Sand Table

I played with the sand table with art t yesterday for the first time. I’m not sure “playing” is the right term. I didn’t know what to do, so I just kind of grabbed stuff off of the shelves and put them in the sand. I was feeling emotional before I even started due to some things that happened during the day, and I tried to pretend that I was having fun.

Art T says she will take a picture of it, and I also took pictures with my phone. She wouldn’t let me take it apart and put the stuff away, she says I am supposed to leave with it all still in the tray.

sand table

sand table

sand table

You can click on these pictures to make them bigger.

Over there in the back left is my house, with my husband (the golfer), my daughter and her horse, and my son and my dog. The lady in the green shirt is my mother saying “Woe is me, my daughter is getting divorced, what will my friends think?” And my car with me driving away.

Then on the right is me, the wicked witch, in my new house, which is just an empty shell, with a bare tree. There is my conscience, the guy in the robe pointing his finger accusingly at me, and the cowardly lion, who I can relate to because I wish I had some courage. A little farther away is a tombstone, since I don’t think I’ll live very long.

In the other corner are palm trees, and a boat in the water, because I have a fantasy of running away to the beach forever.

Art T asked me if I wasn’t represented by a witch, who would I be. I tried to find an ugly lady in among the figurines, and I did find one, but she was crazy looking and art t said I should try again. Then I saw Alice in Wonderland and I picked her because I think she is a mindless silly girl who just chases rabbits and falls down holes and eats and drinks things without knowing what they will do to her.

Of course art t had different interpretations of all of this. To her the empty house was an archway to a new life. And she said I should think of the good parts of my beach fantasy and try to recreate them here in my current life. And she says she has a different opinion of Alice, that she is the only sane person in a crazy world and she is just trying to make sense of everything that is happening around her.

I’m not really sure of the purpose of this exercise, art t says it is very Jungian and as we do more with the sand table more of my subconscious will come out. Not sure if that is a good idea or not.

Another weird thing – at the end of the session she asked if anything was new with J (my old therapist) and for a second I didn’t know who she was talking about. I still miss him, but not as much and I don’t think about him as much. I did email him about 5 weeks ago and tried to tell him all of the positive things that were going on in my life. He responded by saying that I am amazing and I deserve all of these things. So now I don’t want to let him down by telling him what is really going on – that I am leaving my husband. I found another place to live and I will move in there on May 1st. I don’t know if he would be surprised. Art t knew everything that was going on with my marriage, and she was still surprised when I told her that I found a new place to live and gave a deposit.

I’ve been reading everyone’s blogs, but I haven’t been commenting – I apologize for that. I know some of you are having a hard time, and my thoughts have been with you. Not that it helps much. Maybe now that spring is here in the northern hemisphere things will look better.

7 thoughts on “Sand Table

  1. I think it’s amazing that you’re moving into your own place! Good for you. It gives me hope that change is possible. I know divorce is horribly painful – mine was anyway. Mine was really the best thing for me though, and it took me years of waffling to actually do it.

    The sandplay is interesting, thanks for describing it. I don’t know anyone else who has ever done it. I thought your description of the characters was humorous. I want to do sandplay also! Did you feel at all emotional while doing it? take care now

  2. Ellen – It is scaring the shit out of me to move into my own place, actually it isn’t my own place, it is a bedroom in a friend’s house. I’ve been with my husband for half of my life. Like you, I’ve been waffling, but now that the kids are older, and with the mess my husband made of our finances, I think it is time to go.

    I don’t know anyone else who has ever done sand play either, if you can find someone who does it I think you should try. I felt extremely emotional while doing it, but I kept it all in. I made some jokes because at any moment I felt like I was going to burst into huge sobs. That might have been a good thing to do, but I don’t think I am ready for that level of vulnerability in therapy.

  3. Hope you love living in the new place.

    Lots of stuff in those sand trays. Does art t get trapped into arguing you about interpretation?

    Hope you have some good support while going through this transition.

    Sounds like your mother is quite a jewish mother (whether she is jewish or not).

  4. Evan – thanks. I’m not sure I’ll love it, but it is what I have to do to become independent. I don’t feel as though art t is arguing with me, does it seem that way? I think she just gives her viewpoint. However, when she is doing that I think in my head, “So what?” What good does her viewpoint do me? That is why I am not sure how this works.

    My mother is quite the jewish mother, and she is jewish.

  5. Hi Harriet, the presumption I think is that your interpretations are part of ‘what got you here’ – to the situation you are experiencing as unsatisfactory (usually why people go to therapy). So offering other interpretations is meant to open up the possibility of other ways of doing things for you. My guess is that this is the good she hopes her interpretation will do for you.

    Does that make sense?

  6. Evan – it makes sense in certain contexts. But say I put an empty house on a sand table because to me it represents emptiness, loneliness, a shell of a former life, and she says she has a different interpretation of it – it is a doorway to a different life. That’s all well and good, but I chose it because of what it represents to me. Sure, I could see it as a doorway, but I don’t find that helpful because I don’t see it as a doorway. Does that make sense?

  7. Yes, it makes perfect sense.

    If I was in her place I’d have probably asked you things like: What does it feel like to live there?

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