Psychotherapy doesn’t work!

Post contributed by Marieta Dippenaar

Psychotherapy does not work! It does not work, because it’s not like a ‘Panado’ tablet. It is not a bath or a facelift or a makeover job. It is not a new uniform that you can get dressed up in, or a costume you can get changed into. It is not a set of etiquette rules. It is not a judgment as to whether you have been right or wrong all your life – or whether or not you are worthy enough, good enough – lovable enough.

Your therapist is not a medical doctor who will give you the right medicine that, if you pay for it and take it regularly, will make you all better. Neither are they a judge or a referee or an ombudsman. At most, they deals in hunting for maps or compasses – and the acknowledgement, understanding and development of these – your own tools.

Every person who comes to psychotherapy comes with a map and a compass. Usually that map is hidden and faded from being buried all your life. Never used. You’ve been following the directions your parents gave you, and have became reactive instead of proactive. It is astonishing how much information one can get from a map, but it is pretty useless if your parents assumed you would just follow their version.


We are born with a very sophisticated compass – which consists of our feelings. A compass is invaluable on a journey, but unless your feelings were acknowledged, taken seriously and engaged with by your parents, your compass is not activated; so you can’t understand the directions. Sometimes you’ll try to ignore them, and often you are unaware of them. You may even think you don’t have a compass at all.

We were taught to Behave, rather than Be.

Someone in one of our Evexia psychotherapy groups described this perfectly recently. He said that his life felt as though he was on a small boat on the ocean, with paddles, and he was paddling around aimlessly. The good days were beautiful – but bad weather days were a nightmare and a fight for survival. He did not know why he was there and where he was going. He had no map and no compass. He did not know how he got there, where he was heading or how to get there.

The truth is that we all have maps – our own history is our map. The problem with this map is that the history as we have experienced it, and our history as our parents remember it, are not always the same story. So our story-map is full of distortion and confusion. If we want to use our own compass, we have to listen to our own feelings and follow them, but we are here because this is exactly what we cannot do.

Your psychotherapist can help you, at most, to in the first place believe that you have a map, a history, a story that is your very own. Your true story, and your real story. YOURSELF. Then they can help you to clarify that map and send you on the journey of life to following your compass, which is merely being guided by your feelings.

Your Psychotherapist should not repeat what your parents did and tell you the ‘so-called’ answers. They cannot do your journey for you.


Do you need help discovering your map and your compass for your life?

The teams at Evexia are ready to help you.

Simply complete the form and we’ll get in touch.