionally, page 116 of the Pocket Companion encourages practitioners to remember that the major goal of REBT isn’t to promote rational thinking, though to promote healthy living based on rational thinking. In this way, rational living is an ultimate goal of REBT.


Likewise, page 117 of the Pocket Companion reminds practitioners to review goals throughout the counseling process. After all, not always will goals which were established at the beginning of the psychotherapeutic journey remain the same along the way.


For instance, client X may initially seek my services for reduction in symptoms related to anxiousness. As various REBT techniques are understood, believed in, and routinely practiced, client X may achieve success and desire to work on another issue.


Therefore, in broad terms, I check in with client X to ensure that our goals are aligned and to alter plans for success according to the individual’s dynamic aims. One method I use in regards to planning relates to tasks.


Of this, page 118 of the Pocket Companion invites practitioners to help clients understand that engagement in relevant tasks, such as negotiated homework, is pertinent to the psychotherapeutic process over all. Without this understanding, clients may not commit to performing tasks.


With client X, tasks in the form of homework are the steps taken to achieve a goal. This alludes to what my stepmom told me about dreamers and dreams. She also told me that a dream is what people do when asleep and a goal is what we do when awake. This is the essence of a task.


Page 119 of the Pocket Companion encourages practitioners to form tasks which are potent enough to assist clients with achieving their goals. As an example, if client X’s homework is of little purpose of meaning, the individual will likely lack buy-in and follow-through.


Herein, I’ve defined the difference between wishes, dreams, and goals. As well, I’ve illustrated how I broadly use goals when practicing REBT. If my pragmatic approach to goal-attainment sounds like something in which you may be interested, I look forward to hearing from you.


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




Dryden, W. and Neenan, M. (2003). The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion. Albert Ellis Institute. ISBN 0-917476-26-3. Library of Congress Control Number: 20031044378

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

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2024, April 13). Goals. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

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

Hollings, D. (2024, January 2). Interests and goals. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, June 23). Meaningful purpose. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, March 24). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2024, March 7). The 6 P’s. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2024, January 16). Understanding, belief, and practice. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

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