When therapy doesn't work

When therapy doesn’t work it can be frustrating.

You have a problem but even after going to an expert, nothing changes! This leaves you feeling helpless and as though you’ll never get over your problem.

This page explains exactly why and the most important points are written in bold like this.

If you’ve had a problem with hypnosis see my page why can’t I be hypnotised?

This video explains what happens when therapy doesn’t work

Here is a list of links to the topics covered on this page:

When therapy doesn’t work

What I mean by what the problem really is

How to fix the problem, whatever it is

How does finding the real problem fix it?

So what is the problem really?

But I know what the problem is!

Did the therapy really work?

When it’s the client’s fault

When it’s the therapist’s fault

Other causes when therapy doesn’t work

When therapy doesn’t work

There is only one reason why therapy doesn’t work.

If you understand this then your life as a client or a therapist is much easier!

Here is the reason:

You didn’t find what the problem really is and release it.

There is lots more detail on this page but every single point comes back to that.

What I mean by what the problem really is

The problem you’re experiencing now isn’t really the problem.

A fear of driving has nothing to do with driving. A fear of heights has nothing to do with heights.

What you’re experiencing is just a symptom: how the real problem is showing itself.

Many people are surprised to learn that the problem they experience now was actually once something else. Your fear of driving could once have been insomnia or a fear of flying.

In the same way that you’ve grown and adapted from being a child to an adult, so has your problem.

What’s even more surprising is that in many cases your current issue began when you were under 18 years old, often under 8 years old.

The problem isn’t always from the past

It’s hugely important to understand that not all problems come from the past.

Many therapists fall into the trap of believing ALL problems come from childhood and there’s always a hidden emotion to be found that needs releasing.

That isn’t true!

Sometimes your problem can be totally logical. It’s nothing to do with the past or childhood, you’re just thinking something incorrectly and getting your wires crossed which results in confusion and anxiety.

As an example, I once had a client who had a problem because every time they drove on the motorway they would have people blasting their horns and getting angry with them which made them feel anxious.

It took only minutes to discover that it was because they had come to the UK from abroad and had no idea what the hard shoulder on a motorway was. If you don’t know, it’s a lane on the far left that you never use other than in emergencies. You can’t pull over to answer your phone or for a rest, it’s for breakdowns or emergencies only and you rarely see anyone using it.

They didn’t know that and had been using the hard shoulder like their own private lane! They were passing everyone and swerving in and out of the hard shoulder to pass trucks.

Always remember the power of knowledge and logic.

This video explains more about how logic can cause anxiety

How to fix the problem, whatever it is

Finding what the problem really is will release it because of the process below:

  1. Finding the cause changes how you think.
  2. Changing how you think changes how you feel.
  3. Changing how you feel changes how you behave.

No matter what kind of therapy you take and what methods are used, the above is what always fixes any problem.

Does your problem make any sense? No, and that’s why it’s a problem! You have no idea what the message is that your mind is desperately sending you.

Your subconscious mind can’t use words to communicate. Instead, it uses emotions, feelings, colours, dreams and metaphors among other things.

If only it could speak a language it would be easy but it can’t so you are left having to interpret the symptoms it gives you.

Remember that as I mentioned above, you’re not always looking for something from the past. A lack of knowledge or an illogical set of conclusions about something can be just as harmful. Fixing the problem still comes down to finding those things.

How does finding the real problem fix it?

Finding the root cause is vital because that is what’s causing your symptoms.

The root cause can be a memory that pops into your mind during therapy but many times you will experience a feeling with no idea what it means or where it came from.

You don’t need to know or understand the real problem to release it!

A good therapist understands this and will help guide you to finding the root cause.

It is not a therapist’s job to fix your problem because only you can do that. We only guide you to it and your mind will know what to do with it when the time arrives.

This often happens in the form of a client crying, being confused or showing other emotions. That’s your problem coming out!

Once the feeling is out it will no longer activate when you drive, fly etc. because it is no longer there.

I’ve made a whole series of videos explaining more about how you find out exactly what the problem really is.

These videos explain how the problem is never the problem.

So what is the problem really?

It can be anything.

What you must understand is that your fear of driving, or whatever problem you have, is not what it once was.

Your current fear once served a useful purpose in your life.

It had a valid reason for existing which protected you from something or helped you in some way.

Here’s an example: someone is bullied at school so their mind gives them a stomach ache to make them stay at home to avoid the bullying. They then leave school meaning the stomach problem has no purpose to serve so it changes into something else such as a fear of public speaking.

The problem continues to adapt like this to survive in your modern life, just as we all adapt to changes to survive.

The problem is not needed in its current form but it doesn’t know that. Finding what it used to be and making it realise it’s no longer needed will fix your problem.

Finding the cause of this problem requires expert guidance from a skilled therapist.

I run into people all of the time who say…

But I know what the problem is!

You don’t.

I hear this all of the time and it’s one of the main reasons therapy fails for people. They come into a session assuming they know what’s causing their problem and will not budge from that idea.

That’s why it fails: they’re not open to finding what it really is and become fixated on the wrong thing.

You can’t know what your problem really is or you wouldn’t have it!

Once you know the cause of your problem it will go.

Remember that your problem is only a symptom. It does no good to keep talking about symptoms by saying things like “But I’m scared of driving so driving is the problem!”.

Your symptoms aren’t your problem and you’ll be going round and round in circles and get nowhere until you accept that.

There is one small exception which is that you may know what the problem is BUT you haven’t realised something about it. A part of the memory is missing, a detail has been forgotten. Finding that missing thing can complete the jigsaw puzzle, you see the whole picture and the problem is fixed.

An example of a missing detail in a memory

A great example of this comes from a client I worked with.

He’d had a car crash but thinking of that and going over it many times with therapists hadn’t fixed his driving anxiety. We dived into the memory of the crash deeper and he remembered something that had never come up before.

At the time of the crash, he should have had his wife in the car but she’d chosen not to go with him. If she had been there she’d likely have been killed along with their unborn baby. Realising this produced a huge release of emotion and the problem went. His mind was stopping him from driving thinking that if he did he might kill his wife and child!

This isn’t always the case though and an obvious thing like a crash may have nothing to do with your anxiety today.

An example of identifying the wrong cause

I can’t tell you how many times people have come to me with driving anxiety and insisted it’s because of a car crash.

They get obsessed with the story they have made up in their head about how the crash gave them anxiety and it must be the cause because the problem started soon after.

Human beings naturally put things together like this to make a story. It’s how our brains work but and is the very thing that stops us from finding a solution.

Just because a problem started soon after an event doesn’t mean that the event caused it.

The problem has very likely been with you for years and although the crash set it off, it’s not the cause of your problem.

Accept that and you’ll succeed. Stick rigidly to your beliefs and you’ll get nowhere.

As described in the section above, even if you are thinking of the right event there will be more to it. Something you have forgotten, a part of the story that is missing. That is what’s causing the issue, not the things you know.

Remember that all of this happens subconsciously so you don’t have to be aware of what’s happening.

In summary, you can’t know the cause of your problem or you wouldn’t have the problem.

Did the therapy actually work?

Something that’s worth mentioning before we go any further is a strange phenomenon that I didn’t believe when I first learnt about it.

Some people overcome their problems and just don’t realise it!

Yes, that’s right. Some people have been to stop smoking therapists and phoned them up months later to complain it didn’t work. When the therapist asks how often they’ve smoked since seeing them they say none but it didn’t work.

Can you see the problem there?

Sometimes people have a problem for so long that they just can’t accept it’s gone.

I’ve experienced this with people that came to me with a fear of driving and then months later say it didn’t work. I ask them how their driving has been and they say it’s all fine and they’re driving on all the roads they couldn’t before.

It sounds silly but it’s a real thing and more common than you might think.

This video shows how sometimes things go right when it seems they’ve gone wrong.


Please remember what I have already said. The reason therapy didn’t work is because you didn’t find what the problem truly is AND release it. If you fail to do BOTH of those things then you will not get a result.

The following are all reasons why you may not find the root cause but that remains the core issue.

Is the client or therapist at fault?

Sometimes therapy can not work because either the client or the therapist is doing something wrong.

Let’s have a look at the faults made by both clients and therapists, as well as when it fails even when neither is at fault.

When therapy doesn’t work and it’s the client’s fault

Let’s have a look at what a client can do wrong to make therapy fail.

Unrealistic expectations

Some clients are totally unrealistic in what they expect from therapy.

Many think that hypnotherapy involves the therapist putting them into a trance where they become unconscious and then they wake up with the problem fixed.


If you have any of these ideas in your head you need to learn what hypnotherapy is before you start.

You do the work in therapy, not the therapist. If you’re expecting to sit back and have it all done for you then think again. We’ll look at this point in more detail later.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not take in information while unconscious. There was a fad back in the 1980s when everyone was buying cassette tapes that claimed to be able to teach you a foreign language if you played them as you slept. There was one catch: it didn’t work.

As for being in a trance, only around 10% of people ever go into what looks like a trance. There’s no point in being asleep or unconscious because then you wouldn’t be able to do anything! Yes, there is a trance present but it doesn’t look like people think it does and you won’t even be aware of it most of the time.

That’s why I educate people about what hypnotherapy really is in my videos. Anyone who comes to me knows what to expect because they must go through a short intake process before working with me.

What happens in a hypnotherapy session

The video below shows what happens in a hypnotherapy session when the therapist really knows what they’re doing.

It’s in the more traditional, classical style of hypnosis because I filmed it when I was new but I talk through how I would now do it nowadays.

A lot of people will be very surprised by this because it isn’t what they expect. I made this after working with a client who was a mental health specialist. After one hour they said they were disappointed because I hadn’t waved a magic wand and that they were expecting a miracle.

I realised that one of the main reasons hypnotherapy “fails” is because people are expecting it to be something it isn’t. Even what you see in the thumbnail of this video, a client in a trance, isn’t what hypnosis is all about but that’s what people expect to see.

What I explain in this video is true hypnotherapy. It’s not about waving your arms around, magic wands, dramatic trances and miracles.

See what happens in a hypnotherapy session.

Things clients have expected

I’ve had clients who overcame a fear of driving but said that they still get frustrated when they see people speeding, jumping red lights and breaking the law.

Taking therapy will not make you superhuman. You will still feel all of the things other people do and you’ll still be annoyed by things other people are annoyed by.

What these people amusingly fail to spot is that they are now the same as everyone else – which is what they wanted!

A slight bit of anxiety is healthy because it keeps you safe from harm. If someone has a fear of spiders, would it be wise to make it so they ran up and hugged any dangerous-looking spider they saw?

Results clients have expected

I have had clients who were disappointed that they couldn’t drive at 140mph on the motorways after a session. One client said he was expecting to talk to the ghosts of dead relatives. Another wanted me to summon the spirit of an Apache Indian to suck the ancestral curse out of their blood.

Hypnotherapy isn’t magic or voodoo. It doesn’t involve the supernatural or any special powers.

Hypnosis is a state of focus that helps you find what your problems are caused by. Forget all the stage show hypnosis and Hollywood stuff, that isn’t what we do in hypnotherapy.

If you want to learn more see my page how hypnosis works.

Analytical clients

An analytical client is one who overthinks things. They use logic and intelligence to assess everything in minute detail.

Those clients aren’t the problem though. The problem comes when the therapist does not adapt what they’re doing to suit that kind of client.

I’m a very analytical person and what makes me a good therapist is that I understand what it’s like to be analytical.

The opposite of being analytical is being very emotional. There are people that are very openly emotional they wear their hearts on their sleeve as the saying goes. They cry a lot, get upset and they’re very open about their past experiences.

Those people are easy to work with because their emotions flow freely but I’d say 95% of my clients are analytical. It’s much harder to get these people to show any emotion but you don’t have to.

If you pair up a therapist who uses relaxation and suggestions with an analytical client you are going to have a nightmare!

These are the sort of therapists that say things like “Close your eyes, you’re going deeper and deeper and the magical waterfalls are cascading around the unicorns and you are stroking the unicorns and you feel so calm…”

Rubbish. Absolute twaddle!

Their analytical client will be lying there chuckling and thinking it’s all nonsense.

Watch this video to discover your personality type.

When therapy doesn’t work with analytical clients

If you get someone who’s analytical you can use their analytical nature to help them.

It’s what I call getting them involved in the quest.

You explain how therapy works and say okay, so this is a problem in your past we need to find out what it really is.

The client becomes involved in the session and you don’t just sit there telling them about unicorns and rainforests. You ask them things like what happened in your life when you were younger. They tell you and you get them to analyse these things which is what they like doing. That then allows them to enter hypnosis in their way.

Bad therapists run from analytical clients and blame them for failure.

I have worked with many people who are analytical. I never told them to close their eyes and they had their eyes closed for an hour!

They just did it why because they felt the need to, not because I told them to.

If ever a therapist tells you you’re too analytical I can’t work with you because you’re too serious, that just means that the therapist doesn’t know what they’re doing.


Hypnotherapy is a permissive therapy so will only work if you give it permission to.

Hypnosis has nothing to do with controlling someone else’s mind. That’s impossible and anything you resist will not get into your mind, including good stuff!

If you sit there and you’re saying “It’s not going to work! This isn’t going to work on me! I don’t believe in this!” then it’s not going to work.

It isn’t a battle to see who can win, to see if the hypnotist can “get” you.

If people resist me I just say “Well done, you’ve won and your prize is your problem”.

I used to have problems with resistance when I just took on anyone for any problem instead of specialising in driving anxiety. Now I don’t get it because the people I work with are keen to overcome their issues.

You do get these people we call scalp hunters: people who go around and they’re really proud of having an unfixable problem.

I can tell you now if you resist it won’t work. I don’t have any special power and I’m there to help you.

If you resist and sit there saying “Go on then, wave your magic wand. Do your best and fix me” then nothing will happen.

I am here to help you, not to fight against you.

Resisting emotion

If you hide emotions or won’t talk about feelings then you will get nowhere.

Sometimes people are feeling something from their past and they’re just not willing to talk about it.

I’ve had people whose eyes are filling with tears and I say “What’s that?”. They reply “Oh, nothing. I’m not crying, my eyes are tired today.”.

If you resist you won’t get a result because.

What you resist will persist; that built-up emotion is your problem!

I’ve been through this myself. I’ve cried on dozens of sessions. I worked with therapists and have been in tears so much that I couldn’t speak.

I’ve been through it all and I would never ask someone to do something that I wouldn’t do myself.

If you refuse to deal with emotion you won’t get a result.

Being too sceptical

If you go for therapy believing it won’t work, it won’t work.

It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because you get what you aim for!

Imagine someone is out one day and sees somebody they really like the look of. They go up to them and say “Hi, I know you won’t be interested in me and I never get past the first date with anyone but I thought I’d ask if would like to talk. It’s OK if you say no, everyone does and I know it won’t work between us anyway”.

What do you think they’re going to say?

You might get lucky and they’re someone who understands and helps you but in most cases, you’d have blown it already.

Why it didn’t work

You have made it not work by being negative and then getting exactly what you expected. Then you go off telling everyone how you’re doomed to be single forever and nobody will ever love you.

The problem you are imagining doesn’t even exist and the only reason you feel that way is because of your self-defeating negative attitude.

The same is true for therapy and many therapists will spot these clients and stay well away from them. That may sound cruel and you may be thinking that the therapist has failed by not helping someone who needs help.

That’s why I spend so much time educating people for free with my YouTube videos.

The more people understand therapy and what it really entails, the more they believe it’ll work and they’ll find the success they crave.

When therapy doesn’t work in one session

Some people have this obsession with getting a result in one session.

I’ve got results in as little as 20 minutes and it’s incredible. Sometimes people come into a session thinking about the problem so much that all of the emotion is already there and all I have to do is kind of click my finger and it’s gone.

It’s like they’re standing on the edge of the cliff and all I do you give them a slight push and off they go.

That’s not going to work for everyone though.

I say to everyone who comes to me that if that doesn’t work in one session we’ll do another. I don’t charge people per session, I charge people to work with me for a set length of time and I’ll say look, if it doesn’t work come back we’ll do another.

Do not go thinking the first session didn’t work so therefore you can’t be helped. It just takes time.

Sometimes it can just be that your mind might think “I’m talking to this man on the other side of the world. I don’t really know who he is I don’t really want to tell him this secret.”.

Fine, there are ways we can do it without you telling me the secrets.

If you get a result in one session, great! If not just do another.

When therapy does work in one session

The total opposite of the last point!

The methods I use are so fast and effective that some clients struggle to believe that they can have worked.

I have had clients that have had a fear of driving for years and it went in 20 minutes. That is quite rare and it usually take one to three hours but even that is much faster than people expect.

Having had a problem for a long time does NOT mean it will take a long time to fix it!

Think of it like this: there’s a door in your home with a dodgy handle. It’s always playing up and you’re forever having to warn guests that come over about it. For it to work you have to lift the door a bit or jiggle the handle and it’s a real pain.

One day, a repairer is in your home doing some work and offers to fix the handle. You tell them it can’t be fixed because it’s been like that for years,

They fix it in five minutes.

People fail to realise that the only reason they’ve had a problem for so long is that they’ve not taken any action to fix it, or taken the wrong action.

Expecting the therapist to fix the problem

Sometimes people come to me and ask “Can you fix this?” to which I reply “No”.

Some therapists believe that they have special powers or that they have some gift for using hypnosis.

Only you can find the solution to your problem. A therapist’s job is to guide you to that solution.

Hypnosis comes from the client, not the therapist. You go into hypnosis of your own free will. You activate it and you find the problem and you fix it.

An example of a poor therapist would be someone who would say things like “I want you to imagine a house. Imagine you’re walking up the stairs and you’re going into one of the bedrooms and in the corner of the room there is a wardrobe”.

That’s poor because they’re telling you what to do.

A good therapist would say something like “I want you to imagine something”.

Can you see the difference? The good therapist just said to imagine something but left it very vague and open.

Even that isn’t perfect because I’m still telling you to imagine something, but it’s far better than the other example.

People might say “I’m imagining a spaceship”. I would never have thought of that. If I told you to imagine a house and you’re imagined in a spaceship it’s not going to work!

Clients that aren’t bothered about the result

If a client turns up for a session not being bothered then nothing will happen.

I will not work with people who aren’t bothered because if you’re not bothered then neither am I.

They’re always the ones who want to sit back and say “Go on then, just wave your magic wand and do your hypnosis. Fix me and make it quick!”.

No, it doesn’t work like that if you can’t be bothered to put the effort in you won’t get a result.

When therapy doesn’t work and it’s the therapist’s fault

It’s not always the client’s fault when therapy doesn’t work.

If your therapist doesn’t know what they’re doing then that will also result in failure and sadly, there are many poorly trained therapists who don’t have a clue what they’re doing. Some have no training at all!

Let’s look at a few things therapists may have got wrong when therapy doesn’t work.

This video shows how to spot a bad therapist

Working on symptoms

The single biggest reason therapy fails is that therapists work on symptoms.

Your symptom is just the way that another problem shows itself. It isn’t the actual problem itself.

Think of it as if you have a cold and are sneezing. It’s no good working on the sneezing by taping your mouth shut, that’s just working on the symptom. What you need to do is target the real cause: the virus that caused the cold.

A therapist that works on the problem directly doesn’t know what they’re doing!

A fear of driving has nothing to do with driving. A fear of flying has nothing to do with flying. Being scared of public speaking has nothing to do with public speaking.

The way you fix a problem is to find out what it REALLY is and then it goes. This isn’t always easy but it’s all you need to do.

This is why YouTube hypnosis videos fail. They focus on telling you to imagine yourself in the situation and then relaxing and being calm. That won’t do anything because the situation you’re scared of isn’t the problem anyway!

It’s also why exposure therapy fails but we’ll look more at that in the next point.

This video looks at how symptoms aren’t the problem.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy for driving anxiety does not work.

All you’re doing is forcing yourself into experiencing the symptoms and completely missing what the real problem is.

Having been a driving instructor for over 20 years, I know that it is stupidly dangerous to tell people with a fear of driving to just go out and push through.

I have seen doctors, therapists and all sorts of experts telling people that no matter how bad they feel they just have to drive through the fear. Never mind if you’re swerving all over the roads, hands dripping with sweat and you’re causing chaos, just keep going and fight it!

Absolute rubbish.

Even if you manage to get over a fear of driving with exposure therapy, all you have really done is pushed the problem elsewhere. It’s as though your mind is saying “OK so you’re not listening to me if I give you driving anxiety so I’ll make you start smoking instead”.

It’s funny to read through comments from people who think they beat their driving anxiety with exposure therapy. They often say “I did it! I beat it! Funny thing is now I can’t sleep as well and I’m gaining weight.”.

I’ve written a whole page on exposure therapy for driving anxiety which goes into more detail.


A generalist is a therapist who has a go at everything.

Look on their website and you’ll see they offer help with a fear of flying, a fear of driving, public speaking, pain control, insomnia…

Jack of all trades, master of none.

I work with the same thing all of the time so I have got to know a lot about it. There is no way I could do a session with someone on pain control and then another for weight loss then another for a fear of spiders.

Some people incorrectly think that all problems are the same and it’s irrelevant what you’re dealing with.

While there can be some truth in that for some cases, it’s just a theory banded around by therapists selling courses where they want to sound great and generate as many sales as they can.

The very best therapists specialise in one thing.

It’s like going into a hospital. Would you want your heart operated on by the same person who operates on people’s feet?

Using the same method on everyone

Many therapists use the same method with everyone and then blame the client if it doesn’t work.

You must be flexible as a therapist because every client is unique.

One of the greatest hypnotherapists of all time, Dr Milton Erickson, said that you have to reinvent your therapy for each client.

I have often been in a session with someone and had to change direction when something came up. Sometimes I’m halfway through that and have to change again, and again.

Poor therapists just stick rigidly to their step-by-step plan and miss everything important that the client is telling them.

This is a huge problem online with people making videos saying “I got over anxiety! Learn my secret!”. They then go off and start a career in therapy thinking they can fix anything because they’ve found the answer.

What they don’t realise is that answer only works for them.

This video explains how everyone’s solution is unique to them.

Using hypnosis too soon

A major mistake that probably 99% of hypnotherapists make is that they put people into hypnosis and then fix the problem.

That is the wrong way around!

You fix the problem first, THEN people go into hypnosis.

This is something that even some world-leading experts get wrong. It’s one of those things that sounds so wrong and yet when you think about it, it makes perfect sense.

You can go into hypnosis and then access your subconscious mind to make changes but the problem is that you may end up entering your mind in the wrong place.

Think of it like parachuting from a plane and just randomly landing anywhere. You may be nowhere near where you wanted to be.

By fixing the problem first, you land in hypnosis in the exact location needed. That’s one reason what I do works so quickly: we’re landing in the right place by doing the hypnosis AFTER you have fixed the problem.

I won’t explain this more here because it would take a long time but I can promise you that many therapists reading this will be scratching their heads for a long time!

Not doing something that makes the therapy work

There’s something a hypnotherapist needs to do for therapy to be successful yet 99.99% of therapists are unaware of it.

I’ve been through many training courses that didn’t even mention this and only true masters of hypnotherapy know about it.

It has the power to turn failed sessions into successes. If you miss it out it can mean even a successful session won’t work.

I won’t say exactly what it is but it’s brilliant. Once you learn it you won’t believe you’ve not been doing it!

Thinking hypnosis is what it isn’t

Hypnosis is not what people think it is.

Hypnosis isn’t about closing your eyes, feeling sleepy, imagining staircases and all of that nonsense.

I’ve written a whole page called Why can’t I be hypnotised? which goes into more detail about this.

I’ve also written one called Do YouTube hypnosis videos work? which explains more about DIY hypnotherapy,

Many therapists don’t know this and they set off in the wrong direction looking for something that doesn’t exist.

Doing something to fix the problem

Therapists of all kinds often make the mistake of doing something to fix a problem.

This is an odd one to get your head around but you don’t need to do anything!

Find the problem and it’ll fix itself.

You’ll hear all kinds of methods from therapists such as eating a banana, writing a journal, dancing around the room clapping your hands, and listening to stupid stories in videos and MP3’s.

All of those things are the therapist desperately doing something in the hope it’ll work because they don’t understand what they’re doing.

What you have to do is find the cause of the problem and the rest does itself.

This video looks in more detail at not doing something to fix anxiety.

Reading scripts

Script reading is when someone just reads text to you in the hope it’ll fix your problem. It’s often in the form of a story involving magical lands, rainforests and that sort of thing.

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of visiting a script reader then I feel sorry for you.

Remember as we said above that the problem isn’t the problem anyway and everyone’s solution is unique and must come from them.

It’s laughable when I go into groups of therapists and see them asking “What’s the best script for driving anxiety?”.

Every client has a unique reason for their problem so how can there be a set script to fix it?

Script readers are bottom-of-the-barrel therapists who have no idea what they’re doing.

A good therapist understands that the client is the script. You read what the client is saying in their words and body language and use that to find the solution. You don’t read a piece of text telling a story about rainforests.

One of the UK’s biggest hypnotherapy organisations sends its members a magazine every few months with a script in it. That tells you a lot about its members who claim to be the best.

If ever anyone reads you a story, get your money back and find someone who knows what they’re doing.

This video explains why hypnotherapy scripts fail.

Using MP3 tracks in sessions

Can you get any lower than a script reader? Yes!

Some therapists are so poor that they put headphones on clients and play them prerecorded audio tracks while they go and have a cup of tea.

It’s unbelievable but true. I’ve worked with clients who paid £350 for a 45-minute session where they just listen to a story played through headphones.

Spoiler – it didn’t work.

Other causes when therapy doesn’t work

There are a number of other factors that can stop therapy from being successful.

DIY therapy

It’s amusing how many people think that they can just listen to MP3 tracks and online videos and solve their problems.

While it can work sometimes for some people, it often won’t. I mean come on, do you REALLY think you can solve a huge problem in your life by lying down and listening to a video?

I have made tracks like this and people all around the world have emailed me saying they did help them get over the problem. That’s great but those were very light easy problems. If you have a problem that goes deeper then don’t give up just because a YouTube video made by an amateur didn’t work.

Learn more about this on my page Do YouTube hypnosis videos work?


It’s vital that the client and therapist get one well. I have met people I couldn’t work with because I just didn’t like their attitude or they didn’t like that I wouldn’t put them into a magical trance.

If you don’t get on with someone then the therapy is unlikely to work!

I heard of a time once when a driving instructor turned up for a lesson wearing the football shirt from his favourite team. His pupil, who was a fan of that team’s rivals, immediately struck up an argument with him!

Similar things can happen in therapy and this is why I make so many videos. Many of my clients say they feel like they know me before we met because they’ve watched me for so long.

Processing time

The result comes AFTER a session not during it!

Both clients and therapists alike make the mistake of thinking that if the problem hasn’t been resolved by the end of a session then they’ve failed. Wrong.

A session is just when you start to make the change but your mind needs time to work things out and this is called processing.

Processing takes place for hours, days and even months after a session has finished. Things change over time and if you go out and can’t immediately do whatever it is that you couldn’t before then you may get a false impression of failure.

This is why I won’t see clients every week. I insist on them having time between sessions for things to change.

Of course, there are exceptions when people feel better instantly and the problem does just go overnight. I’ve had that happen with clients but rushing and expecting instant results can make you think therapy hasn’t worked when it has, or would have if you’d just given it some time.

Secondary gain

Secondary gain is when you keep a problem because it’s helping you in some other way.

I worked with someone whose fear of driving wouldn’t go away even though we found what was causing it. He then said that he was actually glad he had driving anxiety because it meant he could never drive to see his mother-in-law!

Although we could fix his fear of driving, it would just return because that was his mind’s way of protecting him from anxiety caused by meeting his mother-in-law.

Some therapists argue that there is no such thing as secondary gain because the secondary gain is itself the problem. In the example above, that means working on the client not liking their mother-in-law would have fixed the driving issue.

This is true and the problem is never the problem anyway. As I’ve often said, a fear of driving has nothing to do with driving. You never work directly on the problem or you’ll get nowhere.

This however presents its own problem as we’ll see in the next point.

The wrong type of therapy

Different therapies have different values.

Hypnotherapy is great at dealing with issues caused by a past event but it’s not as good at current events.

Counselling is often more appropriate for some relationship issues but it wouldn’t fix driving anxiety.

CBT works for some people whereas hypnotherapy doesn’t and vice versa.

Given the ever-increasing number of types of therapy (modalities) out there, it can be hard to pick the right one.

There can even be times when a therapy that doesn’t work will work for you! That can be down to the placebo effect when your belief that something is going to work makes it work.

Two final things to consider

If you’ve read all of those things and still wonder why therapy didn’t work for you then here are two last things to think about.

You can’t fix everything

Some things once done cannot be undone.

It’s not that the therapist or client did anything wrong. Sometimes it’s just that therapy isn’t the right approach and you may need to spend longer working with a psychiatrist or other professional to help with your problems.

Hypnosis and hypnotherapy can work what looks like miracles but they are not miracles. All hypnotherapy really does is find what caused a problem and then it’ll correct itself when you realise that the cause and current issue don’t match.

For example, being locked in a cupboard as a kid has no reason to cause you to fear being locked in a car as you drive. You understand that and your problem goes. It’s pretty simple and not a miracle or magic.

Sometimes you need more than that and the problem lies deeper.

Some of the greatest therapists of all time have said that you can’t help everyone.

You never had a problem in the first place!

I have met people who don’t have a problem, they’re just convinced they do.

No amount of therapy will work even if you focus on why they think they have a problem.

If you want to get very philosophical about it, really nobody ever has a problem. All they have is a thought or accumulation of thoughts that make them believe something that isn’t true.

This is similar to when hypnosis is used in a stage show to make someone forget their name. They haven’t really forgotten their name, it’s just a suggestion that they’re choosing to believe.

The symptoms can be real. You’ll get sweaty hands and be feeling awful but that’s only because your body is reacting to what you’re thinking, which isn’t real.

You can’t fix something that doesn’t need fixing.

When therapy doesn’t work – that’s why!

Now that it makes sense you may have renewed hope in overcoming your problems, whatever they are.

There are more reasons why therapy didn’t work for you but the ones above are some of the most common.

Therapy does work and you can get over your problem. You can avoid the issues above and have success just by finding the right person to work with.

Check out my YouTube channel for more useful hints and tips.

Contact me if you’d like to work with me.