The Precious Present by Spencer Johnson

Present drawing

Bibliotherapy book for teens and young adults

You have a young adult client with anxiety who struggles to stay in the moment. With thoughts racing, constant flooding of dopamine, and influxes of social media notifications, it can be hard for anyone to be present these days!  This bibliotherapy book for teens is a great pick for your next counseling session: The Precious Present.

Book features

This book is just under 75 pages long, with each page having a sentence or two. It is a relatively quick read and can be found at your local library. Spencer Johnson uses simple language that is easily understood by teens and young adults. I would not recommend this book for children due to it’s abstract explanation of mindfulness.

This book is brief enough to be read during a 50-minute counseling session, or used as homework as an adjunct to therapy sessions. Either way, I strongly encourage counselors using this book to read it over and come up with guiding questions. Feel free to use the questions I suggest below as well.

The Precious Present by Spencer Johnson (1984).

What is the book about?

The Precious Present is a book about the gift of living in the present moment. The moral of the story is that mindfulness and present living gives us peace. Nobody can give us this kind of present, the only person who can give us the gift of the present moment is ourselves. Living in the present moment makes us happier and healthier. Click here to buy The Precious Present on Amazon.

Quotes from the book

“When you have the precious present, you are perfectly content to be where you are.” (pg. 13)

“He realized that the present moment is always precious. Not because it is absolutely flawless, which it often seems not to be. But because it is absolutely everything it is meant to be… at that moment” (pg. 39)

“When he became aware of his unhappiness and of his being in the past, he returned to the present moment. And he was happy.” (pg. 45)

“When I feel guilty over my imperfect past, or I am anxious over my uncertain future, I do not live in the present.” (pg. 60)

What is bibliotherapy and who does it work for?

Bibliotherapy is the use of books as a tool in therapy. Bibliotherapy works for people of any age. Kids may especially benefit from using books in therapy. This is because kids under the age of 10 often learn better from relating to book characters. This particular book is best for teens and young adults.

Guiding questions:

  • If you were living in the moment, how would you know? What would be different?
  • Have you ever felt the joy of being fully in the present moment? What happened? How did you feel?
  • How can we learn from our past without living in the past?
  • How can we remind ourselves to stay in the moment?

About the Author

Emily Berndt, M.A., is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern in Oviedo, Florida who specializes in kids and teen’s counseling. I would love to speak with you!  Click here to send me a message!

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