Brock, Mary Ann

Journal of Sandplay Therapy, Volume 19, Number 1, 2010

KEY WORDS: fairy, girl, latency, adaptation, dependence, Self, ego, ego skills, imagination, reality, fantasy, religion, wholeness, sandplay, clinical example, child, symbol, Sandplay therapy, aliveness states, natural world.

ABSTRACT: This paper examines the history of fairy beliefs and suggests that the fairy can serve as a valuable symbol for girls reluctant to meet the challenges of latency. Observers note that, in health, girls at latency tend to be confident, exuberant, and proud of their achievements. Other girls, girls more likely to be seen in treatment, have a very different presentation. They seem nostalgic for the passivity and dependence that was the norm in early childhood. They may enjoy fantasy play and have a good imagination, but they do not want to work at academics, or to have to state their opinions or assert themselves. They are sad and angry that the world is not a form of paradise that excludes effort and conflict. A clinical example shows how one girl used the figure of the fairy in her sandplay process to help her bridge the two worlds of latency and childhood. With the help of the fairy, a creature who thrives in both the human world and a magical one, she learned to adapt to reality and develop ego skills, without losing touch with imagination and wholeness.