While most psychotherapies agree that therapeutic work in the "here and now" has the greatest power to bring about change, few if any books have ever addressed the problem of what "here and now" actually means. In The Present Moment, internationally acclaimed child psychiatrist Daniel N. Stern tackles vexing yet fascinating questions such as: what is the nature of "nowness"? How is "now" experienced between two people? What do present moments have to do with therapeutic growth and change?
The first part of this book explores the present moment and how it is experienced. Key questions include: What is the nature of the present moment? What is its structure? And what is its duration?
The second part contextualizes the present moment by addressing the basic concepts necessary to situate it in the therapeutic process. Three main areas are explored: intersubjectivity, implicity knowledge, and consciousness. This part of the book raises such questions as: What happens when two minds ameet in a shared experience? How does someone remember and reflect upon the "now" of life?
The third part of the book comprises a view of the present moment as it operates in clinical settings. Here, Stern discusses the unpredictability and "sloppiness" of the therapeutic process, as well as how past and present can collide in therapy, providing moments of potential change and growth. By placing the present moment at the center of psychotherapy, Stern alters our ideas about how therapeutic change occurs, and about what is significant in therapy.
As much a meditation on the problems of memory and experience as it is a call to appreciate every moment of experience, The Present Moment is a must-read for all mental health professionals. --- from the publisher
"Here is Daniel Stern's immensely important, indisputably major, new book on 'the present moment,' authoritatively straddling the spectrum encompassing psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, adult and child, neuroscience and phenomenological philosophy, and much else, a book which summates many years of preoccupation, and collaborative labor (much of it also involving the Boston Change Study Group), on his part, in a most lucid, concise, and comprehensive way.
[...] It is one of those books whose unfolding implication--and invitation to dialogue and difference--is inexhaustible, and I am left with the frustration of the sense that anything less than a commentary and cross-connecting on the whole work will be a caricature." --International Journal of Psychotherapy
Table of Contents:
Part I: Exploring the Present Moment
1. The Problem of "Now"
2. The Nature of the Present Moment
3. The Temporal Architecture of the Present Moment
4. The Present Moment as a Lived Story: Its Organization
Part II: Contextualizing the Present Moment
5. The Intersubjective Matrix
6. Intersubjectivity as a Basic, Primary Motivational System
7 . Implicit Knowing
8. The Role of Consciousness and the Notion of Intersubjective Consciousness
Part III: Views From a Clinical Perspective
9. The Present Moment and Psychotherapy
10. The Process of Moving Along
11. Interweaving the Implicit and Explicit in the Clinical Situation
12. The Past and the Present Moment
13. Change: A Summary and Some General Clinical Implications
Appendix: The Microanalytic Interview
The central idea about moments of change is this: During these moments a "real experience" emerges, somewhat unexpectedly. This experience happens between two (or more) people. It is about their relationship. It occurs in a very short period of time that is experienced as "now." This jointly lived experience is mentally shared, in the sense that each person intuitively partakes in the experience of the other. This intersubjective sharing of a mutual experience is grasped without having to be verbalized, and becomes part of the implicit knowledge of their relationship. The sharing creates a new intersubjective field between the participants that alters their relationship and permits them to take different directions altogether. The moment enters a special form of consciousness and is encoded in memory. And most importantly, it rewrites the past.