Saturday, November 9, 2013

Sandplay Therapy

Years and years ago, when I was about 10 years old, my parents brought me with them to their marriage therapy/counseling session due to lack of childcare. The therapist was a wonderful Christian counselor who made great strides in helping my parents learn to communicate with each other. My parents went from heated arguements (never in my prensence) that made me mentaly replay the audio at high speeds and loud volume, to calm discussions and occasional exasperated remarks that gave me no mental hiccups. 

As I wasn't to be listening to what was discussed in the therapy session the counselor took me to a private room filled with shelves of curious objects and in the very center of the room a table filled with sand. I was told I could make whatever design I wanted on the table with whatever objects were in the room. I was delighted. There was so much there. There were figurines, buildings, sticks, feathers, leaves, rocks, glass beads, and so much more. I set about imediately in creating something interesting. 

First, I placed a castle in the center of the table. Carefully, I smoothed out any sections where the bottom of the table showed so it was all sand. Then I placed objects somewhat randomly but equally spaced about the castle. The only thing I didn't want was for anything to touch anything else and that the table had to be balanced. If there were blue gems on one side of the castle, there had to be blue gems on the other side of the castle. Always in at least a four sided pattern but upwards of twelve points. The biggest thing was that I had no figurines on the table. Only inanimate objects. 

When my parents were finished, my dad came to get me with the therapist. I remember he made some sort of remark in that everything was very evenly spaced. It agitated me because the point was that nothing was touching. The therapist shushed him saying he wasn't supposed to say anything about what the table was. 

Years later my mother mentioned that the therapist had taken photos of my sand table. I hadn't realized that the table was to display the inner self and it was a diagnostic tool for the therapist. I have since always wondered what she thought of my table and what I did. Now that I'm positive I am autistic I really wonder what that table said about my 10 year old self. 

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