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Purser, G.S. (2014). The Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday Life (2004) by Daniel N. Stern, published by Basic Books.. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 8(2):192-202.

(2014). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 8(2):192-202

Book Review Essay

The Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday Life (2004) by Daniel N. Stern, published by Basic Books.

Review by:
Gülcan Sutton Purser

Iwanted to summarise this book, as well as reviewing it, in order to give the reader a more in depth understanding of this very important work. Despite the subject being one that is difficult to verbalise and communicate about Stern writes very clearly so that complex concepts can be readily understood.

With regards to understanding the importance of the present moment, Wilfred Bion wrote: “Psychoanalytic observation is concerned neither with what has happened nor with what is going to happen, but with what is happening” (Bion, 1967, p. 271). Bion tells us to approach our clients with neither memory nor desire but as if we are just meeting them in the moment.

With this book, the writer of The Interpersonal World of the Infant: A View from Psychoanalysis and Development Psychology (1985), Daniel Stern, showed that he is the pioneer of highlighting the importance of the present moment, the moment of meeting, and now moments. Stern explores the value of present moments for therapeutic growth and change. The present moment is so important because at that moment, we are subjective, in touch with the body, self, and the other. In recent years there has been increasing research into the importance of the present moment, mindfulness, and self-regulation as well as insights from neuroscience and the attachment relationship.

I would describe “the present moment” as moments of intense experience, moments of an authentic expression of self. There is a “more than words can say” quality to it. The present moment is our primary subjective reality. It is a change in how the past functions in the client's life.

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