Why Therapy Doesn’t Work: Common Myths

Therapy can be effective in treating mental health issues, but there are more than a few myths to dispel about why therapy doesn’t work.

Myths Surrounding The Idea Of Why Therapy Doesn’t Work

Psychotherapy is a type of treatment that involves talking with a mental health professional to address emotional, behavioral, or psychological problems. While this may sound beneficial to almost anyone, figuring out how and why therapy doesn’t work for someone can be a difficult process.

Factors That Influence Outcome Of Psychotherapy

Not all psychotherapies are equally effective for everyone. Some factors that can influence the outcome of psychotherapy include:

  • The type of psychotherapy
  • The therapist’s skills and experience
  • The client’s motivation and readiness for change
  • The client-therapist relationship
  • The client’s expectations and goals

However, just because therapy doesn’t work for someone at first may just mean that they haven’t found the right type of therapy or therapist.

In this article, we will explore some of the different types of psychotherapy, how effective they are for different conditions, when psychotherapy is beneficial, and what alternatives exist for those who don’t still may not want therapy.

Types Of Psychotherapy And Their Effectiveness

Many types of psychotherapy vary in their methods, goals, and duration. If someone is enrolled in the wrong type of therapy, this could be another reason why therapy doesn’t work for them. Some of the most common types include:1

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This is a short-term therapy that helps clients identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors that contribute to their problems.

CBT has been proven to be effective in treating conditions such as depression, anxiety, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorder, and more.

Psychodynamic Therapy

This long-term therapy focuses on exploring the unconscious motives and conflicts underlying one’s problems.

Psychodynamic therapy aims to help clients gain insight into their past experiences and how they affect their present behavior. Psychodynamic therapy is effective for treating personality disorders, complex trauma, and more.

Family Therapy

This is a type of therapy that involves working with one’s family members to improve communication, resolve conflicts, and strengthen bonds.

Family therapy can help clients deal with issues such as marital problems, parenting difficulties, family violence, substance abuse, and more.

Group Therapy:

This is a type of therapy that involves meeting with a group of people who share similar problems or goals. Group therapy can provide support, feedback, and learning opportunities for clients.

Each type of therapy has its strengths and limitations, and some may work better for some people than others. Therefore, it is important to find the right type of psychotherapy for you and your unique needs.

When Is Psychotherapy Beneficial?

Psychotherapy can benefit almost anyone who wants to improve their mental health, well-being, or quality of life. Psychotherapy can help you:

  • Understand yourself better
  • Change unhealthy patterns
  • Develop coping skills
  • Enhance your relationships
  • Increase your self-esteem
  • Achieve your goals

However, psychotherapy is not a magic cure that works for everyone. There are lots of possibilities for why therapy doesn’t work for some people.

Psychotherapy requires time, effort, and commitment from both the client and the therapist. Psychotherapy also depends on several factors that can affect its outcome, such as:2

Client’s Motivation And Readiness For Change

Psychotherapy works best when the client is willing to participate actively in the process, explore their feelings and thoughts honestly, try new behaviors or strategies, and apply what they learn outside of sessions.

Client-Therapist Relationship

Psychotherapy works best when the client and the therapist have a strong bond of trust, respect, and collaboration. The client-therapist relationship can facilitate or hinder the therapeutic process, depending on how well they communicate, understand, and support each other.

Client’s Expectations And Goals

Psychotherapy works best when the client has realistic and clear expectations and goals for therapy. The client’s expectations and goals can influence their motivation, satisfaction, and progress in therapy.

Therefore, psychotherapy is beneficial when it matches your needs, preferences, and circumstances. Reasons why therapy doesn’t work may include when it is an inappropriate method or ends up being harmful to you.

How To Find The Right Therapist Or Type Of Therapy For You

Finding the right therapist or type of therapy for you can be a challenging task, and sometimes the task of this itself makes people think about why therapy doesn’t work in the long-run.

However, there are many factors to consider, such as:

  • Problem: What are you seeking help for? What are your symptoms? How severe are they? How long have they been bothering you?
  • Goal: What do you want to achieve from therapy? How do you want to feel or behave differently?
  • Preference: What type of therapy appeals to you? What type of therapist do you feel comfortable with? What are your values and beliefs?
  • Resources: How much can you afford to pay for therapy? How much time can you commit to therapy? How accessible is therapy for you?
  • Compatibility: How well do you get along with your therapist? How comfortable do you feel with them? How satisfied are you with their approach and style?To find the right therapist or type of therapy for you and to never wonder again why therapy doesn’t work for you, a few steps to follow include:

    Do Research

    Learn about different types of therapy and what they involve. Read about the qualifications, experience, and specialties of different therapists. Compare their fees, availability, and location.

    Ask For Referrals

    Ask your friends, family, doctor, or other trusted people if they can recommend a therapist who might be a good fit for you. However, keep in mind that what works for someone else may not work for you.

    Try Online Platforms

    Use online tools or websites that can help you find a therapist near you or virtually. You can filter your search based on your preferences and needs.

    Contact Potential Therapists

    Call or email the therapists who interest you and ask them some questions about their practice. For example, you can ask them about their credentials, approach, fees, policies, availability, etc.

    Schedule A Consultation

    Arrange a meeting with one or more therapists to see how they work and how you feel about them. This can help you assess your compatibility and expectations before starting therapy.

    Finding the right program may take some time and effort. However, it will be worth it as it can make a big difference in your mental health outcomes.


Stigmas And Myths Around Therapy

Therapy is a form of professional help that can benefit anyone who wants to improve their mental health or well-being.

However, there are many stigmas and myths around therapy that can prevent people from accessing it or may even leave them thinking about why therapy doesn’t work. Some of these stigmas and myths are:3

Therapy Is Only For Those With Serious Mental Illness

Therapy can help people with a wide range of issues that may include mental illness but may also simply struggle with creating healthy coping skills.

Therapy Is A Sign Of Weakness

This is not true. Therapy is a sign of strength and courage. It takes courage to admit that you need help and to seek it, and it takes strength to face your challenges and work on them with a therapist.

Realizing why therapy doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean that it was weak to have ever attended sessions, either.

Therapy Is Expensive And Inaccessible

Therapy can vary in cost depending on the type of therapy, the therapist’s qualifications, the location and duration of sessions, etc.

However, there are also many ways to make therapy more affordable and accessible, such as insurance coverage, sliding scale fees, online platforms, community resources, and more.

Therapists Will Judge You

Therapy is based on trust and confidentiality. A good therapist will respect your privacy and boundaries; they will not share your information with anyone without your consent (unless there are legal or ethical reasons). The therapist will also not judge you; they will be empathic, supportive, respectful, and compassionate.

These are some of the common stigmas and myths surrounding therapy that may make people think about why therapy doesn’t work. These stigmas and myths can be challenged by educating oneself about therapy, talking openly about mental health issues, and seeking support from others who have been through therapy.

Alternatives For Healing

Therapy is one of the many options available for healing one’s mental health or well-being issues. But, therapy may not be suitable or appealing for everyone, leading them to seek out other ways for healing after realizing why therapy doesn’t work for them.

Fortunately, there are also other alternatives for healing that one can try if they don’t want therapy. Some of these alternatives are:4


Self-help can involve reading books, articles, blogs, and podcasts that offer information and advice on various mental health topics. This often includes practicing self-care activities such as meditation, relaxation techniques, yoga, exercise, healthy eating, sleeping, and hobbies that enhance one’s physical and emotional well-being.

Self-help can be beneficial for people who want more control over their healing process and for those who realized the specific reasons why therapy doesn’t work for them. However, self-help may not be enough for people who have severe or complex issues or who need professional guidance or intervention.

Complementary And Alternative Therapies

These are therapies that are not part of conventional medicine but can be used alongside it or instead of it. Some examples of complementary and alternative therapies are yoga, acupuncture, meditation, massage, herbal remedies, and more.

These therapies can help people relax, reduce stress, improve mood, and cope with pain.


Medication refers to using prescribed drugs to treat various mental health conditions. Medication can help people balance their brain chemistry, reduce their symptoms, and improve their functioning. However, medication may also have side effects, so it is important to consult a doctor before taking any medication and to follow their instructions carefully.

Support Groups

Support groups are groups of people who share similar experiences or challenges and who meet regularly to offer each other emotional support, information, advice, etc. Support groups can help people feel less alone, more understood, and more hopeful. Support groups can be found online or offline, and they can be led by professionals or peers.

These are some of the alternatives for healing that one can try if they still have reasons why therapy doesn’t work for them. However, these alternatives may not work for everyone or every situation. Therefore, it is just as important to do some research before choosing an alternative as it is to do research before searching for a therapist or therapeutic modality of treatment.

Conclusion To Why Therapy Doesn’t Work For Everyone

Psychotherapy is a process of exploring and changing one’s thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and relationships with the help of a trained professional. Psychotherapy can benefit almost anyone who wants to improve their mental health or well-being.

However, psychotherapy is not a one-size-fits-all solution. There are many types of psychotherapy that suit different problems and goals. This means that there are various reasons why therapy doesn’t work for everyone. Therefore, it is important to find the right type of psychotherapy and the right therapist for yourself. This can help you get the most out of your therapy experience.

Reach Out For Personalized Treatment And Sustainable Healing

Contact Advaita Integrated Medicine if you or a loved one need help finding a treatment plan. We can meet with you personally to figure out why therapy doesn’t work for you, and we will also help create a curated treatment plan that works best for your needs and symptoms.

Reach out today if you have any questions about why therapy doesn’t work for you and what treatment plan may work better for your situation.

Questions About Treatment?

Reach out to Advaita Integrated Medicine today and let us guide you toward a full and rewarding life uninhibited by mental health or substance use disorder challenges. We are here to support you every step of the way.

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