Cunningham, Linda

Journal of Sandplay Therapy, Volume 13, Number 2, 2004

KEY WORDS: merger, rupture, transitional, sandplay therapy, clinical example, relational field, countertransference, therapist’s subjective experience, Original Oneness/Merger, Twoness/Rupture, Differentiated Oneness/Transitional Space, Numinous Field of the Transcendent Function.

ABSTRACT: Uncovering the symbolic meaning of relational fields that emerge between client and therapist can illuminate sandplay processes that may otherwise be difficult to understand. A new relational fields theory for sandplay is presented, and four archetypal fields of relational experiencing are identified and described: Original Oneness/Merger, Twoness/Rupture, Differentiated Oneness/Tran¬sitional Space and The Numinous Field of the Transcendent Function. The first two fields, never before described in the sandplay literature, explain and normalize disturbing countertransference experience, helping us put it to therapeutic use. The third field is sandplay’s well-known field of the meaningful use of the symbol, and the fourth field is one of numinous experience. Clinical examples illustrating each field and transitions between fields are presented.