Dear friends,

It is with profound sadness that I inform you on behalf of my sisters that our beloved father, Al Pesso, died suddenly on May 19th after a long illness and seven months hospitalization. There will be a joint memorial service for both our mother and father in Cambridge, MA in late summer at a time and date to be determined.

Extending a warm hug to all who loved him and will miss him,

Tana Pesso

(Al’s eldest daughter)


Albert Pesso, beloved husband of Diane Boyden Pesso & son of Esther Albala & Bohor Ben Saba Pincas Pesso, died after a long illness on May 19, 2016 in Boston, MA. Born Sept. 19, 1929 he leaves 3 daughters, Tana Pesso, Tasmin Pesso, & Tia Pesso Powell, 4 grandchildren, Chris F. Edley III, Kyra Chu Pesso, Jonathan Pesso Chu, & Xoren Pesso Powell, brother Sam Pesso, & sister Sylvia Waldner. 

With his wife, Al created Pesso Boyden System Psychomotor, a widely respected interactive technique that helps clients create new memories to compensate for emotional deficits in the past.  He has been called one of the 3 living masters of body-based psychotherapy and was chosen in 2012 to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award by the U.S. Assoc. for Body Psychotherapy.

Al began his career as a dancer & choreographer, studying under Martha Graham and May O’Donnell. He & Diane met as Bennington College students, then married & danced in NYC. Al received his B.A. from Goddard College. In 1956, they established a dance center in Quincy, MA & within 5 years developed the foundational theory of PBSP. Encouraging dancers to allow their bodies to act out their inner feelings, they observed that the resulting emotional outpouring was cathartic, but did not help the individual heal their emotional scars. They went on to develop an interactive model that drew on spatial relationships, specific wording, & physical touch to provide a response from the outer world to each of the inner needs expressed. This facilitated the creation of new body-based memories to counteract memories of past emotional deficits. Al was a tenured assoc. professor & dir. of Emerson College’s dance dept. while he & Diane developed, practiced, & began teaching their new form of body-based psychotherapy.

Al served as dir. of Psychomotor Therapy at McLean Hospital & the Pain Unit of the N.E. Rehabilitation Hospital; adjunct prof. at Fielding Inst.; & consultant in psychiatric research at the Boston VA Hospital. He also taught PBSP at Harvard’s continuing education program & at other educational & medical institutions abroad. He has written & contributed to many books & more than 50 articles, & led hundreds of seminars around the world.

Al was a featured speaker at many psychology conferences, such as: the American Academy of Psychotherapists; the Assoc. of Humanistic Psychology; the National Inst. for Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine; the Berlin Psychoanalytic Inst.; the European Congress on Body Psychotherapy; & the American Assoc. of Marriage & Family Therapy. He also presented at medical schools & hospitals, including Grand Rounds at BU’s Medical School.

Considered a uniquely gifted ‘therapists’ therapist’ Al helped thousands of clients to achieve lives of greater happiness, satisfaction, & meaning. He established PBSP training centers around the world which have certified hundreds of PBSP therapists & trained an excellent cadre of PBSP trainers & supervisors who carry on the work to the highest standards. It brought Al & Diane deep gratification in their final days to know that they left had their life’s work in such capable hands.

Like his wife, Al had a deeply compassionate wish to heal all the wounds of the world. He will be sorely missed by friends & family who remain inspired by his life's work, fierce dedication, playful spirit, & unique soul.

A joint memorial service for Al & Diane will be held in Camb., MA TBD. See for tributes.


Posted by Barbara Segura on September 19, 2020
Al’s work with me in New Hampshire and Boston informs my life and purpose every day. May memories be sweet for his family and friends.
Posted by Kerith Edwards on August 11, 2020
Thank you for this beautiful, generous, compassionate legacy!

Kerith Edwards, MA, LMHC
Hawaii / Netherlands / Mexico
Posted by Leonard Bustin on June 18, 2020
How time flies! One day you're alive and communicating with Al. The next, he's gone. Al was instrumental with helping me get in touch with all the parts of me on my path to finding inner peace. His New Hampshire farm and my experiences there with Al, Diane and some of the wonderful people I met are locked away in my brain as one of the most memorable times in my life. I wish Al peace and love in the hereafter.
Posted by Michaela Vodová on May 25, 2020
Posted by Caroline Collin on May 20, 2020
Still so present and unfolding!
Posted by Bessel van der Kolk on May 19, 2020
Still filled with gratitude for the rich teachings & personal growth experiences that I carry with me for always.
Posted by Marina Eddy on May 19, 2020
Thinking and using of your teachings daily! To my fellow PBSP family I recently found some picutres of Al Pesso and my compadres from Britain(London) Norway and Germany on an old camera. These picutres were taken in Boston prior to his leaving for trip to Germany. I would like to safely share, trransfer and give them to someone who will know how to honour them.  Please let me know by email I believe Sally Potter, you were in this group with me. Blessings and Health for you in these times of Covid-19. Hugs Al!
Posted by Sally Potter on May 19, 2020
I think of you every day Al, and how your being in the world impacted my life.
Posted by Thayer Cory on September 19, 2019
Al always came to our group in Virginia at this time of year so we often celebrated his birthday, usually with blueberries and whipped cream, no sugar. I even taught the group a three part birthday round that we would sing to him. I think of him often, always with profound gratitude for what he gave to me both professionally and personally. Forever missed is an apt phrase.  Thayer Cory
Posted by Marina Eddy on September 19, 2019
Happy 90th Day! I am forever blessed by your work Al! Blessings on you and Diane!
Posted by Tom Corbishley on May 20, 2019
As I continue my journey, working and training as a psychotherapist, Pesso Boyden System Psychomotor therapist and sexologist, I am continually reminded how visionary Al and Diane were. As I follow the latest thinking on neuroscience, trauma therapy, consciousness and language I usually muse about the fact that Al and Diane had figured it all out years ago (with the able contribution of Lowijs Perquin, also sadly missed). I am sad at their passing and happy to have known them.
Posted by Jon Chapman on May 20, 2019
Al still has a vibrant place in my life and therapeutic practice and I think of him often, the gifts and the wisdom he shared with me, and am so grateful for having known him and his work.
Posted by Nancy Cetlin on May 19, 2019
Al’s was a great soul and a great intelligence. His ability to see through the outer layers of a person, into their essential selves and “holes in roles” is unteachable in the last analysis. That was one of his extraordinary gifts. He taught us so much, and we gained and grew from those experiences. But there was only one Al and indeed he will be forever missed.
Posted by Bessel van der Kolk on October 15, 2018
Dear Al. I think about you almost every day- talk about you, correspond about you & incorporate so much of what you have taught me in my life & my work. Your work is living on & I am trying to teach it to new generations of healers. Your light still shines!
Posted by Cootje van der Loeff on September 21, 2018
Dear Al,
Thank you for who you was for me.
Keeping in touch with that feels so good.
Grateful about it,
Posted by Sabine Lück on September 20, 2018
Dear Albert Pesso,
With great gratitude for the gifts you have given us with your and Diane's work, we will speak again about you today in our presentation at the DGSF's big annual congress ... so something of you and Diane lives on ... Thank you Sabine Lück and Ingrid Alexander
Posted by Marina Eddy on September 19, 2018
Always relevant to my work every day.. Grateful for having his wisdom within me. Remembering Al..  MarinaE
Posted by louis sommeling on September 19, 2018
This moment i am writing an article about him, about the future of the Dutch PBSP-association. He was of great significance for us.
(supervisor PBSP)
Posted by Hanania Mutombo on September 19, 2017
Quand je pense à ALBERT PESSO, j'ai des larmes aux yeux lorsque mes propres frères du Kasai sont massacrés, tués, traumatisés sans aucun secours. AL aurait envoyé en RDC et au Kasai les experts du PBSP pour aider ces populations en ruine.
Paix à son âme
Posted by Robert Mulder on June 20, 2017
I have warm feelings of all the time we spend together at De Borckerhof in Orvelte, Netherlands (where I was director) were you started your Dutch therapy sessions. You named it "The Womb". In the Gallery I placed a few photos made during my visit to Frankln NH.
Posted by Hanania Mutombo on May 24, 2017
Al PESSO demeure inoubliable pour les congolais que nous sommes.
AL est toujours présent sur terre au travers de son génial système PBSP dont j'ai le signe honneur de véhiculer les grandes valeurs qu'il incarne en RDC.
Posted by Marina Eddy on May 22, 2017
Remembering today the gifts you and Diane gave, and the eloquent and elegant method of your work which informs me daily in mine! Gratitude for meeting you and grateful for the gift of my PBSP structure experiences!
Posted by Carrie Fried Sutton on May 21, 2017
You knew exactly how to work with each person, each Structure finely tailor-made to respond to each unique nuance, flavor, history, memory. You loved us, and helped us co-create the dance we needed, with your gentle ways, your true naming of even the smallest flicker of emotion, sometimes still unknown and unrecognized, witnessed without judgment, seen with wise accepting eyes and then counter-shaped with the perfect answer to the oldest needs, until they quieted, satisfied, receiving what their deepest longings yearned for. Your amazing gift leaves with you, but also remains in us, what you gave us, how you taught us, how you helped us and taught us to pass the healing on through us to others.
Posted by Samaneri Viveka on January 7, 2017
Dear Al,
I never had the privilege to meet you and Diane but I was lucky to hear about your method. It has truly changed my life for the better. I have tried many times to get other people to try it too, but they all think it sounds too good to be true!
You have accumulated heaps of merit throughout your life, may it give you happiness and all good things in lives to come.
Posted by mariana ferreira on October 27, 2016
Dear Al....
I will never Forget you. you are one of the great inspirations of my psycholgyst career. and you were so so so SO importante to me on a personal level, when I did the PBSP formation with you in Lisbon, and you taught me so much about myself. the omnipotent grief :)
may your spirit be free and full of love.
Posted by Ingrid Alexander on October 1, 2016
time goes by quickly - already a year has gone by, but your work and ideas inspires me daily, dear Al. You should have seen and hear us, me, and Sabine Lück, your ex-trainees at the big DGSF congress in Frankfurt. While we introduced our book "Ahnen auf die Couch" your name and what we`ve got from you popped up again and again. It was so wonderful, that you`ve been on earth - a real gift to all human beings. Thank`s a lot.
Ingrid Alexander
Psychologische Psychotherapeutin
Generation-Code Trainerin
Posted by anton wölfinger on September 19, 2016
Happy Birthday AL!

Posted by Gail Lightbody Duquette on September 19, 2016
Happy Birthday in heaven!
Posted by Barbara Segura on September 19, 2016
Dear Al and Family,

Collecting my thoughts is painful and joyful all at once. I am pained because my learning with you in your physical presence is over. Every summer I'd ask myself if this would be the last time I saw you and this uncertainty was my propeller to strive and bring my best and truest self to the training rooms. You embodied so many principles of my ideal father which we removed from you! LOL. I feel such gratitude for your life and my collision course with you, Diane and PBSP.

My deepest condolences to your living and loving family. I have terrific memories of my structures and the seminars in New Hampshire and Boston and all of my travels to train with you. I bring PBSP to my therapy practice with incredible gratitude to you and Diane and your family. I treasure the pioneering work of PBSP, which has personally brought me deep joy and happiness.

Your last birthday (which you didn't want anyone to fuss over) was in Ashville, NC and gratefully to John and Pam, we had another terrific PBSP weekend. I'm glad I shared that birthday with you! Happy Birthday Again!

I will catch up wth you and Diane again!

Barbara J. Segura
South Florida, USA
Posted by Nara Clarke on September 19, 2016
We had the opportunity, a couple of times, to be around Al on his birth day celebration. I see him, even now, holding court with those that have gone but are still interest in Spiritually Growing.
Thank you for all that you have given us, Carl and Nara
Posted by Michael Bachg on September 19, 2016
Al, unwillingly I start to accept the future without your companionship, embedded into the large PBSP community you and Diane gathered. We are your guests on the stage of life: “happy birthday!”
Posted by Gus Kaufman on September 19, 2016
In these few days are my 70th, Al's 87th and Louisa Howe (also of blessed memory)'s birthdays. I miss him and Diane and am determined to carry on the work. I will be leading a structure workshop for therapists in October and we will have a moment of silence for them...
Posted by Nancy Kyrie Campbell on September 14, 2016
I am deeply saddened to learn of Al's passing. I first learned of his work in 1974 and began training with him in 1979. He has had a profound effect on my life both personally and professionally. Because of all I learned and experienced through my training with Al I became a much wiser and more compassionate woman which continues to this day to greatly influence my interactions with family, friends and acquaintances as well as rippling out through all of my professional work. I feel overwhelming gratitude that Al has been a part of my life!
Posted by Gilli Hanna on August 26, 2016
Dearest Al,
You have touched the hearts of so many people. I never, ever will forget all that you taught us, with your rigour, humour and enduring kindness and honesty. Thank you for showing me so much. You will always be in my heart.
With my love, Gilli
Posted by Helga Anna Habermehl on August 8, 2016
In deep and warm gratitude I say good-bye to Al. His clear and ingenious teaching gave me a wonderful new method for my work as a Biodynamic psychotherapist. Personally, I’m free now from some unpleasant moods and feelings, anxieties and inner pressure, which could not definitely be healed by other psychotherapy methods. They just went away after sessions with Al, in particular also by “Holes in Roles”.
I had the luck to join in 2007 the Munich group for PBSP (Al met us twice a year) and could also have some single sessions in Munich and Freiburg with Al. Thank you for this!
Already in 1999, on the Body Psychotherapy Congress in Berlin I admired the way he worked. I am also thankful for his PBSP activities in DR Congo, where I worked between 1981 and 2004 five times as an economist. Al had so much creative energy, clearness, humanity and love to mankind. I wish to say: It is done.

Helga Anna Habermehl,
Body Psychotherapist in Starnberg, Germany
Posted by Markus Aronica on August 8, 2016
Dear Al,

thank you very much for your profound method
and for your friendship, when we met.

Markus Aronica,
Freiburg in Germany
Posted by Aaron Ridge on July 21, 2016
I am so fortunate to have been introduced to the psychomotor method by Al very early in my career. The personal healing and boost for my career as a psychotherapist was extraordinary. Since our group in Minneapolis took off, I was able to study with Al, Al, Diane and others for regular immersion in this inspired approach to human potential. Having a place for over 15 years to grow and commune with others... I don't know where I'd have been without this method and the community it inspired. Thank You to the Pessos for their contribution, and blessings to the Pesso community.
Posted by Baerbel + Guenter Weier on July 10, 2016
I wrote this obituary, published in the German Aerzteblatt:
Guenter Weier
Posted by Sue Lewis on June 28, 2016
As the last group in the UK to be trained personally by Al, we would like to pay tribute to what an inspiration he was. His wise humanity, brought with warmth and love, helped us to open our hearts, minds and souls. We are determined to continue his and Diane's work with the precision and compassion we saw in him. Thank you for teaching us, Al - we hold you in our hearts. With gratitude and love from Tom, Sue, Mick, Sue, Asgeir and Elena.
Posted by Mähler Gisela on June 20, 2016
Dear Al,

fifteen years long you were our teacher and therapist in the Munich Group of Richard Hoffmann.
You helped us to become more who we really are!
We began to understand much more about our familysystem, which changed profoundly over the years in a healing way. You helped us to work as mediators more clear and caring with our clients.You were our honored master and more and more beloved friend.
When you became ill in Munich just before our group should start in last autumn, we saw you in the hospital. When you took the plane home some weeks later we had a last hug.
In love and highest respect for your mastership we say good bye and thank you, Al!

Dr. Gisela und Dr. Hans-Georg Mähler
Lawyers and mediators, Munich, Germany
Posted by Rosario Ortigao on June 11, 2016
I have been processing Al's death; what a loss for Humanity! Pesso's legacy will continue to enrich our clinical community. Hopefully, those who trained by him (I was, both in the States and in Portugal), will also continue to heal others in one of the most effective ways I know.
Thank you Al; thank you Diane! Thank you PBSP trainers!
Posted by James Arnfinsen on June 10, 2016
I had the privilege of experiencing Al's work through one of his students, while also having some contact with him directly in relation to a couple of podcast interviews we did together. Sometimes, and very surprisingly, he would just call me up on Skype, wondering how I was doing. Seeing his big smiley face suddenly light up on my computer screen was enough to leave me happy and beaming with energy for the rest of the day. He has had a huge impact on my life already and I hope to bring some of his wisdom with me as I move a long the path. Rest in peace, dear Al.
Posted by Daniel Marques on June 9, 2016
I'm thankful for all the knowledge both Al and Diane produced and for what they represent to me. I'm profundly sad that they passed away. Even though I hadn't the opportunity to meet them in person and learn PBSP with them, I feel that my life has changed because of their writings. I admire them and have them as inspiration in life. I still want to be trained for PBSP and I hope that the coordinators and supervisors can offer me and oportunity of continuing studing. Warm hugs from Uruguay.
Posted by Sandy Canfield on June 8, 2016
When I first met Al Pesso 25 years ago, my life began to transform – both personally and professionally. I learned such a humane and respectful paradigm – a way of looking at human beings and soulful healing that moved me to the depths of my heart and soul. I am so grateful for what I learned from Al. I’m glad I was able through the years to express my gratitude and love to him. I’m glad he knew how dear and influential he was to me. Although I did not train so much with Diane, the time I did train with her was very fruitful and enriching to me. I was so glad to tell her how important her teachings were to me and how much I loved her before she died. It is with such humble gratitude I say goodbye to both Al and Diane.
Posted by Margret Kaandorp on June 3, 2016
My knowledge about PBSP was a coïncident because of reading a RINO brochure for therapists in 2004. This resulted first in therapy for myself with so good results that I later did the training to become a therapist.
Last year I was blessed to do a whole week training with Al in Boston.
I withnessed again that it is really an artform the way Al worked. I hope this form of art to heal deficits from our past will be continued even now Al and Diane are no longer physically here.
May they rest in peace and memories of love.
Posted by Agnes Friederici on June 2, 2016
With deep sadness we had to learn that Al Pesso isn't any longer among us with his physical shell.
His spirit will though always be with us and he will have his place in numerous hearts.
With this big loss our thoughts are also with his family.
Al contributed with his humanity as a therapist and with the method, that he and his wife developped, in an extensive way to the benefit of people. They could discover and heal their wounds of the soul and unfold undreamed -competent-aspects of their selves.
We are all very thankful that we were able to live to see him as the great therapist and inspiring teacher of the ingenious method of PBSP.
He and his wife helped to make this world a lighter and warmer place by igniting many -hidden- lights and fires within people's hearts.
We will do everything to protect this light and spread it into the world for the benefit of mankind.
in behalf of the board of the PVDS/PVSD, Germany Agnes Friederici, CEO
Posted by paul scott on June 1, 2016
I met you in 1981 and did a structure. I had been in therapy much of my life and was so frustrated with the quality of care available. In that first structure I realized that something in me opened into an world of possibilities, in the years that I studied with you and since I continue to explore that sphere and am steadily grateful. Rest peacefully  Paul
Posted by Curt Levang on June 1, 2016
As I think about Al Pesso, my thoughts are of Al as a story teller... and boy could he tell a story! It is easy to recall him in the center of a circle of entranced therapists and helping professionals. When Al spoke, he did so with a soft voice, his hands gesturing, his eyes twinkling, and his words riveting. He did not have a narrow bandwith. His topics ranged from the latest brain research, philosophy and God, the workings of relationships, and the newest updates on PBSP. He told the story in a way that allowed you to sharpen your understanding of clients, as well as gain new insights into your own family and your own self. Al opened his life to us; sharing details of his beloved Diane, his wonderful family, and how he learned to embrace every life experience. I was fortunate to be able to see Al a few days before his death. We talked about the brief hospital related psychosis he experienced and how he was amazed that even that experience gave him a greater understanding of the real Self. I was amazed at how Al’s brain never stopped working, analyzing, and mostly creating.

Throughout my 30 some year relationship with Al, I experienced him as warm, friendly, inviting and offering wonderful hugs. He would always inquiry how I was doing and never failed to ask about my wife and daughter. Al could offer you a sense that you belonged, that you were important. And he could offer you a new story. 

Al's stories had one overriding theme, just as when you think of Stephen King you think of horror or suspense, when I think of Al, it was a love story. He and Diane went too amazing lengths to teach us about what the shape of love looks like and how that our entire being, all that we are, every small bit of us, needs validation, naming, sometimes limiting, but everything, even our most shameful parts could be brought into the light and be loved. It reminds me of Mr. Rodgers quote, "...anything human is mentionable, and anything mentionable is manageable." Al inspired us to believe that we can be happy in an imperfect world and that our histories can be changed, creating new memories is possible, and our future can be brighter.  I know Al changed my life. His work will continue to bring healing to the world. Thank you Al for all your love, wisdom, and mostly for being Al.   
Curt Levang
Posted by Marietta van Attekum on May 31, 2016
Dear Tana, Tia and Tasmin, dear colleagues,
What a great loss to you and to all of us. Al was such a loving and wise presence, that his absence feels so big and painful. Especially so soon after the death of your mother, your loss is huge.
For me Al always was the wise and humorous Jewish rabbi who stood in an eternal tradition - although he did not want that. The connection with his family roots in the sephardic community of Bitola -Macedonia- was for me obvious and inspiring, as an extra to PBSP.
I say a loving Kaddisj for his soul and wish you all the warmth and support that we together - as a circla around you - can provide.
Marietta van Attekum.
Posted by Tom Corbishley on May 31, 2016
Dear Al
I was looking for something, a change of career and direction, to take me through to the end of my useful days. In your and Diane's brilliant creation I saw the answer. Personal growth for me and wider benefits for the community through my practice - win, win.
I am forever grateful for your genius and dedication. And so glad that I had the opportunity to be taught by you. Rest in peace.
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Recent Tributes
Posted by Barbara Segura on September 19, 2020
Al’s work with me in New Hampshire and Boston informs my life and purpose every day. May memories be sweet for his family and friends.
Posted by Kerith Edwards on August 11, 2020
Thank you for this beautiful, generous, compassionate legacy!

Kerith Edwards, MA, LMHC
Hawaii / Netherlands / Mexico
Posted by Leonard Bustin on June 18, 2020
How time flies! One day you're alive and communicating with Al. The next, he's gone. Al was instrumental with helping me get in touch with all the parts of me on my path to finding inner peace. His New Hampshire farm and my experiences there with Al, Diane and some of the wonderful people I met are locked away in my brain as one of the most memorable times in my life. I wish Al peace and love in the hereafter.
Recent stories

Captain Nemo

Shared by Robert Mulder on June 20, 2017

You were so proud of your little boat. During our trips on the lake I teased you bij giving you the name Captain Nemo. 


Shared by Robert Mulder on June 20, 2017

This picture was taken in  Fall 1980 when I visited Al & Diane in Franklin NH.I was the director of De Borckerhof in Orvelte, Netherlands were Al started his first therapy groups in the Netherlands. He named it 'The womb' of my project.
We became friends and I stayed with them in Franklin.


Shared by daniel kahalas on February 23, 2017