The process of receiving talk therapy is supposed to be life changing but why does this not happen for all who receive it. In the recent shootings at a California college a very disturbed individual was responsible. This person was receiving mental health therapy but why did it not work for him?
Many believe that therapy is a magical process in which someone with advanced college degrees speaks and the lives of the people that are around them just change because of the words. Here is the thing the people receiving therapy must want to change, they must fully engage in the session. People receiving therapy must also do the work that it is given to them outside of the therapy session.
Many people do not understand how a person can be receiving therapy for years without any results. One of the biggest reasons for this is that the person denies or refuses to accept that they can accomplish the changes in their life that have been explained by their therapist. For example, when I work with people who are dealing with anger issues or anxiety I teach them relaxation techniques, visualization techniques, and ways to process their thoughts. The problem is I can tell a person all the techniques in the world, I can practice those techniques with them in a session but it is ultimately up to the person to go out and practice these things in their personal life or outside of the therapy session.
So in response to why therapy does not work we must examine a few things or realities when answering that question. Reality one, there is no %100 cure for anything in life, even the best treatments will report that the treatment is %99.9 effective which means there is a small chance that it might not work. The people receiving the treatment have to want it to work, think about why scientist use double-blind studies to test things. Double-blind studies are necessary because when people want or believe that something will work then it will. In other words, belief and effort are powerful without those ingredients no amount of talking will change a person’s outlook on life.