P3Orlando.com: August Interview Article

Again we bring you an interview with another p3 instructor..

This month Evelyn Dufner sat down with P3 instructor, Deborah Ann Willbur to collect some of her history, experience, and perspectives.

P3:              We want the P3 community to learn more about their instructors and get a better idea of who they are. So thanks for taking the time to sit down with us and give the P3 community a chance to learn more about you.

Debbie:              You’re welcome.

P3: Let’s start off with your involvement in P3. How long have you been involved? How long have you been teaching?

Debbie:              Well, some history first. I first attended P3, which was then called (UYO) – Understanding Yourself and Others – in 1986 or so with my husband, Larry. Bill Huey was our instructor. The workshop was pretty regimented which forced both the assistants and students to really learn about themselves. I realized the intensity and organization of the program created a lot of safety for me. For many years following our initial course, Larry and I assisted at the majority of the weekends, which were held every other month. We had a large social network made up of many collegial therapists in town. Having so many therapists involved made the weekends pretty intense. We’d have large picnics on the lawn outside the course room at lunchtime, with lots of laughing and joke telling. We also participated in US Attitudes, a course UYO offered regarding community building. After a few years of assisting, Larry and I became Certified RCB Instructors and ran 3 to 4 courses per year from 1988 until 1993. Eventually I began to teach P3 as well.

P3: What impact did the workshop have on your life? What led you to teaching?

Debbie:              Boy! Those are big questions! It was so long ago, and the impact it had on me then has had ever rippling effects throughout my life since that time.

The course room became a huge accepting emotional playpen for me. I could finally be in a place with other people and experience the intensity and variations of all of my own emotions. I could scream at the top of my lungs; laugh deeply from the core of my belly; cry and wail my heart out; tremble and shake with fear; feel the depths of my own shame, and stand firmly in the power of my own soul. These emotional experiences opened my curiosity into how to direct, manage, and orchestrate all of my mighty emotional forces. Through the course room I was faced with the realization of how my emotions impacted my body, mind, and spirit.  I learned there was nothing wrong with the feelings I had (or have) and that there was nothing to be scared about regarding those emotions. My earliest belief that emotions were not ok became new learning; I learned that my feelings were all ok – they were just emotions… Suddenly, through the arms of the course room I was aware.  My internal language began shifting, “Oh my God! I have been living feeling scared of feeling sad… there is nothing wrong with feeling so sad. Feeling scared was my mom, she was so scared of my sadness…” I was aware of the projections of others and began to sort out what was mine and what was theirs. I gained clarity out of the expression of my internal workings and bodily experiences and I knew I was fine.  This shift in perspective made me really curious, and I wanted to understand more about how our emotions and mind work hand in hand. I went on to study PBSP (Pesso-Boyden Systems Psychomotor), a Mind/Body therapy, and for the following 9 years I learned, integrated, and utilized that model. I am now a Certified Trainer in PBSP.

P3 taught me this:

  1. When I feel wobbly and uncertain, I can find my way by listening to loud music and feeling my feelings. Even though I don’t know the answer of where I am going… it creates clarity for me.
  2. That I have the power to achieve what I set out to do.
  3. That I can ask for what I want.
  4. That there are people in the world to enlist for help when I need it.
  5. What appears as a big deal now somewhere down the line won’t be.
  6. Speak up no matter how insignificant I might think it is, because it might just be the piece that helps the whole solve the problem.
  7. I can trust my own instincts.

P3: Tell Us About Your Life outside of P3.

Debbie: I live in Longwood with my husband Larry. We were married in 1977 and that puts 33 years under our belt. I have a daughter, 23, Taylor, who is studying psychology, and a son, 27, Nathaniel who is a Civil Engineer in Ft. Pierce. I am a full time Licensed Clinical Social Worker, in private practice in Winter Park for 27 years. I love morning mass on Friday mornings, because of the quiet and solitude. I cycle with Larry and with the Seminole cycling Club. I love Gardening, and have my own private gardening area. I am also a member of an all women’s book club, which stretches me intellectually and wraps me in a lot of warmth and support both through literature and the community of the group. I also love doing projects. I think that maybe I had been a carpenter in a former life simply because I love to paint, build and put things together. I work out regularly, and one of my biggest challenges is swimming at the YMCA. Water is symbolic of life for me, and swimming challenges me in more ways than one. I love challenges… I am always game for something new. I also love downhill skiing, and we visit the Rocky Mountains a lot for backpacking, mountain biking, and downhill skiing. I am also a member of the McCall Hiking Club in Idaho.

Professionally, I am the Co-president for the Southern Center for PBSP. I recently participated in a collaborative planning meeting between Congolese Representatives (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and the PBSP Institute. Our goal is to design a training program that will bring PBSP to the people of the Congo. Specifically we hope this model of therapy will help to address the trauma the Congolese people experience… The meeting was profound, as everyone in the Congo suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to the prevalence of war tragedies, murders, rapes, sexual traumas, and endless atrocities in the nation. We are very excited that the pilot training will happen in late 2010.

P3: Debbie, can you tell us more about your therapeutic approach and PBSP?

Debbie: PBSP is a useful tool for connecting the mind and body. The therapeutic process focuses on the Mind/Soul-Body duality. The term Psycho (soul) motor – (body or movement) looks at the whole of us (we are not just our mind and not just our body.) PBSP is based on the belief that we are all driven to live our authentic self.  Most of everything we do is moving us in that direction. We live our authentic self best when our basic needs have been fully and completely met. So the therapeutic process looks at identifying those basic needs, or looks at present day behaviors or struggles, as an indication that there are unmet needs. With the PBSP approach we look to getting those needs met. We do this through the symbolic use of ideal parents. I hope to explain more about this in future articles.

P3:                         Where do you practice? How do we find out more?

Debbie:             I have a private practice at 2150 Park Avenue, Winter Park, FL.  I see individuals, couples, families, and run small therapy groups. You can reach me at (407) 645-0028. Additionally, I have more information about PBSP and my services on my website: http://www.southerncenter4pbsp.com

P3:                        Tell us something about your childhood or an early childhood memory.

Debbie:             I was born and raised in southern California, and I am the middle of 3 children. My background is Cajun French. I went to Catholic schools, which was a big deal with our family. I was the “emotional one” of the kids in my family. I cried easily, got intensely angry, and because of the reactions I received, I had the feeling that I was a little too much, a little off and a bit less than acceptable. Those experiences created a pretty fierce belief system for me. What I have learned is to really trust my feelings, to look back to the unmet needs, and stay actively engaged and piloted through daily life experience.

P3:            What is one thing Graduate Students can do to keep P3 alive and present in their lives?

Debbie:            P3 opens people up and begins to help students look at the self in ways they haven’t. It is important to follow through with other types of self-care and therapy. Changes as powerful as P3 creates don’t have long lasting effects if you don’t cultivate it. P3 is a great beginning. Self help books, returning to assist, involvement in workshops and seminars are all helpful, however I believe strongly that consistently attending therapy will deepen the experience. Therapy specifically helps an individual get to the core of one’s “self” which is more likely to create long term healing effects.

A lot of times people leave on a high from P3 and they leave feeling that THAT is what life is supposed to feel like all the time. However, learning to feel your feelings fully, recognizing that we are always moving in and out of our emotions and experiences is part of being human. There are highs and lows, and it doesn’t mean anything is going wrong. You will feel sad, you will feel scared, you will feel joyful, you will feel angry at times, and it isn’t always a P3 high. It is important to remember that life is an orchestra of all your varying emotions.

P3:                        Debbie, thanks so much for taking the time to share so much with us.

Debbie:             You are welcome. I am excited to be a part of the P3 community, and share myself a bit so students know better where I come from.

Keep an eye out for future P3 instructor interviews!

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