TAP Talk 16/8/17 - A new approach to healing the past. An introduction to Pesso Boyden psychotherapy by Matthew Harwood
TAP members and guests gathered at the Friends Meeting House in Taunton on Friday 16th June 2017 to hear a thoroughly engaging presentation: ‘A new approach to healing the past. An introduction to Pesso Boyden psychotherapy.’
The presenter was Matthew Harwood, a Jungian psychotherapist in private practice in Bath and Bristol. He enviably trained at the CG Jung Institute in Zurich. More recently he has undertaken training on Pesso Boyden Psychotherapy and Internal Family Systems (IFS).
Matthew described having a healing experience during a CPD Pesso Boyden workshop and was inspired to develop his knowledge and application.
Pesso Boyden therapy began life thanks to Albert Pesso and Diane Boyden, a married couple from the USA, now sadly deceased. Interestingly they were originally both dancers and then dance teachers. It became apparent to them that some dancers appeared blocked from performing a full range of movements, hampered by past trauma.
The approach is not well known in the UK, but the couple developed and evolved the approach over 50 years, together and then just Albert after his wife died.
So, what is the aim of Pesso Boyden Psychotherapy? In keeping with other approaches; ‘to help us become who we really are.’
Mainly a group work approach differing significantly from other therapy group processes, it concentrates on an individual in the group, with other members role playing and bearing witness to the evolution of healing the individual’s past.
The approach can be used in a one to one setting too, although slightly less common, with the facilitator assuming the witness roles.
The audience was fascinated by a series of chronological video clips charting the process in action.
It is generally accepted that the roots of trauma lie in early life and we are born with a genetic expectation that our basic needs will be met by loving care givers. The Peso Boyden approach works towards supplementing memory experiences, not cancellations. It is the protagonist that does the work.
The speaker emphasised to the audience that the best way to understand Pesso Boyden, is to have the experience.
An engaged and enthusiastic audience was represented by a vote of thanks on behalf of the TAP Committee.
The next TAP Talk takes place after our summer break, on 15th September 2017, when psychotherapist Cathy Towers will speak on the subject 'Filthy Lucre - Therapists' Relationship with Money'.
TAP Council member
On the 15th April, TAP Co-Chair Andrew Wilcox greeted members and guests at TAP’s new venue of the Friends Meeting House in Bath Place, Taunton. After Andrew’s welcoming words it was sad to hear that TAP’s 2016 Spring Conference has had to be cancelled owing to slow ticket sales and the financial climate. However it was stressed that TAP would be back in the future with a new conference.
The evening’s guest speaker was Terry Davey, who is an experienced Integrative Body Psychotherapist in private practice in Bristol and co-founder of the Fulcrum House Therapy Centre. His presentation, entitled `Transformational Change Through Memory Reconsolidation` centred around `Coherence Therapy` which helps the client to get in touch with hidden, core areas of meaning and feeling that are generating the presenting symptom or problem.
The difference between `Counteractive Change` where the client has simply learnt to live with the problem but is in danger of relapse in times of stress and `Transformational Change’ where change is deep and permanent was explained to the audience.
Originally called Depth Oriented Brief Therapy, Coherence Therapy was developed by Bruce Ecker and Laurel Hulley in the 1990s who questioned why Transformational Change happened after years instead of months or weeks.
The audience heard about the principles of Neuroplasticity and Memory Reconsolidation and with the aid of case studies, Terry demonstrated how a clients `old learning` of deep seated beliefs about himself perpetuated present psychological issues. When this disconfirming knowledge was identified, `new learning` dissolved the old neural circuits and created new pathways.
The meeting was told how therapists need extensive training to be able work with Coherence Therapy, but once trained they can work effectively within a limited timeframe. Terry’s enthusiasm for Coherence Therapy was evident and he concluded his presentation with the observation `It’s the best`.
The next TAP talk will be on 17th June at the Friends Meeting House in Bath Place, Taunton. See our Talks page for more detail
On 19 Feb a substantial audience braved a cold and damp evening to welcome back Matthew Appleton to TAP for a third time. His talk entitled `The lifelong consequences of obstetric interventions` centred on babies’ awareness both in the womb and after their birth together with the Obstetric Interventions they might experience and the long term effects of these.
Matthew emphasised that he was not anti intervention but suggested that we don’t realise how our lives are shaped by them. Surprising the meeting at the outset with the knowledge that our accepted basic position for childbirth is not the best for baby, Matthew stressed that babies are more aware and sensitive than we believe. The audience was unsettled to hear that until the 1980’s it was common practice for some medical procedures to be done without anaesthetic because it was believed very young babies didn’t feel pain.
A widely held belief that we are unable to remember our own birth is not shared by Matthew, who spoke of implicit memory and the imprint on our nervous system and stress patterns in the soft tissues of our bodies of a traumatic birth.
The effects of drugs on the baby to induce birth were explored and also the use of anaesthetics, forceps, ventouse vacuum assisted delivery and caesarean section which can be extremely traumatic. With the aid of a model pelvis and baby, Mathew demonstrated the effects of birth on a baby, described the pain and trauma it goes through and the uncertainty it feels that it will survive the process.
All this was all in sharp contrast to a film of a pygmy woman who gave birth in a forest, in a more natural position of letting gravity help, which resulted in a smoother, gentler transition.
See Matthew's talk slides HERE
The next talk will be by Terry Davey on 15 April 2016 entitled `Transformational Change Through Memory Reconsolidation` and will be held at the new venue of the Friends Meeting House, 13 Bath Place, Taunton, TA1 4EP.
On January 24th TAP welcomed their council member Ian Stevenson to talk about the Context of Management and the impact on therapy in clients referred through Employee Assistant Programmes (EAPs). He spoke about common concerns these clients present with, concerns that leave him wondering about the influence of constant changes in management and economics. With key performance indicators, management by target, as well as fear and loss of work stability for employees, it is more difficult to prevent mental health issues.
The main pressures on clients are constant change to zero hour and/or short term contracts which cause anxiety. Micro management with constant auditing, fear of sanctions and less creativity, build resentment and this fear can affect self-esteem. An increased workload with reduced staffing and a lack of dialogue with management at all levels leads to increased stress levels and an impact on home life, so people learn to stay silent or risk losing their job.
Richard Murphy’s book The Joy of Tax highlights how some large well-known companies avoid tax, a subject which has recently been in the media. These companies’ actions increase the sense of unfairness for the majority of the workforce. Paul Hogget writes of the increased paperwork, care plans, assessments and standardisation in all areas of life that lead to lack of personal encounter between two separate people. For client work this may mean being shown how to be ‘bullet proof’ to survive. Our dilemma is ‘What should our response be?’ do we ‘patch ‘em up and send ‘em back’, trying to cope in this ever changing world; or should we challenge the pathology of the system rather than the person? We are left to debate this statement.
Our next talk is 19th February 2016 when Matthew Appleton will talk about the Life Long Consequences of Obstetric Interventions at Birth. The talk will start at 7.45pm at Taunton United Reform Church, Paul Street. All welcome
Despite being a wet and blustery evening on 20 November, a sizeable audience greeted Anne Stokes for her much anticipated talk about online counselling. Encouraging interaction and questions from the audience as she spoke, Anne explained that only as far back as the year 2000 she considered herself to be a `Luddite` in the world of computing. With online counselling still in its infancy, Anne ventured into this new world as a client, in the real hope that it would fail and prove right her own belief that it was unworkable, however she found it was `brilliant` and so was completely hooked.
It was explained that modern on-line counselling encompasses almost any form of Internet technology, including text, voice and video and a brief history of this was offered to the audience. It could be said that non-face to face counselling started with Sigmund Freud who often counselled by letter, but it was in the 1960’s that real development occurred with Eliza, a computer program which simulated a therapist. The USA, Australia and Israel moved forward with this work and in the early 1990’s some UK Universities produced hit and miss results in this field. In later years the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, Universities and the NHS all gave respectability to this area of work.
Practical advantages attached to online counselling include the ability to work with people abroad, those who may have irregular working hours and people with transport problems or caring roles. Pitfalls might be seen as possible breaches in online security, which might compromise confidentiality and the need by the therapist to convey his or her understanding to the client through words alone. Anne stressed that she was not advocating the phasing out of face to face counselling or claiming online counselling is better or in fact worse but just that it is different.
Anne’s interesting and informative talk ended with a lively question and answer session, culminating in a warm round of applause following the vote of thanks given by TAP council member David Trott.
The next meeting of TAP is in the New Year, on Friday January 22nd, when Ian Stevenson will give a Talk entitled “Ticking the boxes – the context of 21st Century Management”. Venue : Taunton United Reformed Church, Paul Street, Taunton TA1 3PF @ 7.45 pm.
Here at TAP we are always keen to attract the very best speakers on subjects that we know will interest members and those interested in all different aspects of the human psyche. So we are keen to get to know them and ensure they enjoy their time with us and one way we do that is to take them out for a pre-talk meal.
TAP Council member Kella Fitzgerald thought it would be a great idea to ask each speaker a few short questions to find out what makes them tick, last month we tried it for the first time with Andrew Newton-Cox....... So fire away Kella!
As a TAP council member, I have the opportunity to go for dinner once a month with our guest speakers. While discussing aspects of psychotherapy over dinner is fascinating, I am also interested in finding out about the person behind the profession. With this in mind I devised a series of questions:
1. What is your favourite comfort food?
Seeded granary bread with strong cheddar or Brie. "Because it's brilliant"
2. What book has meant the most to you?
I Robot by Issac Asimov.
3. What one piece of advice has inspired you?
The Serenity Prayer
God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
4. What music do you put on to relax?
A lot of different music and artists, but especially Bob Marley
My thanks to Andrew for his great choices, and we are so glad his talk was so well received.