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The Existential Moment: The “here and now”—Our best friend

[Reprinted from series email sent on 5/1/2021]

Take note for a second…

You opened this email. And you are reading it.

Now, take another moment and observe what happened here. Typically, a digest like this presents information. One side offers. The other consumes.

In this case, however, we were in a moment together. We notice and explore together. We are working with something.

Existential-Humanistic Therapy is experiential and relational. Working in the “here and now” is central to experiential work and a powerful ally in therapy. As Irv Yalom (2002) aptly summarizes, “The here-and-now is the major source of therapeutic power, the pay dirt of therapy, the therapist’s (and hence the patient’s) best friend.” (p. 46)

The “here and now” avoids “talking about” and thus sidesteps the distance created in the self and between client and therapist. Instead, it opens a path to the immediate. What brought someone to therapy potentially arises in therapy. It then offers the opportunity to “work with” both what is “in the client,” so to speak, and what is “in the relationship.” Working with paves a path to freedom, healing, and growth.

There are numerous micro-skills useful to expand and deepen the “here and now.” We’ll touch on many over time. Simply noticing is high on the list: “I notice that…,” “I saw that…,” “Were you aware that…,” or “Something seemed to shift for you just now.” Bringing attention and focus to bear is central to them all, and all provide an opportunity to work (and live!) in the here now, to experience the moment.

Related Resources:

Yalom, I. D. (2002). The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients. HarperCollins 

Purchase The Gift of Therapy used on AbeBooks.com

Purchase The Gift of Therapy new or used on Amazon

There is also a separate Companion DVD: The Gift of Therapy, which features an 1 hour long interview with Irv Yalom.

 

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