The Temporal Dimension in Counselling and Psychotherapy : A Journey in Time book cover
1st Edition

The Temporal Dimension in Counselling and Psychotherapy
A Journey in Time

ISBN 9780367819651
Published March 5, 2020 by Routledge
246 Pages

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Book Description

The Temporal Dimension in Counselling and Psychotherapy looks at time as an intangible phenomenon that is culturally created, historically framed, but only individually understood. Examining our relationship to time as well as what it means in terms of our mortality, it integrates historical, cultural and psychotherapeutic perspectives to shine a light on our experience of time from our current identity to past trauma, both in the consulting room and beyond.


Divided into three parts, the book explores those time-related issues that emerge in psychotherapy, it initially focuses on our existence as individuals in time, with chapters discussing how we develop a sense of self as a being-in-time, how our relationship to time is coloured by the world we live in today, and our attachment relationships and past traumas. In part two, the focus narrows to the consulting room itself; the practical aspects of the time-frame and how these can be managed. The third part of the book concerns the impact of trauma and other crises on our existence in time, as well as our experience of it.


Exploring time-related issues as people navigate different stages in the life-cycle, as well as for people affected by illness, trauma and bereavement, this insightful and thought-provoking book will provide insights for counsellors and therapists about what time means both to themselves and their clients.

Table of Contents

Part I: Our individual and cultural relationship to time;  1: The lure of time;  2: Being a "self-in-time";  3: Lived time, remembered time and the brain;  4: Our quest for meaning and the age of meaninglessness;  Part II: The therapeutic journey and its temporal shape;  5: Time in the consulting room;  6: Time-related themes and issues: Life-stage transitions;  7: Facing the late life transition and the first challenge of living in time;  8: Telling stories and interlocking time-zones;  Part III: Ruptured time;  9: When the past haunts the present: The impact of trauma on our relationship to time;  10: Sharing the untold story: Always? Sometimes? Never?;  11: The impact of loss and life crises on our relationship to time;  12: Journeying in time: Psychotherapy and the change process;  Epilogue: Towards an appreciation of time

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Sue Wright is an Integrative Psychotherapist working in private practice in the UK as a therapist, supervisor, trainer and writer with a specialization in working with the survivors of complex trauma.


Psychotherapy has seen various ‘turns’ in how we view the process of change, but in this tour de force, psychotherapist and historian Sue Wright sets them against the backdrop of Old Father Time, the great leveller. What are the existential challenges of living in Time, and how can therapists help their clients meet and come to terms with them? We hear how the therapeutic hour provides the ‘book ends’ of a ‘relational and temporal idiom’ in which the dance between Kairos and Chronos is heightened. Using a neurobiologically informed approach – essential for working with trauma survivors – Sue illustrates how time heals, and how our experience of past events is altered, allowing new ways of experiencing the present and imagining the future. The book will be useful for students in training as well as seasoned practitioners.

Tree Staunton, UKCP Honorary Fellow, Director of Bath Centre for Psychotherapy and Counselling