Returning after a 3-year hiatus we are pleased to announce the
2024 Unites States National PBSP Conference

Join us in sunny
San Diego, CA on April 6-7, 2024.

The theme of this year's conference is
Celebrating the Fruits of Living

Location & COST
Marina Village
1936 Quivira Way, San Diego, CA 92109

The NBCC has granted 8 hours of CE’s for participants that attend the whole conference.

$300 includes 2-day conference, lunch, and dinner reception. Lodging not included.

Date & Time
April 6-7, 2024
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Dinner & Reception
April 6, 2024
6:00 PM -9:00 PM
What is PBSP?
Pesso Boyden System Psychomotor Therapy (PBSP) is a therapeutic modality used by therapists in both individual and group settings to help clients overcome past trauma.  It is a potent, dynamic, body-based method for symbolic re-parenting of old negative maps to positive life-affirming ones. 
Bessel van der Kolk in The Body Keeps the Score states that PBSP 'instills imprints of safety and comfort alongside those of terror and abandonment, decades after the original shaping of mind and brain... in so doing it provides individuals with a new internal basis for being in the world – where they live larger and more joyful lives'.
Featured Speakers
Martha Stark, MD
Martha Stark, MD, a graduate of Harvard Medical School and the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute, is a holistic (adult and child) psychiatrist and integrative psychoanalyst in private practice in Boston, MA. She is a Lecturer on Psychiatry (part-time) at Harvard Medical School and Co-Founder / Co-Director of the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies at William James College.
Martha is an award-winning author of 9 highly acclaimed books (including Relentless Hope: The Refusal to Grieve) on the integration of psychodynamic theory with clinical practice – several of which have become "required reading" in psychoanalytic training institutes and psychodynamic psychotherapy programs in the US and abroad.
Martha is the Originator / Developer of the Psychodynamic Synergy Paradigm: A C.A.R.E.S. Approach to Deep Healing (Models 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5).
Board Certified by the American Association of Integrative Medicine, Martha also contributes chapters to integrative medicine textbooks and articles to peer-reviewed toxicology / environmental medicine journals.
Matt Fried
Matt Fried, MA, Ph.D., MFA, a board member of the NYSPA Trauma SpeciaI Interest Group, is a NYS licensed psychologist with over five decades of clinical experience.

He is currently in private practice in New York City and Delaware County, New York working with individuals, groups and couples and supervising therapists learning AEDP and PBSP.

He’s a certified AEDP Therapist and Supervisor and has presented about AEDP in various settings including the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy, the Mid-Hudson Chapter of the NY State Society for Clinical Social Work.

He is a Certified PBSP (Pesso Boyden System Psychomotor) Supervisor and International trainer and has presented workshops on PBSP in Atlanta, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Asheville, Atlanta, Kingston, Ithaca, NYC and Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

He is a certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, not currently practicing, but using the knowledge in his work with psychotherapy patients.

He’s trained in interpersonal, psychoanalytic and psychodynamic models of psychotherapy, in strategic therapy with Milton Erickson, MD and has been certified in NLP.
Jim Amundsen
Jim Amundsen has been in private practice as a Licensed Psychologist for 40 years.  

He started training with Al Pesso in 1983 and continued with that training until Al Pesso's death in 2016.

As a certified PBSP Trainer he has conducted many PBSP training sessions in the USA and Internationally.

He founded the USPBSPA as a nonprofit corporation after Pesso's death and is still serving as the President of the USPBSPA
Somatic Memory Reconsolidation: The Therapeutic Construction of False Positive Memories
Martha Stark, MD
In the riveting words of the spiritual teacher Thomas Hubl, “Healing past energy creates a forward ripple effect. It releases light and energy that was previously held in shadow, offering greater movement and freedom of will in the present.”

Psychomotor Psychotherapy (PBSP) is a brilliantly conceived method of treatment that aims to eliminate “old bad” body memories and to replace them with “new good” ones – its remarkable effectiveness the result of its focus on the construction of “new body (somatic) memories.”
Interestingly and importantly, unlike most psychodynamic psychotherapies that emphasize the experiencing of “new good” in the present (as a corrective for “old bad” in the past), in psychomotor work the emphasis is on the patient’s experiencing of good – and in an embodied fashion – in the past!
In other words, the therapeutic action in Psychomotor Psychotherapy involves the patient’s construction of “good past memories.” The patient – in the context of remembering and somatically reliving the early-on bad relational experiences at the hands of her parents – is given the opportunity to construct in the present what she wishes had happened in the past.
Accordingly, in psychomotor work a structure is set up in which the patient first revisits the early-on traumatic scene (the “historical scene”), selects specific members of the group to role-play the old bad objects, and then re-experiences (in her mind's eye and in her body) the anguish, the outrage, and the devastation that she had experienced as a child in relation to them.
But the healing does not focus on the cathartic discharging of long-repressed feelings and body memories or, even, the grieving of early- on unmastered parental failures. Rather the healing is conceptualized as involving the creation of “salutary (health-promoting) virtual memories,” in essence, the creation of “positive false memories” – antidotes to the original trauma.
Once the historical scene has been recreated and some version of it (somatically) relived, a “healing scene” is introduced, one that will involve the patient's proactively choreographing the responses of other group members whom she now enlists to role-play childhood objects – not the actual bad ones but hypothetical good ones (ones she wishes she had been lucky enough to have had). In essence, the healing scene involves this creation by the patient of a believable alternative.
Interestingly, when the patient constructs a missing positive experience, there is usually a click of recognition – “Now the world is as I had always known it should be.”
In essence, Psychomotor Psychotherapy, like any therapeutic modality for which profound and sustained psychodynamic change is the ultimate goal, is a story about reshaping the past in order to make new futures possible.
Understanding Albert Pesso’s concept “The Fruits of Living”
Jim Amundsen
For years Albert Pesso talked about the “fruits of living” as being the purpose of human life.   These are pleasure, connectedness, satisfaction, and meaning.  He thought of these qualities as genetically given expectations as possibilities of human life.  Drawing both on written materials Pesso left behind and from hearing Albert Pesso talk about them I will argue that he meant for all of these qualities should be thought of as a whole that result in a person being capable of experiencing periods of bliss in life in spite of the hardships and suffering that living inherently brings.  As such, his notions around the fruits of living constitute the goal of therapy and the basis of ethical behavior of how people should behave to create the developmental environments for people to become adults who have the capacity to experience bliss.​​​​
Similarities between PBSP and BSP, Brainspotting Therapy
Debbi Antonori
The specific physical location of a role-playing figure in PBSP has a visual special location that corresponds well to the location of a relevant Brainspot in Brainspotting Therapy. BSP utilizes the visual field to locate an area of orientation that has a felt sense of rightness to the client. “Where you look affects how you feel” is the BSP neuro-experience that shifts clients’ systems into engagement of homeostatic functions bringing dysregulation into regulation based on where in visual space they are orienting. A brief BSP Experience will be offered to participants at the beginning of this session to have an embodied experience before diving into the clinical and theoretical aspects of BSP and its similarities to PBSP.

The manner in which Brainspots are located will be described and demonstrated as well as the Basic Principles of BSP including The Uncertainty Principle, the Dual Attunement Frame and Staying in the Tail of the Comet. Brainspotting is a Neuorexperiential Model where all aspects of the client’s experience are invited into the Frame, similar to the Possibility Sphere. The neurobiological theories put forth by Frank Corrigan, MD and Damir delMonte, PhD (double PhD – Medicine and Psychology) will be described in PPT and lecture for participants to understand the oculo-brain-body basis that appears to move clients from dysregulation and maladaptive homeostasis to regulation with BSP.
Strengthening the couple bond: PBSP Interventions in Couples' Therapy
Curt Levang
This break-out session will address practical strategies for introducing and using PBSP theory in couples therapy.  Participants will learn how intimacy, care, and love play a pivotal role in self-discovery and how to support couples in this work. The session will utilize the LIFE Inventory, LIFE Ideal Partner psychological cards, and experiential exercises in the learning process. The session is designed to assist therapists in creating a safe environment where empathy, honesty, understanding, intimacy, and love lead to stronger relational bonds.
An introduction to PBSP with live demonstration
Jim Amundsen
In this 3 hour workshop some of the basic theories and methods of PBSP psychotherapy will be presented.  These include concepts around human growth and development: the basic developmental needs of place, nurturance, support, protection, and limits.  The development of the ego (ego-wrapping), and the developmental tasks of integrating the polarities of inputs and outputs, developing consciousness, developing the “pilot” (executive functions) and developing a sense of being a unique individual.  The concepts of what can go wrong in development, including, developmental neglect, abuse and inheriting intergenerational trauma through “holes in roles.”  Some of the main psychotherapeutic methods of PBSP will be presented: identifying  emotions (witnessing), identifying clients cognitive maps (identifying voices), making reversals, and “making movies.”  Because current neurological knowledge is clear that current consciousness is constructed out of memory, all these techniques will be presented as interventions towards the goal of creating new virtual memories that help the client to overcome developmental weaknesses.
Structures and Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy: A Complementary, Synergistic Healing Approach
Mariah Rooney
A dedicated collective of practitioners and researchers have joined together to innovate and develop methodologies to advance the healing potential psychedelic medicines afford. In this experiential presentation we will share how this collective's experimental exploration of combining Structures with Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) has demonstrated how these treatment approaches might be combined and modified to tailor various elements, reveal psychotherapeutic findings and clinical considerations in a crucible that simulates real world clinical practice. Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) is a modality that allows individuals to expand beyond conditioned character structures held within the mind, emotions and body. Ketamine permits a softening of defenses and promotes character flexibility and a potential to discover new possibilities through imagination, creativity and play. What is shared experientially between Structures and KAP is the ability to access non-ordinary states of consciousness, psychic and embodied exploration and the expansiveness of imagination to project and map out the mental structures that inform and direct everyday behaviors and relationship dynamics. In combining these two powerful and transformative modalities, there exists an opportunity to witness, re-live, grieve and open up to new relational inputs and expand to new object relations and emotional possibilities. This presentation documents and illustrates the catalyzing, accelerated potential when KAP and Structures are skillfully combined as a treatment approach. Film recordings documenting the Psychodrama / KAP workshop will be used to display and illustrate the clinical experience, treatment approach and results.
PBSP Structures & Apology Work: How to work with the need to experience apologies from hurtful figures and the need to make apologies to those we have hurt
Matt Fried
Reparative capacities and processes are essential to human relationships and to effective psychotherapy. They are necessary because human communication is imperfect, not always careful, kind or sensitive, subject to the emotional reactions and limitations of the communicators. Misunderstandings arise; words are powerful and penetrating. The experience of hurt is common and can be long-lasting. Patients frequently come to therapy with the express need to experience sensitive, compassionate and empathic apologies from those who have hurt them, intentionally or not, in the past. They also need to experience those very types of apologies from their therapists when inevitable ruptures occur during the course of therapy.

Similarly, patients often long to make sensitive, compassionate and empathic apologies to those they have hurt, intentionally or not, in the past.
The imaginal techniques and potential of PBSP can be used in the service of these apologies.
In this workshop, participants will learn how to organize and facilitate imagined apologies from and to important life figures, and how these imagined experiences can lead to work with ideal figures. The workshop will employ both didactic material and experiential exercises.
PBSP and AEDP, An Attachment/Relational Model of Therapy: Commonalities, Differences and Paths towards Mutual Enrichment
Matt Fried
In this presentation, participants will be taught the nuts and bolts of creating and maintaining safety and attachment, and the utilization of reparative imaginative techniques and processes in the therapy session, in-person or online. These two sets of principles and skills will enhance approaches already being used by psychotherapists, such as EMDR and CBT. The two related and complementary approaches to be presented are AEDP (Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy) which focuses on the therapist-patient relationship in the here-and-now, and PBSP (Pesso Boyden System Psychomotor), which emphasizes imaginative re-processing of historical events. Both approaches are client centered and share the following tools, which will be taught: slowing the client down, careful, moment-to-moment tracking, employing a non-directive, non-interpretive therapist stance, knowing how to wait for and assess the clients receptivity, supporting the client’s agency.  For both approaches, maintaining safety will be gauged by the patient’s explicit assessment of it, and the tools of this assessment will be taught. Remembering and utilizing the patient’s word choice, metaphors, phrasing, syntax and rate of speech.
The specific AEDP skills which will be taught are: therapist self-disclosure, client affirmation language, undoing aloneness, normalization, the provision of comfort, support and a sense of place in the here-and-now of the therapist-patient relationship.
The specific PBSP skills which will be taught are: generating and using reversals, teaching patients how to use the suspension of disbelief, generating imagined antidotes to traumatic events and relationships, the use of imagined external figures including witness and protection figures.
Preparing Clients for Structure
Natalina Slaughter M.A. LPCC and Curt Levang, Ph.D. L.P
Ever since the publication of The Body Keeps the Score, a new interest has been generated in doing a “structure”.   Furthermore, clinicians new to PBSP may be wanting more information on how to start implementing structures with clients. This break-out session will address the nuts and bolts of a structure and how to prepare new clients to participate in this process either as a client or accommodator. Accommodators can be a powerful and key role in structures. Thus, how to effectively accommodate is critical. The session is designed to assist PBSP practitioners in reducing the apprehension a client may display about a structure by providing them with the knowledge, skills, and personal experience that will assure success. The session will include a power point presentation and a video. ​​​​
Using PBSP to Heal Attachment Wounds and Trauma from Compulsory Heterosexuality and Policed Gender Roles
Gus Kaufman, Ph.D.
PBSP is a way of delineating and rewriting scripts held in the bodymind. Policed gender roles and sexual orientations as we have lived them are partly the result of trauma learning. We’ll discuss and experiment with how to de-program and re-program ourselves so we are more ‘free to be you and me’. ‘We’re born naked; all the rest is drag.’ (RuPaul Charles)
Explore the importance of touch in three PBSP Exercises
Joanna Ware
Touch is an integral aspect of getting our basic needs met throughout the lifespan. Pesso emphasized that touch is the most personal of all the senses yet we live in a world where touch is often controlled, forbidden or sexualized. Some clients do not receive sufficient satisfying touch while they are young, consequently, as adults, they do not feel free to explore touch, beyond a simple handshake or pat on the back. In this workshop, participants will experience three PBSP Exercises designed to develop awareness of touching and being touched, while increasing one’s tolerance around touching. These Exercises will also offer participants the opportunity to use touch to access hidden emotions and memories stored in the body. At the end of each Exercise experience, participants will be trained to lead their clients through the Exercise so this is both an experiential and a skills-based workshop.
Hotels and Accommodations
Marina Village Conference Center is located in one of San Diego's most beautiful areas, inside the Mission Bay channel and only minutes away from the sparkling waters of the Pacific Ocean.  There is a wealth of hotels in the area, and the following are the closest to the venue:

The Dana on Mission Bay is approximately 0.5 miles away

Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa & Marina is approximately 0.6 miles away

Additionally, Mission Beach is approximately 1.5 miles away and offers many AirBnB or VRBO options right on the ocean.
Additional Travel Information
San Diego Airport (SAN)
If you are flying in for the conference, San Diego International Airport (SAN) is the closest airport to fly into. It is approximately 5 miles from the conference center.
Rental Cars, Rideshare, or Shuttles
San Diego International Airport has a new consolidated rental car center that offers rental cars from all the major agencies.  More info can be found at

Alternatively, there are Uber, Lyft, and taxi cabs pickup locations from San Diego International Airport.

Many hotels offer free shuttle pickup from San Diego International Airport. Check with your hotel for details and schedules.
San Diego Attractions
When you're not at the conference, there is plenty to see and do in beautiful San Diego!
Contact Us
Please reach out with any questions, concerns, or to inquire about CEUs.
 Join us on April 6-7, 2024
We look forward to hosting you!

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