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



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

Philip Zimbardo, Richard Sword, Rosemary Sword

ISBN: 978-1-118-28229-8 October 2012 Jossey-Bass 336 Pages


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.

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