Akimoto, Michiko

Journal of Sandplay Therapy, Volume 5, Number 1, 1995

KEY WORDS: geriatric, post-stroke, Parkinson’s, dementia, Alzheimer, clinical example, sandplay therapy, relationship.

ABSTRACT: Two cases of brain-damaged elderly treated with sandplay therapy were presented and this therapy seemed to help restore their broken self images. The first case is a seventy-four-year old woman with left-side paralysis and dementia caused by a cerebral hemorrhage. She was slightly confused and depressed when she began sandplay and expressed this as a flood. But, she worked for restoration and finally made a scene which reminded her of a family trip. Her last tray showed Momotaro (the Peach Boy) being born–a scene of celebration. The second case is an eighty-two-year-old man suffering from cerebral infarction. Although the therapist at first was unable to establish rapport with this patient, he started to “plant flower” in the sandtray and conversation gradually increased. In the last tray before his discharge, he poured water excessively into the box as if he were shedding tears. Sandplay, although rarely applied to the brain-damage elderly population, may be a promising therapeutic means of communication and reestablishing lost sense of self-worth.