Pesso Boyden Personal Development


“PBSP is like alchemy – I feel so clear and supported in new ways.”
Fiona MacCallum, who is a therapist,
about a week after her structure as a client.

For other articles about PBSP personal development link on the menu bar at the top of the page

BESSEL VAN DER KOLK: World expert in trauma, when talking about abandonment and trauma, says Pesso Boyden is the ONLY thing that really works. See here for 3 minute film of him talking about this

To share this link with Bessel, use

And furthermore, click below for another 2 minutes from him

Click here for the transcript from the first video on this page – Bessel van der Kolk on PBSP and trauma

In 2021 Juliet did a podcast for Trauma Thrivers, which can be watched here explaining PBSP and the PBSP thinking about trauma and attachment – i.e. forming a secure relationship with the parents. You can download the same audio here.

To read an article about PBSP for the SOLUTIONS TO TRAUMA E-BOOK –

Landscapes of the Heart: The Working World of a Sex and Relationship Therapist is about Juliet Grayson’s work with couples and with Pesso Boyden (over half the book is about the Pesso Boyden System of Psychotherapy).  To purchase a copy to be posted within UK click here   To buy a copy to be posted to other countries click her    For more info about the book (which was shortlisted for the People’s Book Prize) click here

A REAL SESSION: A 15 Minute Film Showing Extracts From a Filmed PBSP Structure With a Real Client: Click here to watch

WATCH A 10 MINUTE ADVERT FOR THE TRAINING: Which includes short clips of client sessions click here

OTHER WEBINARS: Create an account on and then look for
‘Pesso Boyden System from the Client’s Perspective.’
This is a film of me talking to a client and we show 40 minutes of extracts from his session. If you use the code pbsp you can watch this for free.  Otherwise it is £1.
There are other webinars about PBSP on this site.

WEBINARS:  If you are a therapist and watch one of these, you can claim a CPD certificate for one hour, by answering a very short quiz.

PBSP: Transformation That Lasts A Lifetime: Click here to watch  Juliet interviews a client who had one PBSP session 6 months previously.   This was broadcast in April 2020

PBSP: Using Touch in Therapy With Extracts from a Video of  a Client Session: Click here to watch (using the 15 minute film above, with Juliet commenting on what is happening).  This was broadcast in July 2019

PBSP: Body Based Solutions Provide the Deepest Healing:   Click here to watch      This was broadcast in May 2019

Below is a short audio clip from a client describing their experience of a Pesso day.  (audio clip 43 seconds long)

READ A BOOK: LANDSCAPES OF THE HEART: The working world of a sex and relationship therapist.  Over half of this book is about PBSP, describing what happens in client sessions.  See more here, and purchase a book.

What is Pesso Boyden?

PBSP is the most powerful system I have come across. It seems to work on, and resolve, issues that other methods – that are based around one to one talking – do not seem to touch. I have seen people make paradigm shifts around limiting beliefs, change their sense of themselves, gain huge realisations, or simply explore an issue to gain greater understanding. The thing is that it seems to get to bits of the issue that other methods do not reach, and that allows people to change.

PBSP is about attunement, about sensitivity to what is going on in your own body and in the interaction with others. In normal life we don’t usually listen to our bodies at all. But in normal life we continue to screw up!!! So in PBSP we pay attention to posture, breath, how it feels when someone is close to us, or looks at us in a particular way. In PBSP we track these things, and often, as a result of paying attention, we become aware of something from our own history. For example ‘when he looks at me like that it reminds me of my first boss who was always angry’, or ‘when people get too close to me on the tube it reminds me of being shut in a cupboard as a child’, or ‘being a group like this reminds me of being at school and being ashamed to say ‘I don’t understand”. What we think about things is different from what our body tells us, and so in PBSP we pay attention to what is happening in the body, and the dissonance between the body, and what someone says. For example some one might say ‘let me tell you about my mum she was a wonderful person’ and their face is completely rigid as they say it.

A structure starts from a problem – the client starts to talk about something in their life that is not going well, or a belief that is holding them back ‘I can’t ……..’.   ALternatlvely the client starts where they are currently: ‘As I sit here I don’t feel ready, I feel like I am in the spotlight now. And that is a common feeling for me….’  As a client that is all the preparation that is needed. Group members will then be asked to play ‘roles’. The role players do not improvise, the client tells them exactly what is needed, and the facilitator manages the whole process. This enables the clients’ inner world to be externalised. In creating this ‘true scene’ we may have a supporting figure to be with the client, and we may have someone playing a negative voice. We then look at any resonances this scene may have with the client’s past, and explore what may have happened in the past to make this a sensitive issue. The next stage is to create an ‘antidote’. This means creating a ‘new memory’ that can sit along the old, real memory. The new memory is designed to give the client precisely what they needed in the situation. The role players are asked to do, and say, the very things that would have helped. Thus the healing happens at a literal and a symbolic level, and the client can internalise the new experience.

Structures last 50-60 minutes, and we allow a few minutes for people in the group to acknowledge the parts of the structure that touched them, resonated with them or reminded them of their own issues. So each session takes just over an hour. Sessions are very much led by the client, and overseen by the facilitator, and the system is very respectful of the client.

For those that want it, touch and close contact with the Ideal Parents can and will happen in a Pesso Boyden structure. But each session is unique, and touch is not essential.  For those who had intrusive or controlling parents, a different configuration may be required.   One where the Ideal Parents give lots of space, respecting the boundaries of the client.  For a client who has had real parents who were unhelpfully over-involved, Ideal Parents were brought in who would not have been particularly interested in their children, who would be almost neglectful.  No touch was required during that session.  For the next client who had been neglected, we co-created Ideal Parents who would have given their full attention, hugs and cuddles.

Some clients are not yet ready to imagine that Ideal Parents would have been possible, so when working with those clients we have had, for example, an Ideal Book, that would have wisdom and wise guidance in it’s pages, or Ideal Trees that would be solidly present and overseeing the client’s growth in a completely unjudgemental way. The most important thing of all is that the ‘antidote’ phase is a good fit for the client on that day.  The client is encourage to be their true self, and to be true to what they need in that moment on that day.  As one of my clients said, “You help me work out what I most want but didn’t know I needed or wanted, and then you give it to me using the Ideal Figures.”  

During a Pesso Boyden day, we will normally run four structures. People volunteer for these, and if more than four people want to have a go at being ‘the client’, then we pick the names from a hat. Even though only four people are ‘the client’, everybody benefits during the day. I have had participants tell me that they have made deep personal learnings, or moved an issue forward even though they have not actually done any explicit personal work.


  • Neglect and not having had your needs met
  • Trauma
  • Pre-verbal damage
  • Early attachment problems
  • Over responsibility, and having to look after others as a child
  • Excessive compassion and feeling oversensitive
  • Sexual abuse as a child or adult
  • Inappropriate aggression and sexuality
  • Lack of boundaries
  • Wanting to control others
  • Almost everything!

• The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk (This book has 1 chapter on PBSP Chapter 18)
• Working with Traumatic Memories to Heal Adults with Unresolved Childhood Trauma: Neuroscience, Attachment Theory and Pesso Boyden System Psychomotor Psychotherapy by Petra Winnette and Jonathan Baylin
• Landscapes of the Heart: The working world of a sex and relationship therapist by Juliet Grayson (This book has 3 chapters on PBSP)
• Secrets, Lies, Betrayals: How the Body Holds the Secrets of a Life, and How to Unlock Them by Maggie Scarf (This book has 3 chapters on PBSP)
• Moving Psychotherapy: Theory and Application of Pesso System/Psychomotor edited by Albert Pesso and John Crandell
• La Terapia Pesso-Boyden: Para Lograr Una Vida llena De Placer, Satisfacción, Significado Y Conexión. By Diane Boyden-Pesso, Lowijs Perquin, Albert Pesso, Translated by Montserrat Foz Casals