Oct.5, 2016     Fighting with the Dead and Resurrecting Desire: First Phase of Treatment

       Seja Rachael, MA, LPC-S     

   Private practice, Austin, TX    1.5 CE/CME/CEU/PDs (Clinical)

“I open my door and he is moving towards me. He is small, yet tough; his stomach thrust forward, his beard long, thick and grey. His walk an unusual rhythm for a man of this age, it’s a rolling gait with an almost imperceptible upward skip, reminiscent of an adolescent boy’s expectant swagger”. As Jeb enters Seja Rachael’s office his very walk indicates a contradicting impulse. The only sibling to survive a tyrannical psychically castrating father, he has never secured his own individuation. Jeb is immersed in a fusion of rage and melancholy as he mourns the painful and premature death of his wife.  What quickly emerges is that he is simultaneously in mourning for his own half lived life. This narrative begins in the first phase of treatment and is excerpted from Seja Rachael’s book in progress, Brokenness And Inspiration, The Elusive Engagement of Memory and Desire. This presentation will also include a sand tray process which offers a symbolic explication of Jeb’s inner contents as well as his prescient explication of his foreshortened future.

Seja Rachael, MA, LPC-S, began at three as a storyteller working her imagination into everyday life, solving problems and making meaning through these narratives.  The healing properties of this process of reconstitution of self and meaning were shaped by the simultaneous reality of having an interested and invested listener. This intersection between the narrator and the one who receives the story, continues to fascinate her. The patient’s story soon becomes a conversation seeded with potential, whether spoken  or imagined, formed in images or gestures; in time between therapist and patient  something  new emerges.  Seja is now coming onto three decades of working in this field and is appreciative of having had uncountable  unique experiences with patients. These ongoing encounters have required that she stay engaged and enlivened,  and  accompany them in our struggle to  be present in the vulnerable reality of being human.

Learning Objectives:  At the end of the presentation, participants will be able to:

·   Identify two ways to recognize the creative impulse as a reparative function

·   Understand how sandplay therapy techniques encourage the transformation of pre-symbolized contents to become symbolized contents


1.     Kalshed, D. (2013). A Psycho-Spiritual Approach To Human Development and it’s Interruption . London, Routledge.

2.     Ogden, T (2001). Conversations At The Frontier of Dreaming. London, Aronson.

3.     Johnson,R (1991). Owning Your Own Shadow. San Francisco, Harper.

4.     Greenspan and Shanker  (2004). The First Idea: How Symbols, Language, and Intelligence Evolved from Our Primate Ancestors to Modern Humans. Cambridge Da Capo Press.

5.       Tustin, F (1981). Autistic States in Children.  London, Routledge.  

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