Upon entering my practice, you will be greeted by shelves of miniatures as well as two blue trays of sand. These belong to the Sandplay Therapy method of Dora Kalff and C. G. Jung which I use with both children and adults.
In a Sandplay session, I invite you to play with the sand and miniatures and build whatever comes to mind and hands. I experience this process with you and we may speak afterwards about what you would like to share.
The main principle of Sandplay Therapy is the “free and protected space” in the tray and in the therapeutic relationship. Just as the body is innately equipped to mend physical wounds given appropriate conditions, the psyche too carries inherent healing capacities. Sandplay Therapy supports the conditions for our inborn resilience with opportunities for:
Expression: As an external expression of our inner world, the sand, tray and miniatures offer an avenue of communication and understanding beyond the verbal.
Creation: The act of molding sand and building with miniatures is creating with our hands. This experience of embodiment in self-led activity is an invitation, primarily to enjoyment, perhaps further as a counterpoint to states of helplessness and dissociation common in trauma.
Symbolization: Sandtrays are like three-dimensional dreams. C. G. Jung’s dream analysis saw symbols as a link to the collective unconscious and its potential for transformation, healing and wisdom. When we symbolize, we bring this potential into our individual lives through dreams, words and works of the imagination including sandtrays.
Play: Fun is healing. Creating too. It often feels freeing to be in a space outside judgment, competition and achievement. And life thrives on enjoyment. When supported, free imagination bridges to known resources and new perspectives. In Jung’s words, “Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.“ Or to quote that other doctor, Dr. Seuss, “If you never did, you should. These things are fun and fun is good.”
I work with Sandplay from a Jungian view of therapy, as an aid to what he called individuation – becoming that which I really am. Transformation is less self-optimization into an external ideal than a return to an authentic and inherently whole self. In this light, psychosomatic symptoms are how we feel the pain of being separate from our own selves and the therapeutic process is how we come back to who we already are.
Play – how does your body feel when you are having fun?