Not a tense that native English speakers think or worry about. In fact I had to look it up. I use it of course, quite often especially in my work but if you had asked me before today what the future continuous was, I am not sure I could have told you.

It seems the future continuous combines ‘will be/do’ and ‘-ing’. Not only will I do or be something but I will keep being and doing that thing. ‘I will be leaving here without any fear of flying’, ‘From now on I will be sleeping better.’

It turns out talking in the future continuous can actually be a positive and healing thing. By contrast I am known to use the historical present too especially when telling a story: ‘The other day I am going towards Piccadilly when all of a sudden I hear my name being called…’.

The mixing of past, present and future in our language is an automatic, subconscious activity. It brings dynamic breadth and colour to our conversations. It can also shape the narrative we have about ourselves. Interestingly that narrative will often be framed in the past tense or, like with me, mixed up as an historical present.

Our past is important there is no doubt about that. It has little value of itself though. Someone talking about a very painful past relationship cannot very well use that experience for anything other than just the memory of it, which of course changes and becomes embellished over time.

That experience can only be useful when it shapes who we are now and informs the person we will become (are becoming to use the present continuous). Buddha said ‘what we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow.’

Thoughts and our imagination are mainly given expression by words and tenses, but our imagination is far more powerful than anything we can express. Like the Buddha went on to say, ‘our life is the creation of our mind’.

Hypnotherapy looks at where we are now and brings where we want to be into our present. That may make more sense with an example. To move on from a painful past relationship requires us to disrupt the thoughts and behaviours that make that experience so at-home in our daily life. How would life be different if this was no longer painful? What would I feel like if I could trust another person? ‘If we are to better the future, we must disturb the present’ said Catherine Booth.

Hypnotherapists disturb it in a number of ways but essentially we focus on helping clients walk from here to the future and back through their imagination. Some call it future-pacing: the notion of focusing on the positive things we will be doing (future continuous again) and bringing those back to the here and now.