How to Sabotage Your Success in Therapy

As a therapist, I never can understand how so many people expect that therapy will work in one session!. These people are expecting a ‘magic wand’ solution. Well there is no magic wand except for the willingness to work on your life and change your thinking, your attitude, your feelings and your behaviour!

Example of Sabotage with a Sex-Life Challenge

  1. Erroneous thinking and negative attitude

    It’s just too hard, too much work and too complicated.

    It will lead to conflict with my partner so I better just put up with it.

    No one else really has a good sex-life either, so we are just normal.

    He/she is such a nice person/ nurturer/good provider/great status symbol/loyal partner/so culturally suited to me – that the fact that we don’t have a good sex-life doesn’t really matter.

    I don’t really believe that I deserve/can have an outstanding sex-life, so being mediocre is good enough.

  2. Negative feelings that block their progress and lower their self-esteem and confidence

    Embarrassment and Inadequacy, Guilt, Fear, Disgust, Resentment, Anger

  3. Negative behaviours

    Forgetting their appointments with themselves, each other, or their therapist

    Not doing practical exercises as homework

    Forgetting to bring their homework to the therapist

    Breaking their agreements

    Always coming up with excuses for why change wasn’t possible

    Angrily attacking their partner when they attempt to talk about the problem

    All talk and no action

    Leaving their mobile phone on during therapy session

    Forgetting to bring their reading glasses to their therapy session and not being able to read material that is shown to them in session by their therapist.


Rick was a TV star and his wife worked in sales. He was suffering from premature ejaculation. Every week there was a new excuse for why they couldn’t do their sex homework practice.

Week 1 they had had friends from overseas to stay and were out all of the time and up late, drinking.

Week 2 she had had her period and they never had any sexual contact then.

Week 3 he had had the flu

Week 4 her mother came to stay and you can’t have sex with your parent in the house –after all, what would they think of you if they found out?

Week 5 they bought a puppy. As anyone who ever had a new puppy would know, they miss their mother and so you have to let them sleep in your bedroom and they keep you awake with their whimpering and you couldn’t possibly have sex…ad infinitum

After six weeks they dropped out of therapy. After 6 months I saw his marriage breakdown splashed across the front page of the TV tabloid newspaper.

How to Succeed in Therapy

Example: Solving Sex-life Challenges
  1. Your positive thinking and positive attitude

    Our sex-life is valued at twenty-five percent of our relationship and so it has to be a priority.

    I have permission on all levels (family, society, religious etc) to express my sexuality in a safe way.

    If we avoid conflict we will never resolve our sexual challenges and so we are ripping off our relationship.

    It’s NOT normal to not have a good sex life.

    I expect my partner to do everything in his/her power to contribute to our positive sex-life and I am committed to do everything in my power to contribute too.

    We deserve better than a mediocre sex-life – we deserve the best sex-life we can create.

  2. Your positive feelings to enhance your progress and boost your sexual self-esteem and confidence.

    Feel inspired, committed, confident, loving, enthusiastic, passionate, respectful.

  3. Your positive behaviours

    Keep all appointments with yourself, your partner and your therapist

    Do all of the homework and remember to bring it to the therapy sessions

    Keep all agreements and promises

    Prioritize sex but keep it in balance in the relationship

    Keep negative feedback outside of the bedroom

    Have an agreed signal between partners (that is always respected and obeyed) when one partner wants the sexual activity to stop.


A couple married as childhood sweethearts over twenty-five years ago. The man had always had premature ejaculation and the woman had never experienced orgasm with intercourse.

They attended all sessions with the therapist together and did all the homework, including listening to CDs, reading books and scheduling the sex practices regularly.

After three months the man was able to last up to forty-five minutes without ejaculating. Now she could concentrate on learning how to orgasm with the prolonged intercourse.

A year later they reported that they were having simultaneous orgasms after thirty minutes of intercourse and that she was experiencing multiple orgasms with intercourse.

Your Self-help Solutions Checklist

Change your thinking to have a positive attitude
    1. Get committed to positive change
    2. Understand the problem
    3. Get your facts right
    4. Understand, accept and learn from your past and learn what works best to enhance your future
    5. Make your thoughts and attitude positive, rational, and realistic
Have positive feelings which enhance your progress. and boost your self-esteem and confidence
    1. Feel free, confident, loving, enthusiastic, passionate and respectful
Have positive behaviours which give you positive results
  1. Practice your strategies
  2. Keep your body fit, healthy and relaxed
  3. Prioritize your goals. Find the time, no matter what, but keep it in balance in your life.
  4. Have good communication with others and keep your agreements.

© Dr Janet Hall