Why NLP and Other Healing Modalities Don’t Work Sometimes


My intention in writing this article:

I’m writing this article with an intent that it provides you valuable insights that will enhance your understanding of your work as an NLP Coach and practitioner of healing modalities as well as a being on a journey of life.

laptop and coffeeAbhay Thhakkar - NLP practitioner from Mumbai - at D Y Patil College, Mumbai
Abhay Thhakkar facilitating Hypnotherapy course at DY Patil College in Mumbai

My Observation as a Trainer and Coach

For over ten years, I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to facilitate transformations in my clients’ and participants’ personal and professional lives.
During this time, I have noticed that many of them have successfully achieved the desired outcome of their session through my application of NLP techniques and other healing modalities.

Although there have been certain cases in which no technique and healing modality has worked. In my interactions with over 300 coaches, healers, therapists, and psychologists, they too share the same experience they have had with their clients.

Certainly, observing the transformations in our client’s and participant’s lives is very satisfying.
On the other hand, when the clients do not achieve the session’s outcome, a budding coach/therapist might have a tendency to start doubting the technique and even their ability as a coach/therapist.

With my years of experience, I have often noticed that the reason for these failures is not the modality and the ability of the coach itself, but a few underlying reasons. The awareness of the reasons can bring forth light to certain answers you may be seeking as a student of life.

To assist you in further expanding your awareness, let’s first understand how NLP came to be applicable in therapy. Subsequently, we will explore the various reasons NLP techniques and other modalities do not work at times.

NLP counselling session with an NLP practitioner and a couple
Richard Bandler (co-founder of NLP)

Application of NLP techniques/tools in healing

Although Richard Bandler (co-creator of NLP) says, “NLP is not therapy, it is simply about learning to use our brains”, there are multiple applications of NLP in the field of therapy/healing.

By default, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) has applications in therapy since it began as a modelling technology – modelling the most effective psychotherapists – Dr. Milton H Erickson (Hypnotherapist and Psychiatrist), Fritz Perls (founder of Gestalt Therapy) and Virginia Satir (Family Therapist).

The co-creators of NLP – Richard Bandler, Frank Pucelik, and Dr. John Grinder, successfully decoded the patterns used by the 3 psychotherapists, which gave them outstanding results in therapy. Subsequently, they applied it with their clients and taught them to participants in their NLP training courses. Consequently, every participant of an NLP course also began achieving outstanding results in therapy/healing.

Consequently, even though Neuro Linguistic Programming – NLP, has applications in every field of human endeavor, many NLP certification trainings in India and abroad focus on change work/healing. Many participants from NLP Trainings vouch for the life transformations they have experienced during and after an NLP Training.

You can even find several such reviews by participants from my Internationally Certified NLP Trainings on this website.

three Indians sitting and discussing during an NLP workshop
a participant of NLP course in Mumbai, with eyes closed

The intention of an NLP Coach

I have noticed and appreciated that many NLP coaches have a positive intention to assist a person to completely overcome the issue and achieve an outcome for which the person is taking the session.

Hence, during the coaching process, the NLP coach selects the most appropriate and powerful NLP technique and tool so that the outcome chosen by the client (the client’s conscious mind) is achieved.


NLP techniques and tools not working?

However, in certain cases, when the outcome set by the client is not achieved, the NLP coach starts using other NLP techniques. And, if it still does not work, they start doubting the NLP techniques and maybe even themselves as an NLP coach.

Subsequently, at times, this leads to a spiral of self-doubt.

a man on top of questionmark sign
Abhay Thhakkar - NLP Practitioner from India

Why don’t they work?

If NLP is effective and the NLP coach has positive intentions, then why does it not work with certain issues?

Remember, in such cases, it’s important to gain an understanding of certain aspects about the process of our life. Some of them being:

1. Healing is not fixing.
2. Why “highest and best good”?
3. Learning to Surrender
4. Ecology check in New Code NLP & NLP techniques/tools

1. Healing is not fixing

Healing is derived from the word – ‘whole’. Therefore, the healing process involves assisting a person to be ‘whole and complete’.

Hence, in my NLP training, I share with the participants that our intention as an NLP coach is to do coaching/healing for that client’s “highest and best good”.

Wellness and illness board sign
a group learning under the tree

2. Why “highest and best good”?

We are able to see life from a limited perspective.
However, from a broader perspective, there are certain aspects we (NLP coach and client) cannot see and foresee.

You may have experienced that when you look back at your life, there are certain situations that you are grateful for that happened the way it did. Although you may not have liked the way it was happening when you were going through those circumstances and were hoping it was different.

Hence, at times, it is beneficial to operate from a belief that –
“In the infinity of life wherever I am, all is perfect, whole and complete”.

3. Learning to Surrender

As an NLP Coach or NLP Practitioner, operating from a ‘surrender mode’ allows the healing to happen, which is for the “highest and best good” and moreover ecological for the client.

Ecology implies that the healing and the desired outcome does not have any negative consequence in any aspect of the client’s life.
If the achieved outcome is not ecological, it may do more harm than good.

For example, family members of a person having cancer may want that person to have a complete cancer remission. However, for the highest and best good of the person, death is what could be the most liberating for him/her.
Hence, healing in certain cases is death as well.
A family member of mine passed away due to cancer. Therefore, this is also from my personal experience.

Remember, at times, we have to go through certain things, not around them. Hence, acceptance and learnings are known to be powerful healing processes.

a lady in deep trance during NLP course training in Mumbai
a hand on a seesaw balancing life

4. Ecology check in New Code NLP & NLP techniques/tools

In NLP, certain NLP tools are taught in the NLP workshop, which is in the form of questions (such as in ‘Well Formed Outcome’) that do an ‘ecology check’.

Thereby ensuring the outcome has no negative consequences in any aspect of life.
However, there is still a possibility of missing out on certain aspects since the conscious mind may overlook them.

On the other hand, the merit in New Code NLP tools and techniques, which I share in my New Code NLP certification trainings, lies in the fact that in New Code NLP, we work directly at the level of the unconscious mind.

Consequently, the unconscious mind automatically selects an ecological outcome and does ecology checks to ensure that the client’s healing happens for the highest and best good for the person.

Remember – At times, to heal a wound, you need to stop touching it.


Often, we observe that when the client’s desired outcome is not achieved, the NLP coach begins doubting the NLP techniques or their ability.
However, you will be one step closer to becoming a better NLP coach with your intent to do healing which is for the “highest and best good” and ecological for the client, along with an attitude of surrender.

Moreover, these are valuable learning that will enable you to navigate your journey of life with more ease.

You can learn more by visiting:
‘Difference between NLP and New Code NLP’
'New Code NLP Course'
‘NLP Certification in India’
‘Origins of NLP and New Code NLP'

Abhay Thhakkar with a participant in his NLP Training course in India
Never stop learning because life never stops teaching