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Posted September 1, 2001

Secondary Gain:
Keeping Your Reality From Manifesting

Jeri Noble

Secondary gain is a psychiatric term meaning that a person has a hidden reason for holding onto an undesirable condition. Frequently this reason is unconscious. It is obviously unconscious because the loss of holding onto the condition is often far greater than the perceived gain.

For example, this term is often used in chronic pain management. Chronic pain is pain that continues on past the time of an injury being healed, often having no apparent cause in the present. Finding and releasing the perception of secondary gain, such as the attention one receives, monetary compensation for disability, or just the need to deny the original cause of the pain, can greatly contribute to healing.

In metaphysics, we have found the term "secondary gain" to be very helpful, particularly when we seem to run into barriers to manifesting our good. This occurs when we put a great deal of energy into visualizing, affirming and treating for a new level of good and it either doesn't happen or the situation actually gets worse. This is a signal that there may be an issue of secondary gain, that for some reason, our subconscious mind feels more secure staying in our disadvantaged state rather than going for improvement.

I've done a lot of work with a variety of different clients researching this phenomenon, and have found some interesting aspects to it.

1. As with the above-mentioned psychiatric conditions, this type of secondary gain is also almost always unconscious. The only time that I have seen that it may be conscious is if the metaphysician is functioning under pressure from a friend, loved one or teacher to manifest something that they either don't want or can't sincerely care about. This often occurs in prosperity treatments. One is "supposed to" desire wealth and security. Well, for some people this just isn't a priority and may even seem to be an encumbrance. They may feel "out of step" for having the "wrong" perception of this, and attempt to manifest contrary to their own inner beliefs.

2. Fear of responsibility is another secondary gain. One may feel that added success, love or prosperity is going to ultimately demand more than can be provided. One may be exposed as a fraud - being "found out" as not really capable or competent to cope with this higher level of good.

3. Loss of love may be a deciding factor. One may feel that they will move out of the sphere of their current peer group, family, or romantic relationship if they change too much.

4. Loss of income. Ironically enough, some will prevent themselves from manifesting a greater income because they will lose the current, reliable income. This can apply to welfare, unemployment benefits or family support.

How do we determine whether we have secondary gain issues? If you have been doing all the "right" things, affirming, visualizing, meditating, etc., and still are not attracting your good, then accept it - you have a secondary gain holding you back. This may not be as easy as it looks. Many of us do not want to admit that we've been standing in our own way. Often, the secondary gain issue is subconscious because consciously, we consider it to be shameful.

If you are getting an emotional reaction from reading this, anger, loss or frustration, this is your secondary gain issue coming up. You may be getting hints of it right now. If so, write it down. Like a bug in a rug, it will try to hide from your conscious mind. Writing it down will help hold it in consciousness for you.

I have found writing to be the most constructive method for unearthing these issues, but others do better talking to a friend or speaking into a tape recorder. Here's how it works. Start coming up with ideas of what your secondary gain *might* be. Of course if you've got glimmerings of what it actually is, note it down. But, be speculative. An excellent way of viewing this is to ask yourself, "What really good reason do I have for not manifesting this reality?". You have to take this seriously now, no denial of, "There is no good reason!". Yes, there is. It's good enough that it's hiding out in your subconscious because you're unwilling to admit that you have it. So again I say, what is your really good reason for holding back, for not allowing this manifestation to appear?

Get the reason(s) on paper, spoken to your friend or on tape. You may have more than one reason. Perhaps you're afraid of the responsibility plus the whole idea of reality creation, deep down, is a little scary. It happens. But your subconscious mind won't be willing to give it up unless you treat it with respect, that is, accept that deep within you lies a real issue that must be resolved.

Once you have your issue, go to work on it. Get therapy for it, join a support group, journal on it, meditate about it, do all the things you would do with a conscious issue to heal it. You may have more than one secondary gain and it will need to be dealt with as well. This doesn't make you a bad person. On the contrary, it shows you as a courageous and aware individual, willing to face the truth that lies within.

Copyright Ó 2000 Jeri Noble
All Rights Reserved

Jeri Noble has been a professional counselor for over 30 years in a variety of modalities. These include past life regression therapy, astrology, and rebirthing. Jeri lives with her life partner Tom, (that's right, Tom and Jeri) and their furbeing Silky near the New Age mecca, Sedona, Arizona. She was the original publisher of the weekly ezine,, and former owner of


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