Pesso Boyden therapy (also known as PBSP, Pesso Boyden System Psychomotor) was created in the early 1960s by Albert Pesso and Diane Boyden. Al and Diane were working as choreographers and dance teachers in Boston, and were looking for approaches to help dancers overcome emotional blocks to movement. This work eventually developed into an integrated body psychotherapy incorporating mindful awareness and a form of psychodrama.
Pesso Boyden method is one of the few therapies that can effectively help to fill the gaps in our early development, where some of our essential needs have not been satisfied consistently by our carers. Every baby arriving into the world and every child growing up has the need for the following: (1) Place - both physically safe, and somewhere where we can belong; (2) Nurture - both physical and emotional; (3) Support - both physical and emotional; (4) Protection from harm; (5) Appropriate Limits / Boundaries. Where these needs have not been consistently and appropriately met, we are likely to grow up with a sense of something missing, with emotional wounds and defences that limit our vitality, our ability to connect with others and to be fully ourselves.
With Pesso Boyden therapy, we employ the archetypal figures of "Ideal Parents" to provide us with an embodied experience of what we needed in the past. This is best achieved through role play/psychodrama in a group, and is also possible in one-to-one sessions through the use of our imagination. In the Pesso Boyden method do not aim to deny the reality of someone's history and do not 'rescript' actual memories of childhood, but provide an alternative experience which the client can remember, connect to and use as a resource.
One of the world's foremost trauma specialists Bessel van der Kolk himself is on record saying that the Pesso Boyden method is the only thing that works to heal trauma (in one of the videos recorded by NICAMB). Whilst this is likely to be quite an exaggeration on his part, as other methods also work at least some of the time for at least some people, this is a great endorsement of this way of working.
Bessel also talks about his experiences with this approach in Chapter 18 of his acclaimed book, The Body Keeps the Score.
I am unable to take on individual new clients for regular sessions at the moment but may be available for occasional one-off Pesso Boyden therapy sessions, which cost £80 (concessions available if you are on low income).
Pesso Boyden evening group
The Pesso Boyden evening group starting in October 2023 is FULL. If you wish to be added to the waiting list for the next group starting in 2024, please email me email@example.com
Pesso Boyden weekend workshops 2023-2024
Experiential Pesso Boyden workshops are offered at The Sand & Sound Centre in in Reddish, Stockport by me and my colleagues. Timings are 9.30am start, 6.30pm finish, with a break for lunch; both days must be attended.
* [nearly full] Saturday 9th and Sunday10th December - facilitated by Masha Bennett and Clara Charlesworth
* Friday 19th and Saturday 20th January - facilitated by Masha Bennett and Pete Joscelyne
* Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th February - facilitated by Masha Bennett and Clara Charlesworth
More dates will be scheduled for 2024, including some potential residential retreats - please enquire. Note that the workshop fees will rise in the new year (fees for 2023 are listed below).
To express interest in one of the workshops and to receive further information, use the booking form at the bottom of this page.
Feedback from previous participants
'The whole weekend was collaborative, respectful and accepting of our humanity and we all had lesser or greater roles to play in the work. It's hard to summarise the process, but I would describe it as a way of defusing the painful aspects of past experiences and infusing what should have been present in a powerful and moving way.'
'I don’t find it easy allowing myself to be vulnerable in front of others, but being able to release in a very safe place with a lot of support from my fellow participants and two highly skilled facilitators helped a lot.'
'The weekend opened my eyes to the realm of possibilities on a professional and personal level that Pesso Boyden can provide. The possibilities of healing, repair, and a sense of hope, even if these possibilities were not present in childhood. Facilitators, skilfully, with deep passion and compassion enabled the method to do what it needed to do for all involved. The processing of the weekend is still continuing!!! At the same time, I am left with a sense of deep gratitude and wonder in witnessing human nature at its best.'
'Creation of my compassionate self:
Even though I have tried hard to develop a compassionate mind for myself, it has always eluded me. I could create an image of a compassionate figure but I could not relate to it. Despite having wonderfully kind and compassionate people in my life, my relationship with myself was not compassionate.
My Pesso Boyden experience gave me a profound and new felt experience of an accepting, compassionate and loving other. This embodied felt experience has allowed me to create my own self-compassion. I don’t need to strive or search for it, it comes with ease. Now, it just is.
This is a new internal world for me, and it brings a sense of safety and comfort inside me that I had not known before.
I am approaching sixty, this has been a life long search for me. This is such a wonder. I am so grateful to the facilitators and the incredible group of people I experienced this transformation with.'
This arose during a residential Pesso Boyden therapy retreat with Juliet Grayson
These two-day Pesso Boyden Experiential workshops are offered at The Sand & Sound Centre in Stockport, Manchester, to people who are committed to their personal development and healing journey, but no previous experience of Pesso Boyden method is necessary. As these events are typically quite intense and may involve heightened emotional states, if you are currently suffering with severe mental health issues or are in crisis, Pesso Boyden therapy may not be appropriate - if unsure, please enquire.
The Sand & Sound Centre, Unit 1, Reddish Business Centre, 123a Gorton Road, Reddish, Stockport SK5 6EE
We may also run the workshops in other locations around the country - if you would like to host one and have access to a suitable venue, please get in touch.
* Client participant - £225 [including your own structure/session]. Please note this will rise to £250 from 2024.
* Observer participant - £125 [no structure but otherwise participating fully - this is not for someone who wishes to stay detached and uninvolved]
* Some concessions may be available - please enquire