PBSP Placeholders, Principles, Possibility Spheres, and Stages & Screens Techniques Modular Training

PLEASE NOTE: Participation in this workshop is limited to therapists who are currently enrolled in or have completed PBSP Certification Training.

The purposes of this set of techniques are: a) to awaken and include a client’s pilot, i.e. the higher cognitive aspects of their brain, so that they can look at all their associations and memories without being overwhelmed by them; and b) to distinguish when they have transferred or projected feelings associated with one person onto another person, including the therapists themselves.

These techniques can be particularly valuable in couples therapy to help partners realize when they have projected  associations with their parents or other significant figures onto each other and to help them disengage those associations.

Participants in this module will learn the theory underlying this set of techniques as well as having the opportunity to experience and practice them. Participation in this module is restricted to therapists who have completed PBSP certification training.

Placeholders Technique.  Whenever someone talks about anyone during therapy the instant they mention a name that face pops up in their mind’s eye and they react in their mind’s body without their conscious awareness. On a neurological level, every piece of information about that person in the brain is awakened.  Participants in this module will learn when and how to use abstract objects in the room as placeholders to represent the ‘filing cabinet’ of all the memories in the brain associated with that person whom the client brings up. Through the course of a therapy session there can be a number of different objects in the room representing various people the client has been talking about including, sometimes, the therapist themselves.  In this way, the client is not imagining that the person is in the room, but rather is able to look at their associations and memories of that person in their entirety. This technique helps clients become quieter emotionally while they talk about their reactions and thoughts, and it engages the rational control aspects of the brain so that clients can observe their own feelings and memories without being overloaded.

 Principles Technique.  When clients discuss people and their reactions to them in therapy they often subconsciously project emotional associations that originated from experiences with their primary caregivers early in life. Participants will learn PBSP theories regarding genetic expectations of basic needs and maturational history in order to help clients distinguish what should have happened in childhood with what they have been seeking in their adult lives.  Participants will be trained to notice similarities in how clients talk about different people represented by the Placeholder objects and to help clients to become aware of their projections of associations regarding primary family members and other people in their lives. In order to assist clients in recognizing these projections participants will learn to utilize pieces of paper to represent each type of negative or positive role associated with an individual whom a client has discussed. They will place the paper, referred to as the Principle of that figure, onto the relevant Placeholder object. In effect, the Placeholder has a hitchhiker on it. Participants will learn when and how to move the Principles in a ritualistic manner off of Placeholder objects representing people onto whom clients are projecting feelings and associations  and onto the Placeholder objects representing the appropriate original family members and longed-for caretakers. When clients associate negative emotions originally associated with a parental figure onto current day people with whom they interact, the PBSP Principles Technique can be used in conjunction with Ideal Parents and Reversals Techniques to provide new positive memories to replace the old memories which accounted for the negative transference and projection.

 The Possibility Sphere.  Participants will learn how to utilize the concept of the Possibility Sphere as a means to reduce transference and ensure that clients create the most powerful and lasting new healing memories.  Utilizing the concept of the Possibility Sphere participants will learn how to help clients create new memories that are associated with having their genetic basic emotional and maturational needs met by Ideal Parents, not in relation to the therapist or in transference.  The Possibility Sphere is empty of any agenda and full of hope and possibility. It is where it is possible for clients to have their genetic needs met at the right age and in the right kinship relationship. This is where the healing takes place and it does not include the therapist, only the ideal parental figures are there. Participants will learn how to work with and create the new memories featuring ideal parents and without inserting themselves into the scene. The corrective experience is not in relationship with the therapist, but with the ideal parents as envisioned and experienced in the Possibility Sphere. By utilizing this concept participants will be able to help clients create new memories that will be experienced as long term memories that actually happened in their childhood.

 Stages and Screens Technique.  Discussions in a therapy session occur on many different mental and real stages and screens. In order to help clients gain clarity as they talk about their feelings it is important to offer assistance in noting the arena for different activities and interventions.  With the PBSP Stages and Screens Technique participants will learn to distinguish the different arenas or stages (like a theatre stage) in the room and session.  Examples of elements of stages and screens are the possibility sphere, the relational stage between the persona of the therapist and the persona of the client in the here and now, the screen of what the client sees in their mind’s eye as they speak, the screen in the therapist’s mind as they duplicate what the client is talking about, and the screen of the therapist’s own history which is awakened by what they are hearing and how they are reacting to the words. This technique helps clients to reorganize associations in the brain quickly and cleanly. It also helps therapists separate their own countertransference and identification with the client’s history.

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