PBSP in Practice (Oct 2019 USPBSPA Newsletter)
A Variation on the ‘Voluntary Patterns in the Service of Interest and Curiosity’ Exercise
Gus Kaufman, Ph.D., Senior PBSP Trainer
I had previously taught the ongoing group I lead with Stephanie Ezust, Ph.D. Conscious Voluntary Movement, including the four steps of Decide, Plan, Carry Out, Check.
This time I taught the Voluntary Patterns exercise adding “we are going to do an extra step to look at how what you do in the exercise applies in your life.” (Stephanie helped me come up with this variation.) We had everyone complete the four steps of the exercise (look around the room, see what arouses the most interest and curiosity for you, figure out what you want to do with it, go do it, come back to your spot and check what happened.) I then asked them to look at something important in their lives and see if the pattern of what they did in the exercise carried through there. I gave them three minutes to sit with this and then asked them to debrief.
One client, a complex trauma survivor, abused by both parents, told me it was very useful. (We did some of this processing in our individual session.) She said, “It’s how I react. I get immobilized, don’t want to do anything. (She was the last one to move.)
I think ‘what difference does it make? I’ve got to do it anyway.’ Then I want to hide (she did in the exercise, behind the leaders). Then I started to touch the tree tapestry behind you. The tree was rough; I didn’t like it. I’m always looking for something soft. There’s nothing soft in your office. So I’ve brought something.”
She had brought me a small stuffed swan, (she knows I am a birder.) She also tends to take care of others. For much of the session she held it on her lap, or to her cheek, and stroked it. She said, “you know it doesn’t matter if you were born in a duck yard, if you hatched from a swan’s egg.”
This was a step forward I think for this client in developing a pilot, activating a part of herself that could envision, allow and create a positive possibility sphere for herself.
An additional step that could be added would be to have the clients report each meeting where they are with going toward their goal. Work could be done with the obstacles encountered.