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About Sandplay

How Sandplay Therapy Works

On this page you will find several articles that describe some of the components and applications of sandplay therapy.


Dora M. Kalff Introduction to Sandplay Therapy
Dora M. Kalff

Dora Kalff, Jungian therapist, developed sandplay therapy in Switzerland in the 1950s and '60s based on her studies at the C.G. Jung Institute, Zurich, in Tibetan Buddhism, and with Margaret Lowenfeld, in England.

Summary
The client is given the possibility, by means of figures and the arrangement of the sand in the area bounded by the sandbox, to set up a world corresponding to his or her inner state. In this manner, through free, creative play, unconscious processes are made visible in a three-dimensional form and a pictorial world comparable to the dream experience. Through a series of images that take shape in this way, the process of individuation described by C. G. Jung is stimulated and brought to fruition. (full text...)


What is Sandplay?
Kay Bradway

Kay Bradway, Ph.D., JA, is a founding member of Sandplay Therapists of America and the International Society for Sandplay Therapy. She is a psychologist and Jungian analyst in Sausalito, California.

As far back as twenty-five years ago I tried to define sandplay. In defining the differences between the terms “sandtray,” “sandplay” and “sand world” (Margaret Lowenfeld’s term) I wrote: “Sandtray refers to the vehicle, sandplay to the activity, and sand world to the product” (1981, p.134). Fifteen years later I concluded an article entitled, “Sandplay and Sandtray” with the sentence, “Perhaps the time has come to keep the term ‘sandtray’ as a generic term and reserve the term ‘sandplay’ for a specific method of therapy using sandtrays” (Bradway, 1996). And six years later I was to write: “The confusion between the use of the terms ‘sandplay’ and ‘sandtray’ continues despite the several attempts to clarify the differences between these terms” (Bradway, 2002, p.103). With the increasing recognition of the value of including the nonverbal imagery of sandplay in analytic therapy, Kalff’s therapy has been somewhat diluted or changed as used by some therapists. The question becomes: does the term sandplay have to be limited to what Kalff developed? Kalff first used the term “sandplay” when she noted that a series of trays showed a “process of individuation described by C.G. Jung,” guided by the “unconscious totality.” (full text…pdf)


What is Sandplay Therapy?
Lauren Cunningham

Lauren Cunningham, LCSW, is a founding member of Sandplay Therapists of America and the founding editor of the Journal of Sandplay Therapy.

Children have always delighted in playing in the sand, bringing their inner and outer worlds together through imagination. Different cultures have also used sand in imaginal rituals of visioning. The Dogon medicine men of Mali draw patterns in the sand and later read the paw prints left in the night by the desert fox to divine the future. Tibetan Buddhist monks spend weeks creating the Kalachakra sand mandala, which is used for contemplation and initiation into Tantric practices. Donald Sandner, in Navaho Symbols of Healing, wrote about the Navaho sand painting ceremonies in which images of world order are created to invoke the healing powers that bring the psyche of the people back into harmony with the universe. Upon the completion of all these rituals the sand is brushed away and dispersed.   (full text...)


Doing Nothing – One more approach to Sandplay Therapy
Linda Ellis Dean

Linda Ellis Dean, Ph.D., MFT is a Jungian Analyst who trained at the C. G. Jung Institute-Zurich. She is teaching member of Sandplay Therapists of America and the International Society for Sandplay Therapy.  Her practice is located in Eureka, California.

Dora Kalff, the originator of Sandplay Therapy, once told me she “did nothing” when she worked.  Then she said, “It is harder to do nothing than to do something.”  How can doing “nothing” during the hours of an analysis or therapy help?  What happens in the analytic container, the sacred space shared by the therapist and client, during a Sandplay process?  (full text...)


Sandplay with Children
Kay Bradway

Kay Bradway, Ph.D., JA, is a founding member of Sandplay Therapists of America and the International Society for Sandplay Therapy. She is a psychologist and Jungian analyst in Sausalito, California.

Sandplay has an accelerating history. It goes back to an early decade of this century when H.G. Wells wrote about his observing his two sons playing on the floor with miniature figures and his realizing that they were working out their problems with each other and with other members of the family. Twenty years later Margaret Lowenfeld, child psychiatrist in London, was looking for a method to help children express the "inexpressible." She recalled reading about Wells' experience with his two sons and so she added miniatures to the shelves of the play room of her clinic. The first child to see them took them to the sandbox in the room and started to play with them in the sand. And thus it was a child who "invented" what Lowenfeld came to identify as the World Technique (Lowenfeld, 1979).  (full text...)


 

   

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