Journal of Psychology. Time in the space of therapy

Time in the space of therapy
In the ordinary view, time has quite obvious characteristics. In order to describe them, you do not need to do any thinking work, just look away and gain access to the image, as if getting out of your pocket the alleged object there. In this view, time is linear and unidirectional - it moves from the past to the future, because if you look back, you can find the path traversed in the form of memories.

It can be said for another - time pours from the future into the past, and we stand, immured in the cement basin of the present and take on his chest heavy regular waves. We see the approaching wave and prepare for its arrival, then, when it rolls over us, we release the air trapped between the teeth and add one to the current account. We want to get into the future, because we think that there is a solid shore there.
This metaphor is well seen in the course of therapeutic work. We know that the psyche is the result of a relationship, and thinking is a form of experiencing the absence of an object. The symptom of the client first looks like a phrase spoken in an unfamiliar language or with such intonation, when it is impossible to disassemble its beginning and end, the grammatical structure and punctuation marks. She wants to repeat until the addressee appears in it. Accordingly, the psyche is developed in the direction of future relations, in which you can express yourself. The unfinished sentence tends to the completeness of the utterance. The web of speech paddles from the periphery, step by step approaching its semantic center, from which one can glance at the completed expression. The client says pieces of text that he does not understand, because the meaning is revealed in hindsight, after passing through the entire labyrinth of metaphors, passes, strange associations and intersections.

There is a feeling that the mouth that I speak from the client's position does not belong to me, but to someone else - as if I'm leasing it from someone who speaks from the future to get there himself. A client's speech is a map that leads to the top - from there you can see the distance traveled, but before that, its logic seems intermittent and inconsistent. We do not yet know what we are talking about, but in order to come to an understanding, we need to continue to do so. But how does it turn out that we come to the right place if the right direction is opened after we have completed the journey?

This is an amazing paradox. In the ordinary view, we believe that point B is at the end of the segment drawn from the point A.To, we know where we are coming from and what will be at the end of this movement. In the psychic space we can understand where we came from, only being where we are, and actually, it is not so important for us where we come from, how many where we find ourselves now. If we do not do this, our past influences our present, as described in the usual notion of cause and effect. If we make this turn around the time axis, our present begins to determine the past. Of course, the past is mental, not actual. Actually, in therapy, we are just translating time from the measurement of the historical into the dimension of the psychic, moving from events to representations of them.
The therapeutic situation in a certain sense is a break in the fabric of time - in the midst of historical time, which flows from the past to the future, where the end of the session is inevitable, we create a situation of reverse movement - the future flows into the past, and thereby shapes it. The present as a subjective experience, too, in its own way, is a gap between the future and the past. In neither time, there is no consistency - the past is simultaneously all that was with us, the future is everything that we continue. Everything that was - is, everything that is - will be. Only in the present there is a movement - we unpack the archive of the future, sort out its elements and pack it back into the past, but already like that in another way.

The past in the therapeutic perspective is the magnitude of a changeable, not forcibly given. We are not trying to determine which past was at the beginning of the subject who is before us; we are trying to find here, in the present, the subject of another past. The present is the place where all the roads intersect, this is a metaphysical crossroads on which one can make wishes. The present is a place with a different existential density, and therefore the axes of the past and the future do not directly pass into each other, but are refracted, changing their trajectory. Of course, this increased density is created in therapeutic relationships, by concentrating awareness and mindfulness.

I can not change my past, but we can assemble ourselves in the present as if the past were different. This is the answer to the frequently asked question about what is the limit for changes during therapy. Customers often rest on their past, as a dead end, which can be passed only by returning to it and living anew, which for a number of reasons is unrealistic. And then they remain hostages of irreversibility, explaining their state of past experience and riveting themselves to this line of probability. Therapy offers a different alternative - to rely on the future, rather than on the past, assuming that our current state is determined by the future that we choose, rather than the past that chooses us.

The present is a post-script of the past, it's some addition to the description of a story that does not just complement it with a secondary detail or comments on an inarticulate passage, but completely changes its meaning and sets a new trajectory for the development of the plot. The present, appealing to the future, changes the meaning of the past. Or in other words, from the present, we construct a future that changes our past.

Answering the question asked at the beginning of the text - whether the future is a consequence of the past or the past follows from the present - we can say that it is absolutely not important to establish this starting point. It is not essential what is the source for its continuation - the present or the future. What is important is that between these states - in the present - their direct derivability of one of the other is violated. The future is equivalent to the past, if this is not done with any effort. Similarly, the events of the external world become equivalent to internal processes, unless you create a symbolic layer between them. The client can either be captured by his past, or build relationships with him as with some possibility or variant of interpretation, as if "it could be." We are not interested in historical certainty, but only how accurately the interpretation reflects the current state. We comprehend the past not from the past, in the form of memories, but from the present, through deeper knowledge about oneself, because the past is the continuation of the present.

Such an attitude does not mean denying one's past. Rather, we leave him the right to remain past, that is not relevant, and not dictate what the future should be like. Accordingly, psychotherapy becomes that specially organized process that abolishes the determinism of the future by the past and introduces into the measurement of the present state of chaotic equilibrium, the exit from which can lead to the formation of a new version of what is happening.
The past arises where there is no thinking. The past asserts a certain truth, whereas in reality it is constructed anew in the present every time. Each session is an opportunity to say something about yourself that was unknown before. The symbolization of preverbal sensations in the presence of the therapist means the expression of one's existential being in some being, the form of which has not been determined by anything other than this desperate attempt. The future is created by an effort in the present.

From all this, we can draw several conclusions. First, the past has very little to do with reliability, because it completely unfolds in an imaginary space. The past as a subjective phenomenon is part of the present and therefore it is subordinated to how the experiences of oneself "here-and-now" develop. This is not about historical facts (although about them too), but, more so, about the meanings that are attached to them. Most often these meanings concern the notions of the influence of the past on the future and the irreversibility of the effect of past events in the present moment. Our past turns out to be so, because the vector of the present just so and only thus cultivates the field of unconscious representations, creating from it an image that is given to us in the form of memories. We inherit from the past only a way to construct it, and not a plan according to which our future will be built.
Secondly, the meaning of the present is determined by the extent to which it is part of the future, as a project unfolding in time, and not the past, as a symbol of irreversibility, which repeats over and over again and needs a final solution. Involvement in repetition means that the client is trying to reach satisfaction in an unrealistic way, that is, to solve the past task in ways that no longer exist. This is reminiscent of the desire to wear pants, of which long and obviously grown. For repetition to stop, we need to let in our lives something else that does not exist yet, remembering that nothing superfluous can simply not appear, because it seems so only until the picture is complete, when you look at it from the future. The symptom remains "incurable" if it is thought of as a legacy of the past, and vice versa, getting rid of it occurs by including it in the semantic paradigm of the future.

And finally, thirdly, the future is not deducible from the past, because the flow of time is interrupted in the present and this gap, which must be overcome, creates liberation from determinism, because the meaning of history is determined not by its beginning, but by the place where it ends. The future determines the significance of what is happening to us now and it is already directed to the future in some way and is written there and waiting for its time to reveal itself in the form of understanding. Therefore, we are looking for a place in the future that we are experiencing now as the present.

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Journal of Psychology. Time in the space of therapy

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