When Words were Wanted, But Woefully Wanting, We Waged War With Chess(.)

When Words were Wanted, But Woefully Wanting, We Waged War With Chess(.) Am J Psychoanal. 2016 Sep 19; Authors: Seitler BN Abstract What do you say to a child who rarely speaks? How do you work with such a youngster? What are the sine qua nons or guiding principles upon which analysts can draw? And, how do we know if we are being helpful? Sam was 9-years when I began treating him. He was extremely withdrawn and rarely spoke more than a few words. Instead, he mainly played chess. I did not know at first whether Sam's taciturn demeanor was due to shyness, limited verbal abilities, or the stultifying effects of trauma. Fortuitously, during one of many seemingly "innocent" games of chess, Sam happened to make a bold move, to which I admiringly remarked, "What a move, you're killing me." His surprising reaction permanently altered the trajectory of treatment. Curiously, upon returning from summer vacation, not only did Sam no longer need to play chess, but he also found his voice. It was then that he began to discuss things for the first time. Initially, what he said was cloaked in symbolic and indirect referents, suggesting that there were things about which he still could not speak. I proceeded with patience and eventually Sam was able to disclose what he had been harboring inside. In this article, I will discuss the role and psychoanalytic meaning of chess in Sam's play therapy and how it served as a means of symbolically expressing an ...
Source: American Journal of Psychoanalysis - Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Tags: Am J Psychoanal Source Type: research

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