KNOWING AND NOT KNOWING: SANDPLAY AS ZEN KOAN
Journal of Sandplay Therapy, Volume 14, Number 1, 2005
KEY WORDS: sandplay therapy, clinical example, domestic violence, sexual abuse, Zen, Koan, witnessing, knowing, not knowing, children, child, competitiveness.
ABSTRACT: The author compares the experience of witnessing sandplay process with that of a Zen student working with a koan, or teaching story. The author selects a koan which contrasts “knowing” with “not knowing” in relation to awakening, or enlightenment. This “knowing” and “not knowing” is analogous to the sandplay therapist’s need to remain open to possibility while knowing as much as possible about image and symbol. The author then uses first trays of three patients to exemplify the idea of holding the work in the sand in a place of “not knowing.”