Why most self help techniques don't work

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

I want a quick soloution

Any psychological problem is nothing more than a person's reactions to a certain life problem that they didn't manage to deal with properly. We develop psychological problems when we fail to interact with life or cope with its problems properly. See How psychological disorders develop.

Psychological problems always have a cause and this is why they always have a cure. But for the psychological problem to be properly solved the person's background must be understood, the root cause must be found and then an action plan must be developed.

I had a coaching client who had serious problems with her marriage due to communication problems. The client kept insisting that i tell her about a technique that can solve the problem right away.

I tried to convince the client that long term problems cannot be solved by techniques but she kept insisting that she wants a certain quick fix technique and of course the problem was never solved. I ended the coaching, wished the client good luck and told her when all the techniques you are going to try fail you need to realize that dealing with the root cause is the way out.

Why most self help techniques don't work

Now here is the problem with the so called "self help techniques" :

  • 1) They bring no long term results : So many self help Techniques rely on providing instant solutions to problems and because this is not possible in 99% of cases the techniques never work. If you ignored the root cause to a problem then tried a technique to feel good or to improve your mood then you will never get long term results. See Why Meditation never worked for you
  • 2) They promote short term thinking: Most people who adopt those techniques end up with a very short term way of thinking that prevents them from ever solving any long term problem. The person approaches each problem with the quick-fix mentality and as a result all the solutions they accept are extremely short lived & totally ineffective on the long term. See also Why happiness is a destination not a journey & How mindfulness can ruin your life
  • 3) They never target the root cause: Most self help techniques are nothing more than quick fixes that can provide a temporary relief for a short period of time before the pain comes back again. This is why the people who adopt those techniques keep trying one technique after another in an endless cycle that never brings them true peace of mind. If you truly want to solve a problem then find the root cause and handle it. See Why your depression is not going away

The soloution vs the quick relief

There is no problem at all in trying a certain quick fix if it's going to make you feel good for a short period of time. However the real problem is when you become truly convinced that those "techniques" are the real solutions to your problems.

Once you develop such a mentality know that your problems are going to remain there until you change your way of thinking or get the root cause handled by chance.

You can't solve a psychological problem by using a pain killer.

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Want to know more?

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Why worrying is not pointless

Why ignoring your emotions can lead to depression

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