The Importance of Pain in Therapy

The Importance of Pain in Therapy



Many coaches are taught to encourage their clients to look at the positive in situations or to reframe negative goals into positive ones. And this is a key skill to support your clients to achieve their desired outcomes.


But before setting goals you need to motivate your client so they have a deep desire to work towards their positive goals, even during the days where things don’t go to plan.


In this initial stage of the session the practitioner can use pain as a motivational tool.



101 coaching techniques

Towards and Away From Motivation


Before your clients book a session they, in many cases, have lived with their issue for many weeks, months and in most cases years. The client hasn’t enjoyed their situation, but they had learnt to deal with the pain and put up with their problem.


Then at a certain point the client’s perception changes, they feel that enough is enough, the pain increases and they seek help from you, the coach, to move forward with their lives.


This increase in pain was the reasons the client contacted you for a session.



Motivational Pain



Pain and pleasure motivation is a flow; it rises and decreases throughout the day. The associated pain or pleasure emotion attached to the stimulus is the baseline, but often external and internal factors strengthen and weaken this, creating a flow, but the pain or pleasure baseline is a constant.


A client on a particular day feels an escalation in pain which creates a desire for change, but later the pain decrease back to the baseline, which the client has learnt to live with, weakening the aspiration for change.


If a client changes their baseline from “I can put up with this” to “I need to change my habits to get away from this pain” the client will be in a constant state of wanting to change, making achieving their goals a key priority in their life.


As therapist we see this daily; some clients set goals which they are committed to achieving, while others, who in the therapy session seem as keen as any other client then lose their motivation, resulting in them returning to their old habits.





25 free coaching tools

Boosting The Pain


When clients arrive for a change session I first check they are committed to making the change, because I don’t want them to go back to their old habits. I asked a client once “when do you want to make this change?” She replied “in about 4 months” I told her “that’s great, come back in 4 months”


To make a change in your lifestyle, habits and perspective you need to be fully committed now. At the session start I ask the client what has made them want to make a change? Here, I am not trying to uncover their goals, instead I want to know what stimulus/perspective caused the pain to increase to a level that made them want to change.


Remember the client has put up with their issue for an age, but recently something has changed that made them want to change. For some this is external they have seen someone with the same issue become worse and they don’t want the same to happen to them, others had a change of perspective and can no longer continue as they are.


Whatever their reason I build up this stimulus using all their senses to create a highly associated state of pain. Here I am replacing the baseline, so when they think about their stimulus, instead of feeling “It’s not too bad” or “I can put up with this for a bit longer,” the client feels a desire for change, they associate the stimulus with so much pain that they want, more than anything, to move away from the pain and to achieve their goals.




coaching business in a box



Creating Change


With a desire to change internally associated at the subconscious level, you can move onto the pleasure – the goals and outcomes. These 2 elements pain and pleasure is a key motivational package that creates fast therapy.


Often clients who only focus on their goals and the pleasure they will receive as they achieve these goals, only become motivated for a short period of time before returning to their old habits. Pleasure outcomes are motivational, but the motivation isn’t strong enough alone to create fast change.


This is why people who want to be healthier return to smoking, drinking or eating fatty foods, this is the reason why people set goals but in quick succession stop working towards them. Many clients setting goals will start to associate pain to the work/task required to achieve these goals, and see the pleasure in their old habits and routine.


By creating negative association to their old habits and routine, the client will have a need to change because pain is a stronger motivator then pleasure.

Chris Delaney NLP Life Coach, Hypnotherapist and Career Advisor is available for booking for One to One Private Sessions, Group Training Sessions and Public Speaking Events


Other People Who Read This Article Also Read:

Chris Delaney Specialise in:

FREE Life Coaching Downloads

Sponsored Adverts

Train to Be a life Coach and Make Money as a part time or full time Coach

coaching business in a box

101 Life Coaching Tools and Techniques

101 coaching techniques

Chris Delaney NLP Life Coach, Hypnotherapist and Career Advisor is available for booking for One to One Private Sessions, Group Training Sessions and Public Speaking Events


DIDSBURY: 4 Birley Park, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2TL

MANCHESTER: The Triangle, 37 Exchange Square, Manchester M4 3TR

E-MAIL: for more information


  • Hypnosis and Life Coaching for smoking in Didsbury
  • Hypnosis and Life Coaching for weight loss in Didsbury
  • Hypnosis and Life Coaching for fears and phobias in Didsbury
  • Hypnosis and Life Coaching for self esteem in Didsbury
  • Hypnosis and Life Coaching for anxiety in Didsbury
  • Hypnosis and Life Coaching for alcoholism in Didsbury
  • Hypnosis and Life Coaching for confidence in Didsbury
  • Hypnosis and Life Coaching for goals in Didsbury

Hypnotherapy and Life Coaching in Didsbury is easily located for people living in and around Stockport, Manchester, Tameside, Chorlton and Didsbury, as we are just off the M60

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.