I always start a session with a patient by asking what is going on with them. I expect something about how he or she feels that moment, sitting in my office. I almost never get that. In a typical work day, a simple “Hello, how are you doing?” has been met with such things as:
“I don’t think I am ever going to get better.”
“I still can’t get over what my mother has been doing.”
“I am going to end up on the streets.”
These statements are filled with emotional intensity concerning the past and/or future. Worries about the future. Obsessions about the past. The fastest, easiest, and most effective ways to deal with this kind of emotion are to focus on the moment that you are living in. Then, it suddenly becomes possible to process logically in your head what is going on. So people who claim they are happy or relieved to see me are actually very distressed when they do not have to be.
The notion of living in the “here and now” is a very powerful notion that can help even “normal” people to get through life with considerably less distress. A complete “living in the here and now” is impossible by definition. After all, we are who we are because of our pasts. If we do not take control of the planning for our future, we are doomed to be controlled by forces outside ourselves. Good, if we are lucky enough to focus on the positive stuff. Bad, if the negative thoughts and agendas around us take charge of things. Read more on How To Get To The Here-And-Now…