von Gontard, Alexander
SANDPLAY THERAPY STUDY: A PROSPECTIVE OUTCOME STUDY OF SANDPLAY THERAPY WITH CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
Journal of Sandplay Therapy, Volume 19, Number 2, 2010
KEY WORDS: CBCL, children and adolescents, internalizing disorders, Jungian child therapy, outcome study, sandplay therapy, Jungian psychotherapy, instruments, ICD-10 diagnoses, Child Behavior Checklist. standardized sandtray assessment forms, comorbidity rate of disorders.
ABSTRACT: Sandplay therapy is a versatile Jungian psychotherapy suitable for all ages. As the effectiveness has not been analyzed systematically so far, a prospective, open, manualized study over one year with three assessment points (0, 6 and 12 months) was conducted. The instruments included ICD-10 diagnoses, the CBCL (Child Behavior Checklist) and standardized sandtray assessment forms. It was hypothesized that internalizing symptoms would show the greatest reduction. Exploratory and descriptive analyses were also conducted. Fifty six, predominantly middle-class children and adolescents aged 5 to 18 years (median age 10 years) were enrolled. Internalizing ICD-10 disorders predominated, with a high comorbidity rate of multiple disorders. Over the year of therapy, the sandtrays became more centered; the atmosphere was more balanced and less threatening. There was less talking and more silence during the sessions. In the CBCL, a highly significant reduction of total and internalizing behavior occurred, with a significant decrease also of the externalizing symptom scores. Exploratory analyses showed that major changes took place in the first half of the year. In conclusion, sandplay therapy proved to be a highly effective Jungian approach for children and adolescents with internalizing disorders. A randomized-controlled study is planned.