Creating a Personal Time Line

You can view the way people hold their memories as a pattern based on both time and direction. Clues about how your clients conceptualise time crop up in the language they use. Statements such as ‘That's all behind me now’ or ‘I'm looking forward to that next week’ imply that they hold memories of the past behind them and thoughts of the future ahead of them. They may also look to or indicate a particular direction when talking of an event.

When you understand how people organise their concepts of time, you can more easily coach them according to their natural patterns. You can also teach them ways to be more flexible in their approaches, to separate from painful memories and to make their dreams of the future more compelling.

Visualising time

image To help your client get a sense of the way she experiences time, help her identify her concept of time.

  1. Have your client think of an event from the past. For example, something she did last month or last year or an event she attended.
  2. Ask the client to point anywhere in the room to indicate the identified event.
  3. Have the client think of an event that's going to happen in the future. For example, a meeting coming up or something she plans to do next month.
  4. Ask the client to point to this second event anywhere in the room.
  5. Ask the client to point to where the client sees ‘now’.
  6. Work together to consider the three ...

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