Q. Why does the word sandplay have “play” in it? Is it only for kids?
A. Sandplay therapy is effective with adults as well as children. It’s not unusual for some sandplay therapists to work only with adults. Sandplay is the term originally coined by Dora Kalff, the founder, from the German word “sandspiel.” Children and adults work in the sand to create places and worlds, which express their inner conflicts and tensions, and find perspective on their issues.
Q. Where can I learn more about Sandplay Therapists of America (STA) and find a therapist?
A. You’ve come to the right place. After reading this page, consult the menu toolbar at the top of the homepage. There you’ll find information about Sandplay training and membership.
Q. Are there any mental health professionals who practice sandplay in my area of the country?
A. Absolutely. Please refer to the Regional Training under the link for Education and Training to find consultation groups and training opportunities in your area. Also, you can find individual Certified Sandplay Therapist Teachers (CST-T) locally by clicking on the Find a Therapist at the top of the homepage and search for specifics under category.
Q. How can I become a Sandplay Therapist?
A. Great question. You will find guidelines under the Membership link on this website to help you through this process. There are three categories of membership in Sandplay: Sandplay Practitioner (SP), Certified Sandplay Therapist (CST) and Certified Sandplay Therapist Teachers (CST-T).
Q. What is the purpose of the miniature figures in sandplay?
A. Figures and objects from culture and nature symbolize events and situations in our inner and outer lives. We select and place objects and move the sand itself to create scenes that express our deepest concerns.
Q. How big are sand trays and why do therapists have two?
A. The tray size European standard is: 49.5 x 72 x 7.5 cm; the American standard is: 19.5 x 28.5 x 3 inches. There are two trays, one contains dry sand and the other is moist. The dry and wet sand mediums allow different expressions.
Q. Why are the trays blue on the inside?
A. Blue on the sides can represent sky and blue on the bottom can represent water—lake, river or sea.
Q. Why is sandplay termed a “non-verbal” therapy? Is it a directive or non-directive therapy treatment?
A. The psyche expresses itself in images and symbols more than words, so sandplay uses objects and figures to reflect psychic content. Verbal therapy generally precedes the sandplay. Sandplay is a more non-directive treatment modality, in that the child or adult decides the nature and expression of the therapeutic process in the sand. The sandplay therapist is an active witness and guide in that process, following the client’s inner journey through symbolic play.
Q. Can any client use sandplay?
A. In the free and protected space, most children and adults enjoy and benefit from sandplay, but some are not quite ready. Other forms of therapy or play therapy methods may be recommended before moving to the sand.