Living and Loving Better with Time Perspective Therapy

Healing from the Past, Embracing the Present, Creating an Ideal Future


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About the Book

In his 2012 book Time Cure, psychologist Philip Zimbardo introduced a groundbreaking therapeutic approach for PTSD sufferers, co-developed with Rosemary Sword. “Time Perspective Therapy” shifts mental focus from the past to the present, and from negative to positive events, helping anyone achieve a more balanced view of life. Featuring real-life stories, this book describes how TPT helps people living with depression, anxiety or stress to move beyond past negative experiences—from toxic relationships to bullying—toward a more positive future.

About the Author(s)

Stanford University professor emeritus Philip G. Zimbardo is known for his landmark prison study, dramatized in the IFC film The Stanford Prison Experiment. His nonprofit Heroic Imagination Project teaches how to meet challenges with wise and effective action. He lives in San Francisco.

Rosemary K.M. Sword is codeveloper of Time Perspective Therapy and lead/coauthor of numerous ­TPT-related books and articles as well as a popular blog. She lives in Kula, Hawaii.

Bibliographic Details

Philip G. Zimbardo and Rosemary K.M. Sword

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: glossary, appendix, resources, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7250-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3080-9
Imprint: Exposit Books

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Introduction 1

1: How Your Time Perspective Affects Your Life 5
• The Cornerstones of Negativity 8
• Stress: The Mother of Our Ailments 9
• Anxiety: The Child of Stress 9
• Depression: The Stepchild of Stress 11
• The Genesis of Time Perspectives 12
• Take This Quiz 14
• Six Main Time Perspectives 15
• A Balanced Time Perspective Leads to Greater Stability 17
• Positive Effects 19

2: How Your Time Perspective Causes Toxic Relationships—and What You Can Do 21
• The Many Faces of Toxic Relationships 21
• Past Negative Time Perspective and the Toxic Relationship 22
• The Narcissistic Personality 22
• Stuffing Emotions 25
• Five Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship 27
• What Happened to Jennifer? 28
• The Passive Aggressive Response 29
• Bully Behavior Begets ­Passive-Aggressive Behavior 30
• Preventive Measures—Healthy Ways to Respond 33
• Don’t Confuse Social Grace with ­Passive-Aggressive Behavior 35
• Secrets and Lies 36
• Lying Starts at a Young Age 37
• But What About Secret Agents and Those Dudes with Secret Multiple Families? 38
• Five Steps to End a Toxic Relationship 40
• Let Go of the Negative Past and Give Love Permission to Enter Your Life 42

3: Bullies and Their Victims 43
• What’s Up with Bullies? 43
• What About the Victims? 48
• Identifying Potential Bully Victims 50
• A Case History of Schoolyard Bullying 51
• Workplace Bullying 57
• Extreme Bullying 61
• Hate Crimes and a Hero 66
• The Most Powerful Tool: Education 67

4: Shunning—The Ultimate Rejection 70
• Enduring Damage 71
• Cooperation in Primate Societies 73
• Jane Goodall Weighs In 73
• A Giant Leap in Shunning 75
• A Case of Religious Shunning 77
• Workplace Shunning Cases 78
• The Feeling of “Lack” 79
• How to Take Control 80

5: Sex and Time Perspectives 83
• Past Negative: Sex Wasn’t a Good Experience 85
• Past Positive: Man! That Was Good! 86
• Present Hedonism: Let’s Do It—Now! 87
• Present Fatalism: What Will Be Will Be 89
• Future Sex: Fear of the Unknown 90
• Future Transcendental 91
• What’s an Ideal Sex Time Perspective? 92
• Men, Sex and Their Time Perspectives 93
• Women, Sex and Their Time Perspectives 97
• The Prognosis Is Very Good 104

6: Parenting and Time Perspectives 105
• Unconditional Love 105
• Parental Anxiety 106
• Modern Stressors 106
• Discipline 108
• Boundaries 112
• The Working Mom 112
• The Working Dad 113
• Finding Balance 114
• Single Parenting 116
• Empty Nest Syndrome 122
• Opportunities Abound 125

7: How Stress Affects Your Time Perspective— and What You Can Do 127
• Stress and Your Heart 128
• Stress and Hurry Sickness 132
• Seasonal Stress—Holiday Blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder? 137
• Food and Stress 142
• The Stress of Unnatural Behavior in Modern Culture 146
• The Bystander Effect 147
• Diffusing the Stress of a Heavy Conscience 151

8: Happiness and Living a Meaningful Life 156
• The Pursuit of Happiness 157
• The Search for Meaning 158
• Happiness versus Meaning 158
• Are You a Plus or a Minus? 159
• Right Livelihood 163
• Living a Meaningful Life 166
• Kindness Is Key 167
• Time Perspectives and How We View the World 168
• Love Is Kindness and Kindness Is Power 169
• Your Time Has Come 172

Epilogue: The Future of Therapy 177
Glossary 183
Appendix: ZTPI Questionnaire 185
Resources 195
Index 197

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “First, Zimbardo demonstrated how disappointingly simple it is to be imprisoned by situational factors. Then, he showed us that through shyness we can be our own worst jailers. Now, along with talented trusty sidekick, Rose Sword, he continues his arc towards a more Heroic Imagination by teaching us to utilize their revolutionary Time Perspective Therapy to unlock our better selves to live and love more efficaciously. Your better, brighter future starts right here on the following pages.”—Brian Metcalf, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Cincinnati
  • “I am a retired combat veteran, and as a Research Psychologist, Neurotherapist, and Psychology professor, I have used TPT with my troops and with my students, ‘it sticks’ because it makes sense! TPT reminds you to learn from the past, enjoy the present, and plan for your future. Time is too precious for any other perspective formula. This book is a must read!”—Melba Stetz, Ph.D., BCN, BCB, Owner/Director, Biofeedback Therapy Hawaii Clinic
  • “Time Perspective Therapy reaches far beyond treating PTSD as it helps those suffering from more common, yet often debilitating ailments like depression, anxiety, and so much more. Dr. Zimbardo and Rosemary Sword have taken TPT to a new level, expanding it outward not just for the purpose of treatment, but into a lifestyle theory that is useful both inside and outside the treatment environment.”—Sheri Yasuna, Ph.D, Licensed Clinical Psychologist
  • “Zimbardo and Sword have developed a remarkable therapy originally designed for PTSD that is also effective for anxiety, depression and stress; it engages clients and provides immediate help. Time Perspective Therapy is evidence-based, cost-effective, easily administered. If there is a therapeutic approach that can stem the suicide epidemic due to combat, bullying, and other traumas, and help overcome stress, this would be my program of choice.”—Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., co-editor Working with Dreams and PTSD Nightmares, co-author Haunted by Combat
  • “When you read this book and start to make positive changes in your time perspectives, you’ll improve your romantic and professional relationships, parenting and social life. TPT is an effective and innovative way to break through barriers that have been holding you back.”—Agnieszka Wilczynska, Ph.D, Prof. of AFM Krakow Academy, editor of Psychology in Practice Magazine, director of Psychotherapeutic Center of Togetherness, Poland
  • “Zimbardo and Sword show how you can be and do what the title suggests. Many if not most of us have some trying attachments—intimacy problems, self-destructive stress, dysfunctional parenting, as examples—and it is great to know that the negative feelings, thoughts and behaviors which bind us to these toxic relationships can be broken. The key to happiness and a meaningful life which the book elucidates involves examining and modifying our perspective of the past, present and future through the empirically-supported Time Perspective Therapy. Highly recommended!”— Harold Hall, Ph.D. Director, Pacific Institute for the Study of Conflict and Aggression, editor, Terrorism: Strategies for Intervention
  • “Whether you’re looking for help making great changes in your life, survive a hard time, or just drop a few bad habits, this book delivers. Backed by sound science, Zimbardo and Sword’s work is an amazing gift to any of us who have wanted to live a more fulfilling, meaningful, and joyful life, and are ready to take the first step.”—Kenneth S. Pope, Ph.D., ABPP, author, Five Steps to Strengthen Ethics in Organizations and Individuals
  • “How we think about and use our time is no less than how we live our lives. In this groundbreaking book Zimbardo, who practically invented the study of time perspective, and Sword, a prominent clinician, offer a powerful, easily accessible new theory of time perspective that will make you not only a happier person but a better one. At last, a self-help book that seamlessly combines cutting edge science with insightful common sense to truly make a difference.”—Robert Levine, professor emeritus of psychology, Stanford University, author of A Geography of Time.

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