FLOODING AND GRIEVING: A BOY’S JOURNEY TOWARD HEALING
Marion Anderson, Malibu, California
Journal of Sandplay Therapy, Volume 20 Number 2, 2011
KEY WORDS: sandplay therapy, grief, flooding, transference, Jung, alchemy, solutio, child, clinical example, male, flooded trays, boy, loss, father, repetitiveness, stuckness .
ABSTRACT: This article reflects upon the psychological meaning of flooding in sandplay scenes. The symbolic connection between the alchemical solutio and flooding in trays is explored from a Jungian perspective. The author presents a clinical example of a four-year-old boy who worked on the elaboration of the loss of his father. The boy expressed his grief through a series of trays flooded by “sewage” that he felt compelled to clean. In the sandplay scenes a theme of dirt was followed by a theme of being stuck which was represented by cars that were “stuck in the mud.” There was a marked repetitiveness to his themes and his attitude or work was especially persistent. By the end of the therapy process he had built a new psychic foundation also symbolically represented in the trays and sessions. The article also examines the perspective of the therapist in accompanying a process of repetitive flooding and stuckness.