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The Time Cure: Overcoming PTSD with the New Psychology of Time Perspective Therapy

ISBN: 978-1-118-20567-9
336 pages
October 2012, Jossey-Bass
The Time Cure: Overcoming PTSD with the New Psychology of Time Perspective Therapy (1118205677) cover image

In his landmark book, The Time Paradox, internationally known psychologist Philip Zimbardo showed that we can transform the way we think about our past, present, and future to attain greater success in work and in life. Now, in The Time Cure, Zimbardo has teamed with clinicians Richard and Rosemary Sword to reveal a groundbreaking approach that helps those living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to shift their time perspectives and move beyond the traumatic past toward a more positive future.

Time Perspective Therapy switches the focus from past to present, from negative to positive, clearing the pathway for the best yet to come: the future. It helps PTSD sufferers pull their feet out of the quicksand of past traumas and step firmly on the solid ground of the present, allowing them to take a step forward into a brighter future. Rather than viewing PTSD as a mental illness the authors see it as a mental injury—a normal reaction to traumatic events—and offer those suffering from PTSD the healing balm of hope.

The Time Cure lays out the step-by-step process of Time Perspective Therapy, which has proven effective for a wide range of individuals, from veterans to survivors of abuse, accidents, assault, and neglect. Rooted in psychological research, the book also includes a wealth of vivid and inspiring stories from real-life PTSD sufferers—effective for individuals seeking self-help, their loved ones, therapists and counselors, or anyone who wants to move forward to a brighter future.

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Introduction by Philip Zimbardo xi

Preface by Richard and Rosemary Sword xix

part 1 PTSD and time perspective therapy

1 How PTSD Sufferers Get Stuck in Time 3

PTSD basics 6

2 A New Psychology of Time 31

The Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory 46

3 Time Perspective Therapy 63

part 2 the stories

4 War Veterans, PTSD, and Time Perspective Therapy 95

‘‘I Can Still Feel the Shock Wave of the Incoming Artillery Hitting Us’’ Aki, WorldWar II Veteran 105

‘‘I Didn’t Want to Shoot Villagers’’ Mike, KoreanWar Veteran 112

‘‘The Rush of Taking a Human Life Was My Addiction’’ Ed, VietnamWar Veteran 119

‘‘It’s Etched Forever in My Memory’’ Sean, GulfWar Veteran 128

‘‘Something Snapped Inside Me’’ Everest, Iraq War Veteran 135

5 Everyday Trauma, PTSD, and Time Perspective Therapy 145

‘‘The Call That Broke the Camel’s Back’’ Mary 149

‘‘I Felt Totally Inadequate’’ Jenny 158

‘‘I Thought IWas Dead for Sure’’ Sherman 166

‘‘I Don’t Know If I Killed Her—It’sWorse If You Don’t Know’’ Randall 175

6 Women, PTSD, and Time Perspective Therapy 185

‘‘And Anyway, No One Will Believe You’’ Iris 187

‘‘I Felt Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place’’ Eve 197

‘‘I Felt Like IWas Half a Person’’ Faith 205

‘‘I Hid in the Closet forWhat Seemed Like Eternity’’ Keiko 214

‘‘It Has Been So Hard’’ Betty 227

‘‘I Got Really Scared’’ Grace 235

Epilogue 247

Glossary 251

Resources 255

Appendix A: How TPT Compares with Other Approaches 261

Appendix B: Clinical Trial: TPT Pilot Study Research Data 265

Appendix C: Client Psychological Test Scores 273

Acknowledgments 281

About the Authors 283

Endnotes 285

Index 301

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August 27, 2013
Overcome PTSD With The Time Cure: New Psychology of Time Perspective Therapy

The Time Cure

An Exciting New Approach to Helping Those Who Suffer From PTSD 

San Francisco, CA – It’s no secret that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a problem that needs a rapid solution.  Almost daily we hear heartbreaking reports of those who suffer from it—whether it is veterans who can’t stop the cascade of violence once their fuse has been lit, adults who’ve endured childhood abuse or neglect, or individuals who have been victims of (or merely witnessed) horrific events.   In fact, a reported 25 million Americans display symptoms of PTSD and traditional therapies often don’t work; in some cases, they may actually make the problem worse. The increase in suicides among veterans and civilians is a morbid testimony to this rapidly escalating crisis.

What’s needed is a new approach and THE TIME CURE (Jossey-Bass; 9781118205679; October 2012; also available in ebook format) provides one. Written by internationally known psychologist Philip Zimbardo and PTSD specialists Richard and Rosemary Sword, the book is filled with techniques that offer PTSD sufferers hope for tomorrow.  It shows how those living with PTSD can shift their Time Perspectives to change the way they think about past traumatic experiences, get away from the “fatalistic present” mindset, and focus more on a positive future.

This effective approach can be used by individuals seeking self-help or their loved ones (including veterans, victims of abuse, assault, incest, and survivors of accidents and natural disasters), therapists and counselors, or anybody who wants to move forward to a more positive future.  It’s based on Zimbardo’s Temporal Theory (popularized in his landmark book The Time Paradox, which helped people transform the way they think about time to attain greater success in life) and the Swords’ decades of experience counseling veterans as well as civilians suffering from PTSD.

“In our clinical practice we had a vision for finding a simple and effective way to help people suffering from mental distress.  We noted that most happy, well-adjusted people look both to the past for lessons and to the future for building a better life for themselves. The problem is, those with PTSD have difficulty thinking about the future—they ruminate over negative past events and exist day-to-day in what we call the ‘fatalistic present.’  Because they don't think positively about the future, there's no way for PTSD sufferers to build a better life for themselves. When we took Dr. Zimbardo’s workshop we were inspired to marry our vision and knowledge to his original Temporal Theory—that’s how Time Perspective Therapy was born,” says co-author Rosemary Sword.

A blend of science, research, and stories told through the eyes of severe PTSD sufferers as well as clinicians come together to make THE TIME CURE a fascinating and inspiring read.

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