Sandplay therapy is a creative psychotherapeutic approach which can be used with children, young people and adults. It was developed by Dora Kalff, a Jungian Analyst in Switzerland in the late 1930’s and is based on Jungian psychology which believes that we have within us the resources to bring about wholeness, thus enabling us to find peace within ourselves and relate better to the outside world.
Sandplay therapy is a non-verbal way of communicating and expressing inner feelings, conflicts, fears and problems, by accessing the unconscious and working at a deep level of the psyche. It is three dimensional and concrete, characterised by the use of sand, water and miniatures in the creation of images within a “free and protected space” of the therapeutic relationship and the sand tray. In the presence of a trained professional, the client can make whatever they feel like creating in the sand tray which is generally done in silence, with no judgement made by the therapist.
The trained therapist makes the inner exploration for the client safe by anchoring the work into reality, whilst being respectful of the client’s process. For adults and children, sandplay bypasses thinking about issues and directly accesses the conflicts. In addition sandplay is a form of play natural to children.
Sandplay works gently, in a simple, yet profound way to bring about emotional healing and change. A series of sandplay images portrayed in the sand tray creates an on-going dialogue between the conscious and the unconscious aspects of the client’s psyche, which activates a healing process and the development of the personality.
In the creation of three dimensional pictures in the sand there is a total involvement of body, mind and soul. The bringing of psyche and soma together in the act of creation can have a powerful healing effect. Sandplay therapy often reaches a deeper level which often cannot be experienced in verbal therapy alone.
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