Rev. Pamela's Blog
Rev. Pamela's Blog
Introduction to Sandplay Therapy
So you’re curious about Sandplay Therapy! Well, you have come to the right place. I have been in this therapy process for some time now in order to do my own therapeutic work, and have noticed an immense shift in my overall well-being each time I leave the therapist's office. It is the deeply transformative power that Sandplay provides that made me want to become a Sandplay Therapy Practitioner. My Pastoral Counseling practice offers SPIRIT-BASE COUNSELING to anyone of any spiritual or religious background. In my practice I focus on helping people to become who there were sent here to be. But, I always felt that talking could only get someone so far.
As I shift my focus to working more specifically with New Mothers, I felt that I needed something else to round-out my counseling work. Not only did I want to provide a space for New Mothers to grow and realize their MULTIHOOD, but I also wanted to provide counseling that would help them deal with the day-to-day demands of their new Archetypal role. Most therapy settings are based in talking--but I wanted to go BEYOND talking to provide well-rounded soul-assistance. Sometimes the last thing you want to do, after a long day of dealing with a baby and the demands of your family life--is talk! But think of being provided with the space to PLAY, to not have to verbally put into words your emotional state--but utilize your hands, your body, and symbolic figures to express how you feel.
The Sandplay Therapists of America website explains, “Sandplay is ‘hands on’ psychological work, and is an adjunct to talk therapy. It is a powerful therapeutic method that facilitates the psyche’s natural healing…the client creates a concrete manifestation from his or her imagination using sand, water, and miniature objects. In this way Sandplay helps honor and illuminate the client’s internal symbolic world, providing a place for its expression within a safe container.” (https://www.sandplay.org/about-sandplay/what-is-sandplay/)
As you can see from my example above, all of the work is done within the confines of a tray that has been painted blue on the inside (to invoke the feeling of water), filled with sand, to which actual water can also be added. Shelves of figurines and natural materials are provided in order to create a meaningful scene. The process unfolds as you simply choose items to which you are attracted--without the necessity of having a meaning behind them when you begin. As the process unfolds, you slowly understand what all of the figures represent symbolically, or perhaps you do not. But in the Unconscious, things are at work. Over the course of many trays an unraveling occurs where the symbolic begins to make sense in your Conscious mind.
It is definitely something that needs to be experienced to be understood! But now you have been given a taste of what it looks like. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments section below, and if you are interested in diving into the SAND with me, please use the contact form on the Pastoral Counseling page.
I look forward to hearing from you! * Many Blessings * -Rev. P
I never thought I would be a Mother. I always considered myself an ARTIST, or a WRITER, or a STUDENT—depending on my circumstances…but never a Mom. Then in July 2017, my Mother was airlifted to the hospital with severe fungal pneumonia. She almost died. As a result, my cycle got all wonky. At the end of that month, my husband and I were celebrating our 5 year anniversary…my normal rhythm method calculations were all off…one thing led to another…and I got pregnant.
Let me state here: I AM PRO-CHOICE! It’s not like I didn’t have options. But something deep down inside of me was telling me: THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN! My husband and I spent weeks discussing our options and decided to keep it.
I had gone through my darkest hours over the last couple of years--between battling a rare kidney issue two years before; dealing with my first husband and a prior lover dying tragically in the same month last year; and finally being face-to-face with my own Mother’s mortality this last summer! I had gone into the Underworld and stayed for a bit. Upon my arrival back on the surface, my world had changed—just like Persephone in the ancient myths.
But what did it all mean? Had it just been a series of random events? I don’t think so! To give you a little background: I had had a tumultuous upbringing, had been the victim of rape, and had so many hours in therapy I couldn’t keep count. After much study and spiritual exploration I had also written two books—one on pagan rituals across cultures and one on transforming your life through alchemy. Then I started my PhD in Depth Psychology after going through three horrifying kidney surgeries to save my life. I had worked and worked to refine myself, and finally dedicated my life to helping others do the same. So, when I ended up pregnant at the end of a long trek through the darkness—I knew that it had a purpose.
THAT PURPOSE WAS: MULTIHOOD! What is MULTIHOOD you ask? It is EMBRACING the MULTIPLE ARCHETYPES you house within you. Why is this so important? Well, that is a bit more complicated. When a woman becomes a MOTHER, she has been conditioned to believe that that is all she is. And that simply isn’t true. I have been in the midst of many a new Mom who are in the throes of a complete mental breakdown because they’ve lost who they are. When I found out I was pregnant that overpowering archetypal force of the GREAT MOTHER swooped in and attempted to convert me too! But through my psychological training I saw that there needs to be more to each of us than just MOTHERHOOD. First of all, it isn’t healthy for the woman, and second, it isn’t healthy for the child. How many people have you heard of who have Mother-complexes from dealing with overbearing Moms? Psychological literature is just teeming with the concept of the Devouring Mother and how she destroys a child’s sense of Self. Then there is the depression, burn-out, and more that comes with 100% dedicating yourself to just being ONE thing.
So, as I start to create a program to help women move from MOTHERHOOD to MULTIHOOD—I thought I’d share my journey with you. Being on the pregnancy side of being a Mom, I know that my perspective can be a bit skewed. I don’t have to get up every hour or so for feedings. I’m not changing diapers or keeping a little human alive. But, I AM in the process of setting up schedules to make sure that I have time for my Inner Warrior, Inner Witch, Inner Lover and Inner Artist to have time to do their thing! I do know that I’m talking to my husband about having time to do my art, write, and meditate. And I am setting up an inner attitude where I remain important in this process.
In the next post I will discuss my MAGICAL process in all of this (see the picture below). While doing pagan-type things will by no means be a requirement for working on your own MULTIHOOD, those things have shaped my world, and thus I think they are important to talk about.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and starting a conversation with you in the comments below! SO MANY BLESSINGS! –Rev. P
This blog is all about my process. I will explore my development of the MULTIHOOD program for New Moms, Sandplay Therapy, and other goodies.