Integrating Sandplay for Clients with Trauma and Co-Occurring Disorders
Based off of the ACEs and other studies we know that there is a direct relationship between trauma and co-occurring disorders yet most clinical interventions are still cognitively based. Addiction and Mental Health rates are on the rise and we need to incorporate non-verbal/somatic components into our practice. There is a need for applicable interventions to address dissociation symptoms that often accompany trauma and become activated if the client is not able to properly regulate their nervous system during treatment. Creating safe therapeutic environments that encourage regulation and reprocessing is vital for clinicians working with clients who struggle with co-occurring disorders and Sandplay is a great therapeutic intervention when working with adults who struggle with trauma and co-occurring disorders. Integrating sandplay therapy with client’s who struggle with substance use and/or co-occurring disorders allows the clients to begin to process their trauma through a bottom up approach. The sandplay process helps regulate the nervous system by calming the fight flight response, this allows the client to feel safe and tell their story through symbols. The sandplay process incorporates all areas of the brain by combining non-verbal, verbal and somatic experiencing.
- Explanation of ACEs, Big T Trauma, and little t trauma as they relate to substance use and co-occurring disorders.
- Understanding the difference between sandplay and sandtray.
- Bottom up processing vs. top down processing.
- The importance of providing safety, grounding & non-verbal therapeutic strategies for clients with substance use disorder and/or co-occurring disorders.
Dr. Mathis is the creator of The Mathis Model™ and In-Lightened L.I.F.E. (Live. Intentional. Free. Empowered.)™ an integrated therapeutic program designed to identify and re-wire the habitual patterned scripts that keep us stuck in self-limiting thoughts and repeating self-sabotaging behaviors. Dr. Mathis is a master addictions counselor w/co-occurring disorders, nationally certified counselor, licensed professional clinical counselor and approved clinical supervisor. She is independently licensed in Arizona, California and Hawaii, a certified EMDR therapist, EMDRIA approved EMDR consultant, EMDR & Sandtray specialist, holds advanced certification in Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), and is a certified Brainspotting therapist. Her clinical experience and expertise includes a multitude of areas including forensic psychology, psychological evaluation, consultation/testimony, training/development and specialization in treating addictions, trauma and co-occurring disorders. In addition to her work through private practice, she has held multiple executive level clinical positions including Vice President of Clinical Services, Director of Trauma Services, Clinical Director & Executive Director. Dr. Mathis offers clinical consultation, supervision, trainings and workshops.