How Can I Help!
A Therapist, in a therapeutic relationship with a client, oversees the emotional safety of the client. The client, whether the client is a child or an adult, enters the therapeutic relationship with uncertainty. Sometimes a person will seek out a therapist because they feel unsure and insecure. Often, a parent may call a therapist because of a teacher's recommendation. Or, additionally, a parent will seek out therapy because they observe that their child is not acting like their usual self and wonder if their child is regressing developmentally.
Moreover, parents are concerned about their child's aggressive behavior toward others, will reach out to a therapist. Other symptoms of concern, to a parent, are that their child's unusual behavior is fearful, argumentative, and unhappy.
Sandplay is an adjunct to talk therapy. For children and adults, finding words to describe their thoughts and feelings can be frustrating. Feeling disorganized contributes to feeling frustrated and anxious. The therapeutic relationship between the therapist and client is sacred. The therapist's role is to support the client unconditionally. The therapist and the client, together, develop a trusting relationship which can take time. Trusting a therapist can take place within a brief period of time, and then for others, establishing trust takes time to develop. Long-term trauma may impair the ability to establish trust. Through time, trust can be reestablished.
Expressive art, sandplay work, and creative processing are all modalities that reach into the unconscious state bringing forth a conscious awareness. Through creative processing, the psyche can express itself through images, symbols, and miniatures rather than words. Sandplay uses objects and figures that reflect their personal psyche. The internal conflicts from a traumatic experience or an experience, in general, are observed, by the client, in a three-dimensional space. The sandplay therapist provides reassurance to the client as the client moves through their individual process. The client is the creator of their own processing. Often, therapy provides an individual with a sense of self-control, free from anxiety, and a sense of wholeness, even in children. Trauma, whether it happens to a child, adolescent, or adult, can contribute to feeling a disorganized sense of self. For a child and adult, feeling disorganized impairs self-development. Healing includes mastering each developmental stage with authenticity. According to theorist, Erick Erickson's stages of development there are eight stages of psychosocial development from infancy to adulthood. Successful completion of each stage results in a healthy personality (Dr. Saucleod, 2018). Healing can take place non-verbally, and often the healing process is subtle. A personal transformation is a goal.
Therapy for children, adolescents, and adults is an experience between two individuals. Therapy for a younger individual is self-directed. The individual has the opportunity to act out, through play, including Sandplay, their disturbance, and anxiety.
In summary, as a Sandplay therapist, I will interact, support, and guide when the individual engages me to do so. Otherwise, the client seems to know which miniatures to choose and where to place the miniatures in the sand tray. The sand tray picture reflects the client's inner world. Together, we will understand the source of inner conflicts that contribute to anxiety. Together, through the therapeutic relationship, a mending action takes place.
I am a licensed clinical therapist (Pennsylvania CW 016251), a registered Sandplay Practitioner with Sandplay Therapists of America (STA), and an affiliate of the International Society for Sandplay Therapy (ISST).
I am a graduate of the Sandplay Institute, Dallas, Texas. I am a member of the Pennsylvania Society of Clinical Social Work (PSCSW) and a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).
I have a Certification of Completion with the Dougy Center, The National Grief Center for Children and Families, January 27, 2023