HOLDING ONTO THE MOTHERSHIP: ORPHAN PERSEVERANCE IN THE QUEST FOR LIFE
Journal of Sandplay Therapy, Volume 12, Number 2, 2003
KEY WORDS: adoption, mother, sandplay therapy, clinical example, child, orphan, primary relatedness, container, contained, unconscious projection, developmental.
ABSTRACT: This piece shows how a little boy, born under adverse prenatal and post-birth conditions, used therapy to resolve psychosomatic annihilation anxieties. His reworking of autistic-contiguous issues in the sand, permitted him to move beyond his original developmental delay—in the autistic spectrum—to progress psychologically and cognitively to the development of symbols, to differentiate reality from “pretend,” and to develop an aperture into the feeling states of others. The co-transference and sandplay process temenos permitted the boy to access body memories and make them manifest, so that the therapist could bear witness to his earliest trauma and contain his prenatal and attachment-deprived suffering, which predated his adoption into a loving family.