Cover image for The present moment in psychotherapy and everyday life
The present moment in psychotherapy and everyday life
Stern, Daniel N.
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New York : W.W. Norton, [2004]

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xxiii, 283 pages ; 25 cm.
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RC480.5 .S683 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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While most psychotherapies agree that therapeutic work in the 'here and now' has the greatest power to bring about change, few if any books have ever addressed the problem of what 'here and now' actually means. Beginning with the claim that we are psychologically alive only in the now, internationally acclaimed child psychiatrist Daniel N. Stern tackles vexing yet fascinating questions such as: what is the nature of 'nowness'? How is 'now' experienced between two people? What do present moments have to do with therapeutic growth and change? Certain moments of shared immediate experience, such as a knowing glance across a dinner table, are paradigmatic of what Stern shows to be the core of human experience, the 3 to 5 seconds he identifies as 'the present moment.' By placing the present moment at the center of psychotherapy, Stern alters our ideas about how therapeutic change occurs, and about what is significant in therapy. As much a meditation on the problems of memory and experience as it is a call to appreciate every moment of experience, The Present Moment is a must-read for all who are interested in the latest thinking about human experience.

Author Notes

Daniel Stern is the author of nine novels, and three other story collections. In 1990 Stern's Twice Told Tales won the Rosenthal Foundation Award given by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He's been at various times in his working life a professional cellist, a professor at Wesleyan University, head of advertising for Warner Bros. Motion Pictures and for CBS Entertainment, and director of humanities at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. He is currently Cullen Distinguished Professor English in the creative writing program at the University of Houston.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Noted psychiatrist Stern (The Interpersonal World of the Infant) addresses the phenomenon of the emotional now, about four seconds of vitally felt but unspoken "lived stories." When shared with another, these "moments of meeting" shape the identities of participants in what is an intersubjective exchange, a mutual mind reading. Psychoanalysis, with its emphasis on history and interpretation, tends to miss this immediacy, which is as powerful and elusive as responding to a musical phrase or a child's gesture. Stern distills his perspective from psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, the arts, and "breakfast interviews" that shed light on everyday "now" experience. His observations and theory will change our thinking about intimate relationships, time and rhythm, behavioral evolution, empathy, morality, and brain function. What works in therapy seems akin to Franz Alexander's "corrective emotional experience," an unremarked forebear in Stern's otherwise impressive bibliography. Important and accessible enough to be considered essential for most libraries.-James Lieberman, George Washington Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xxi
Part I. Exploring the Present Moment
1. The Problem of "Now"p. 3
2. The Nature of the Present Momentp. 23
3. The Temporal Architecture of the Present Momentp. 41
4. The Present Moment as a Lived Story: Its Organizationp. 55
Part II. Contextualizing the Present Moment
5. The Intersubjective Matrixp. 75
6. Intersubjectivity as a Basic, Primary Motivational Systemp. 97
7. Implicit Knowingp. 112
8. The Role of Consciousness and the Notion of Intersubjective Consciousnessp. 122
Part III. Views from a Clinical Perspective
9. The Present Moment and Psychotherapyp. 135
10. The Process of Moving Alongp. 149
11. Interweaving the Implicit and Explicit in the Clinical Situationp. 187
12. The Past and the Present Momentp. 197
13. Therapeutic Change: A Summary and Some General Clinical Implicationsp. 219