PBSP is a highly structured group psychotherapy using body movement, verbal techniques and other elements. In what we call “structures” clients are assisted in developing role-played events, which are registered in the mind, as positive symbolic memories that offset the effect of literal, negative memories. In structures, clients organize scenes where they can:
- Symbolically satisfy basic, developmental, maturational needs with role-played “ideal figures” who fulfill the historically unmet needs for place, nurturance, support, protection and limits
- Create new symbolic events that offset the effects of traumatic histories
- Create need-satisfying situations, using ideal figures who would appropriately care for suffering members of their family network, whose stories of tragic losses had awakened their own heart-felt compassion to care for them while they themselves were still children.
One of the greatest advantages PBSP has over other interactive therapies is that it offers clients complete control over their own therapeutic experience. Other interactive therapies generally rely on a group process in which all of the individuals in the group are simultaneously using the process for what they believe to be in their own best interest. By contrast, in PBSP therapy only one person at a time has a session, which is called a “Structure.”
During the Structure, a group member re-experiences past memories and sensations in the safety of a controlled setting. At the same time, the other members of the group temporarily suspend their own personal needs in order to focus exclusively on the needs of a single client and to be in service to him or her. Specifically, group members help the client by playing roles that are created and directed by the client, rather than by the group members themselves. In this way, PBSP creates community and a true group atmosphere.
Another critical difference in PBSP is that clients act out the fulfillment of their emotional needs in the context of the time, place, and age in which the earlier, absent interactions should have taken place. Within the context of the Structure, the client’s rational mind can vividly experience and explore the feeling states he or she had as a child. PBSP does not involve regression. Although the client experiences those feelings as being immediate and real, he maintains a parallel awareness that he is reliving something from his past and remains in complete control of the process.
By directing the interaction with the ideal figure, the client creates a new scenario in which maturational needs are fulfilled. This, then, supports the creation of a new memory that has the same power and force as childhood experiences and memories. The result is clients who are happier, more productive, feel more invigorated and are able to find meaning and pleasure in life.
ARTICLES, PRESENTATIONS, & BOOK CHAPTERS ON PBSP STRUCTURES
- Excerpt from The Fragile Bond, by Augustus Napier, Ph.D., New York: Harper & Row, 1988. Click here.
- Neuroscience, PBSP Psychomotor, And The Re-Invention Of Talk Therapy, by Robert Lea, Ed.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist, 1997. Click here.
- Structures:Techniques & Application, by Diane Boyden-Pesso, PBSP Co-Founder, 1987 Click here.
- Ego Function and Pesso System Psychomotor Therapy, from an interview of Al Pesso by Lowijs Perquin, M.D., edited by L Perquin, Gus Kaufman, Ph.D., and A, Pesso, 1985. Click here.
- Excerpt From A Time to Say Good-Bye: Moving Beyond Loss, by Mary McClure Goulding, MSW, Watsonville, CA: Papier-Mache Press,1996. Click here.
- Transcription of a structure with commentary by Al Pesso. Click here.