How Time Perspective Therapy helps heal the past

by Polly N on September 18, 2013

Guest post by Jennifer Smith

Time Perspective Therapy is a new type of therapy designed to help you find happiness in the now. The new therapy is designed to help people look at their pasts, present and futures in an entirely new way. The result is happiness, which in turn leads to better health and relationships.

Time Perspective Therapy categorizes patients into one of six different outlooks. These outlooks tell a lot about the patient’s character and help to determine what exactly is holding the patient back from leading a healthy lifestyle.

The Six Outlooks of Time Perspective Therapy


  • A past-positive person loves their past. These folks are comfortable with their upbringing and look back at their memories fondly.


  • Exactly the opposite of the past-positive person, the past-negative person has negative feelings toward their past. This is likely caused by a past trauma or regret.

Present hedonism

  • Present hedonism people live in the now and are happy with their present situations. They reward themselves often.

Present fatalism

  • A present fatalism suffers from feelings of inadequacy in their current situations. These people feel like life is completely out of their control, so why bother?

Goal-oriented future

  • Like the name suggests, these people are planning ahead. They have goals for their future and plan accordingly.
  • Transcendental future
  • Transcendental future thinkers are leading a good life, because they believe that heaven awaits them after death.

The Best Time Perspective

The Wall Street Journal recently caught up with Philip Zimbardo, a psychologist and professor emeritus at Stanford University. Zimbardo is an expert in Time Perspective Therapy.

Zimbardo told the magazine that, “The best profile to have is a blend of a high level of past-positive, a moderately high level of future orientation and a moderate level of selected present hedonism. In other words, you like your past, work for the future – but not so hard that you become a workaholic – and choose when to seek pleasure in the present.”

The Worst Time Perspective

According to Zimbardo, author of “The Time Cure,” the worst time-perspective profile includes a high level of present fatalism and a high level of past-negative. It doesn’t take a genius to see that the blend of these two time perspectives could potentially be disastrous to a person’s future, especially if they’re dwelling on the negatives in their lives. According to the Wall Street Journal, people who are depressed and people who have PTSD typically have this profile.

“These people,” says Dr. Zimbardo, “are living in a negative past and think nothing they do can change it.”


Changing Your Time Perspective

If you think you’re suffering from a negative time perspective, it’s time to change your outlook. Dr. Zimbardo says that focusing on the positive aspects of your past can do wonders. He recommends creating photo albums or writing letters to people who inspired you. It’s all about categorizing the negatives in your life. If you’re feeling negative about your present weight or health, doing something healthy will be a reward to your system.

In fact, a healthy lifestyle works wonders for all time prospectives. See your regular doctor to discuss possible lifestyle changes. Dr Hugh Hetherington, of Big Sky Ear, Nose and Throat in B kind if ozeman, Montana, specializes in technologically advanced treatments for a wide-variety of issues. Reducing the amount you snore, improving a physical deformity or being tested for certain forms of cancer will improve your present time perspective, while greater overall health will improve your future perspective.


Which outlook do you fit into? Or are you unique and a combination of several? Tell me in the comments below.


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