Donald, Beatrice

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

KEY WORDS: transformation and change, philosophy, Buddhism, symbols of change in case material, symbol, clinical example, sandplay, regression, repair, integration, containment, Sandplay therapy, the sensory and invisible, natural world, natural order, natural materials, clinical example, regression, repair, integration.

ABSTRACT: This article begins to explore ideas from western and eastern philosophy that invite us into new territory and new perspectives on the experience of sandplay, and in particular, processes of transformation and change. The philosophical ideas introduced build on Dora Kalff’s hypothesis that it is the sandplayer’s experiencing in the play that is the agent of change. What is the nature of experience? How does the action of play and a connection with nature deepen this experience? Thinking philosophically about these questions may contribute to preserving the Kalffian essence of sandplay, which reaches beyond the apparent and toward investigation of the sensory and invisible. Implicit in Kalff’s philosophy was the Buddhist view of the natural world and the natural order and is an essential component of the discussion. A sandplay case illustrates how play with experience that is given form through figures and natural materials sets off a regression, repair and integration process available to the sandplayer who is contained in the free and protected space.