The Many Dimensions of a Child Case: From Birth Trauma and Mutism to Affect Regulation Within a Self
Presented by Tessamarie Capitolo, CST-T, LMFT, 1.5 CEUs
In the presentation of a child case, a two-phase sandplay therapy which began in kindergarten and continued during the second grade year, Tessamarie Capitolo as therapist will tell the story of the many matrices arising in treatment. Symptoms of selective mutism and fragmentation emerging from separation anxiety were present during the first phase of therapy begun in kindergarten. The modalities of treatment adopted by Tessamarie Capitolo included sandplay therapy, interpretations, painting, and floor play. The transference/countertransference directly encompassed not only the therapist but also her co-therapist, Cassie, her dog. Through the replay of the trauma in the second phase of therapy, the child develops the capacity to regulate physiologically, as well as emotionally. Therapy ends with this development, and the child goes off to overnight camp with his sister.
With her presentation, Tessamarie Capitolo attempts to emphasize not only the interpretive and sandplay aspects of therapy but also other matrices arising in any given case with a child, adolescent, or adult, by zeroing in on this one in particular to illustrate the multiplicities involved in treatment. Her hope is that this child case can be of value to all of us as therapists in the treatment of whatever populations we may specialize in.
Tessamarie Capitolo, CST-T, LMFT, is an analytic psychotherapist and a Teaching Member of Sandplay Therapists of America. She originally trained in Switzerland with Dora Kalff, who developed the sandplay method. Together with her husband David, Tessamarie Capitolo co-founded the Child Therapy Institute of Marin, a non-profit training agency located in San Rafael, serving a diverse population. She has taught sandplay nationally and internationally, and she has published several articles in the Journal of Sandplay Therapy. Tessamarie Capitolo's main interests include the dark feminine, the transference, and relational supervision. Her most prominent articles include The Dark Goddess: An Encounter with the Dark Feminine, Chaos Theory and Sandplay, Black and White: Retrieving our Shadow, and The Intra/Interpersonal Racial Unconscious. She has a private practice both in San Francisco and San Rafael, where she sees children, adolescents, and adults.
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