CHAOS THEORY AND ITS APPLICATION TO THE SANDPLAY PROCESS
Journal of Sandplay Therapy, Volume 11, Number 2, 2002
KEY WORDS: sandplay therapy, child, molestation, clinical example, flash-back, chaos theory, fractal, strange attractors, bifurcation, complex order.
ABSTRACT: This paper explains the basic tenets of chaos theory, which describes the functioning of nonlinear dynamic systems in nature. A sandplay case has been used to illustrate how chaos theory can be a template for the sandplay process. Dynamic systems are never exactly predictable; neither is the sandplay process. As sandplay therapists, we must hold the tension of both trying to interpret the trays of our clients while at the same time knowing that we may be holding only a part of a system. The chaotic systems at work in the psyche, which manifest in our sand worlds, must yield primarily to experience rather than understanding. This paper calls upon our need to sit with chaos and trust that in its unfolding a more complex order will emerge.