The therapist at the Jewish Family Services who accepted me on a sliding-scale always wore her hair up in a bun. In my ignorance I always wondered about the nature of her attire, but never had the guts to ask her about it. Strands of dark hair hung down from it onto her neck. I never felt more like a redneck carpenter than when I was explaining my depression to her, how it almost always occurred at the end of the day coming home it the truck. People were disappearing in large numbers in Bosnia. Between us on a table she had a miniature waterfall, water tumbling over rocks under a stone bridge, past a small hut. After a couple of weeks it stopped working and I tried to no avail to fix it.
On a bookshelf she had a sandbox and surrounding it were figurines-- dragons and knights, children and monsters. Some other types of people, heroes maybe. I can't remember. I inquired about it, what was it for?
"Some of my clients use it to act out scenarios or fantasies they don't necessarily want to talk about." she said.
"Is that like a Jungian thing?" I asked. She replied yes, that it was.
It took years for me to realize the sandbox and it's players were made for children. A way to help those with no formed language, perhaps help them to communicate things there may never be no words for.
I must have stared at it frequently as one night my therapist paused and said, very slowly, to me,
"Clay, would you like for me to get down the sandbox for you?"
I thought about it for a long time but again, I didn't have the guts.