Introduction to Sandplay Therapy
Sandplay is a therapy for children and adults. As the name suggests, you create a world or a story in the sand in the tray. You choose a tray with moist or dry sand. The floor and sides of the tray are bright blue. You can open up the sand and then the blue floor is your pond, pool, canal, river or sea. On shelves next to you, are a variety of figurines and items and you choose from these to build your world in the sand. The figurines and items include trees, plants, stones, wild and domesticated animals, birds, ordinary women, men and children pursuing different activities, heroic and fairytale figures, houses, fountains, wells, bridges, ships, vehicles, symbols, etc.
Using these figures and items, you create a story or picture that corresponds to your inner state, i.e. you make your inner picture visible. In this way, your unconscious processes become clear in a three-dimensional form, and a link is established between the internal and the external, between the unconscious and the conscious. This link facilitates the bringing up of conflicts, via the figures or symbols in the sand tray, from the unconscious into the conscious, and the result is a healthy re-ordering of psychological issues. According to the theory that underpins sandplay, the psyche of the human being has a natural inclination to heal itself and grow towards fullness.
The creating of a world in the tray is generally done in silence, and there is no judgement or uninvited comment from the therapist. The therapist provides a free and protected space in which you are fully accepted. The therapist understands that you are engaging deep issues and tensions, and knows that this kind of non-verbal play resolves deep-seated fears and trauma, and helps you discover new ways of being in the world.
If children want to tell the story of their world once it is done or while they are creating it, they are welcome to do so. This is their choice. Usually, the images in the sand trays are not discussed at the time of creating the world. Carl Jung, in his study of psychological growth and development of people, determined that the IMAGE is at the root of psychic change. According to him, it is the image itself, or in our case, the images in the sand tray, that initiate human change and healing.
As the trays are photographed after each session, you can review and discuss your series of trays once you have concluded your therapy with your therapist. This usually happens a year or two after conclusion, or even much later.
“In sandplay, it immediately becomes clear that the human being can come closer to wholeness.” (Dora Kalff)
Contact Greer Salt Psychological Counselling today and learn more!