Philip Zimbardo recently celebrated his 50th Anniversary as a Professor and ground breaking researcher of modern Psychology. He is the author of more than 300 publications and 50 books. His research spans multiple and wide-ranging subject matter that include shyness, evil, the power of persuasion, hypnosis and time perspective theory. In this last concept, he maintains that each of us carries our own personal sense of time and this piece of our psyche effects everything we do.
How we process the three basic time dimensions; the past, present and future, combined with whether we attach a positive or negative evaluation to those dimensions, unconsciously set the stage for our personal judgments, decisions and activities. In Zimbardo’s time perspective theory, he discovered that our individual assessment and personal evaluation of time, influences our emotions, perceptions and actions across all time structures. Essentially, our perspective of time is a primary predictor of our level of success in life.
Diane was a veteran of two successful tours in Iraq. Even though her work was not on the front-line, she saw things that she simply could not wipe out of her mind. The more she tried, the more her thoughts and memories circled back to those haunting circumstances. Finally, Diane turned to alcohol to deaden the recurring nightmare that she was experiencing. It wasn’t until her partner threatened to divorce her that she came in to ask about Time Line Therapy.
There has been much conversation about this subject and Time Line Therapy (TLT) is one of a number of treatment models that have been developed by taking Zimbardo’s Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI) and using it as a base from which to reevaluate our sometimes warped perspectives of time. TLT typically involves a shift away from the negative references we may associate with the past, present or future, to outlooks that are more positive and productive.
Diane answered the simple ZTPI questionnaire developed by Zimbardo and the basis of her challenges became obvious. Diane was stuck in the trauma she experienced in Iraq. The negative past connotations were so powerful that she was unable to bring to mind any positive associations from her past. She was equally unable to see any positive events in her present life or imagine positive future situations. Her unconscious mind was holding her hostage. She needed help to process the trauma of her memories.
The goal of any time perspective therapy is to help us gain a more balanced presentation in our individual lives, in our significant relationships, in the work place and in any domain in which we experience challenges. This refocusing of our thoughts onto more productive pathways that lead out of the negative scenario whether it occurred in the past, is occurring now in the present or you are worried it will occur in the future is essential. This will inevitably bring us to a more hopeful and goal-directed future.
Diane was not surprised with her scores on the ZTPI. However she was surprised with how easy it was to shift her mind from focussing on those traumatic events to focussing on the life of peace and prosperity that she fought so hard to achieve. If you are struggling to get beyond a specific point in your life, if feel feel like you have been in this same place before, then perhaps it is the time to explore your time perspective inventory.
Get a complimentary ZTPI assessment to see if your unconscious perspective of time is interfering in your life. If you are ready to accept increased and unlimited success and to live a life of your own design, please call to book a 30 minute phone session with Simone Usselman-Tod, Dynamic Visioning Coach, Certified Life Coach & Business Coach and Certified NLP Master Practitioner. Don’t forget to ask me about about my new signature program! Learn more about Dynamic Visioning.