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Publisher's Summary

In this audiobook, psychotherapist David Richo explores how we replay the past in our present-day relationships - and how we can free ourselves from this destructive pattern. We all have a tendency to transfer potent feelings, needs, expectations, and beliefs from childhood or from former relationships onto the people in our daily lives, whether they are our intimate partners, friends, or acquaintances. When the Past Is Present helps us to become more aware of the ways we slip into the past so that we can identify our emotional baggage and take steps to unpack it and put it where it belongs. Drawing on decades of experience as a psychotherapist, Richo helps listeners to:

  • Understand how the wounds of childhood become exposed in adult relationships - and why this is a gift
  • Identify and heal the emotional wounds we carry over from the past so that they won't sabotage present-day relationships
  • Recognize how strong attractions and aversions to people in the present can be signals of own own unfinished business
  • Use mindfulness to stay in the present moment and cultivate authentic intimacy
©2008 David Richo (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What listeners say about When the Past Is Present

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For developing self-awareness..

This is a book about transference. If you haven't heard of that term before (I hadn't), it's like a lens we are seeing other people through - colored by our past unresolved experiences. Sort of like projection, but while projection is putting the unwanted aspects of ourselves onto the other person ("they must be jealous!" when we are actually the jealous one), transference is putting our past relationships onto the other person (seeing criticism when there is none, because our parent was critical of us). By becoming aware of when this is happening to us, we can enjoy the natural alchemical process of life without damaging our relationships . Consciousness of our transferences can allow us to have even more authentic interactions with those we love, seeing them for who they really are.

I especially love how he includes many religious references, quotes, etc. in his book, from a variety of faiths. This is beautiful.

Five stars for being both incredibly knowledgeable, and also well written.

(For those of you doing the audiobook version, I hate to report that the narrator is harsh to listen to...needs a pop filter badly!)

8 people found this helpful

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Ramble fest

This one could have been 1/3 the length and more impactful. Explaining something 12 times in the exact same way. Entire chapters with only a paragraph's worth of real information. The only reason it got 2 stars instead of 1 is I think the concepts have a lot of merit.

6 people found this helpful

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Disappointed

I found this audible book to be a struggle. I do believe in transference and the role it plays in our lives, some more than others. However, the book jumps all over with a bunch of random Emily Dickinson quotes and out-of-place words and phrases thrown in. I also feel the connections of transference are greatly exaggerated and, in some cases, just plain weird. The narration felt like a pushed whisper the whole time and made the content worse. I do hope others enjoy the book and narration, and find it useful... but for me, I was quite disappointed.

3 people found this helpful

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Insightful

The author described in detail how our actions and thoughts are not haphazard but products of our upbringing and heritage. Parts of the book touched me deeply and I plan to read again and do the practice exercises. I did not like the spiritual part of the book. Too many things have happened in my life for me to be able to accept an all loving God and in my opinion all religions are lacking in what is preached- it’s a story fueled by money . Maybe when I re-read I will better understand that part of the book. One last comment- I liked the narrator.

2 people found this helpful

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Complicated language

This book is very informative I'm sure but I have a masters degree & it's soooooo hard to follow. I'm not an english or language scholar. It would have been nice if a more simplistic wording was used so that I don't have to focus so hard to understand. I'm not sure i can finish listening to this audio book. Probably will try to find something more easily understood.

2 people found this helpful

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Wow just wow

A must have in a family book library! Educational beyond measure, and useful for life guidance and true connections.

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Wow!!!! Absolutely brilliant!

This author combines many philosophies and even neuroscience to come to conclusions about why we are here, why we behave the way we do, and how we can become actualized. Brilliant, insightful work!

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Great content, narration leaves room for wanting

Perspectives provided in the book assuage those trying to make sense of their relationships’ past. Helps with understanding why their relationships are the way they are, and in being mindful of their mind processes to optimise toward results.

Although I feel the content were heavily anecdotal, and may not apply to everyone. Could have gotten a more energetic narrator to deliver such great content.

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Forever Grateful

David Richo is brilliant. The wisdom of his beautiful mind, heart and spirit pours light over the human condition. This book changed my life for the better.

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Spiritual and Scientific. Unexpectedly so.

While I often shy away from books that possess secular views if not solely providing scientific facts, this book points to the psychological necessity for the belief in a deity. As a Christian, I rely on my faith as a worldview to view the scope of my studies but also recognize the benefit of said belief to my mental well-being. Often those articles that recognize the benefit of belief in a higher power are written by religious individuals from one faith or another and support that view and as stated I endeavor often to find Christan-based studies and articles. This book time and again addresses the inherent connection between having a purpose-driven spiritual connection to root your worth in and to cast your hopes on to assuage the grief of trauma long past. It is noted in many studies as one of the most beneficial aspects of not grounding yourself in present circumstances and the troubles beset upon us in the world.
While I found much of it to be on point, I very greatly disagree with the Freudian model that brings every psychological reasoning for our actions to a foundation of sex and Mother or Father interactions. I cannot agree that every end goal of relationships is ultimately for the intent of procreation and I don't agree that every time we have sex, there are four people in the room including his mother and her father. While I indirectly see the correlation between our sexual preferences and interactions with an intimate partner reflected as that between us and our gender opposite parent, I don't necessarily agree with the idea that how we make love is dependent upon our relationship with them.
I found this book to excel in presenting the idea of transference and how our past so greatly and often unconsciously effects our perception of the world around us. it addressed the importance of recognizing when we are using the idea of transference to use clues to "assume" something must be true based on similar patterns and outcomes when we should be assessing every relationship with new eyes and with hope expecting, good from it.
I note that I gave it five stars, not necessarily because I agree with the views of all the material presented but because I believe what is presented is beneficial to anyone wishing to gain a greater understanding of the many things discussed. As open as the views presented were, they were unbiased and the material, while inclusive of any religion with which to take up and cast one's hopes upon is from a psychological perspective beneficial no matter who or what one believes in.

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  • Konstantinos
  • 06-20-17

Mind blowing.

Arguably one of the most important books you will ever read especially if you are not familiar with the notion of transference. You might need a second reading of the first chapters though.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Ruby
  • 12-09-16

An excellent book

One of the best books around that explains the unconscious processes that affect our relationships.

4 people found this helpful

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  • JellyTot
  • 05-31-21

Laborious

Whilst the message of this book is of value and I understand the thoughts behind the process, I found this a laborious listen. I have persevered about three quarters of the way through and now frankly given up as I would prefer to spend my time listening to or reading material that spurs me on. I found it convoluted and repetitive, notwithstanding the importance of the message it was trying to convey.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Lisa White
  • 06-14-19

Blew my mind, changed my world

this book changed my view of myself and my relationships. well read, clear, scientific and not too much spirituality

3 people found this helpful

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  • Yvette
  • 11-09-19

I full and insightful book

I loved the book, it answered so many questions about why we behave how we do.
I’d recommend it to anyone who is repeating patterns of behaviour and has an inkling it may come from childhood and growing up. It will definitely help anyone on a soul search and spiritual pathway to understanding themself

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Beetle
  • 08-22-21

In a nutshell

Everything about this title made perfect sense. I think I was ready to hear the wisdom. I wish is found this sooner.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-01-22

very insightful and deep!!

This book has left me wanting to read his other books.

From the book
" Inconsolability means we cannot forget but always cherish those we loved. Unkowability means we grow in our sense of wonder and imagination."

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  • j
  • 01-26-22

this is a book that should be taught in school!

so many struggle in relationships and dont know why. this book gives so much clarity and empowers people to love themselves more but also with the right tools to communicate clearly with your partner.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-09-21

Waffle-fest

I couldn't finish this book. There was just so much rambly nonsense that dragged on and on. Some conciseness in the writing wouldn't go amiss. The narrator's voice was soothing, but there seemed little direction in what he was reading, and a lot of repetition.