Title: Secrets, Lies, Betrayals
Author: Maggie Scarf
Dates: 8/18/16 – 9/7/16
I have a friend who is under a program called PBSP or Pesso-Boyden System Psychomotor. I was curious to know what this is all about so I googled it and got a hit. The hit led me to this book that devotes a chapter to what it is and how it works. I was only going to read up on PBSP and ended up reading the whole book. The book also has a sub-title – How the Body Holds the Secrets of a Life, and How to Unlock Them. Besides PBSP another therapy is call EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Wow! How to explain even a smidgen of what these therapies are all about!
In a nutshell, PBSP “is an innovative form of treatment that unites a conventional ‘talking therapy’ approach with a variety of bodily experiences – touching, holding, and the like and have a special way of gently coaxing extremely accessible and vulnerable feeling-states into being. These feeling states, in turn, become the impressionable medium in which freshly manufactured ‘memories’ can be created. These new ‘memories’ are, basically, imaginary scenes that are dramatized and enacted. The ultimate goal is to introduce into the patient’s internal being a taste of what it would be like to have had a different, more benign past and thus to engender more hope-filled expectations about the future – expectations that are rooted in the body and yet not grounded in the negativity and pain of the past.”
EMDR begins with an assessment of the individual’s lifetime. Biographical information is collected like where the person grew up, the major events of his or her life, and an account of the person’s medical, psychological, relational, educational, and career history. It also includes what kind of therapies has the person undergone in the past – their success or failure; what was helpful, what was not – and a rundown of prescription and non-prescription drugs. Usually the client comes in with a problem that cannot be resolved or is in the midst of a life crisis.
In both PBSP and EMDR trauma is also a key – whether trauma with a big-T which includes war, rape, witnessing or participating in a natural disaster and the like or trauma with a little-t which can be less cataclysmic but nevertheless damaging experiences. Scarf suggests there is a fine line differentiating little-t and big-T experiences.
Francine Shapiro who first implemented EMDR reports that after a sixty-minute session, targeted upon a particular memory that was troubling the person at the present time, every one of the participants in this research reported feeling significantly better. As for PBSP, developed by Albert Pesso and his wife Diane Boyden-Pesso, the effectiveness appears to differ among program participants. In the case upon which Scarf reports, the person who underwent a session of re-creating memories was able look at her situation more objectively and could remember an event without her body getting sucked up in the experience.
I find these discussions full of information into which I thoroughly enjoy being immersed and while I’m not privileged to know the details of my friend’s program, it appears to be working and for that I am grateful.