Chiaia, Maria Ellen

Journal of Sandplay Therapy, Volume 7, Number 1, 1998

KEY WORDS: transindividual field, relational field, in-between, participation mystique, projective identification, field, therapist, participant, sandplay therapy, psyche, container, transformation.

ABSTRACT: This article is a reflection in response to Linda Cunningham’s article, “The therapist’s use of self: participation mystique and projective identification” in the Journal of Sandplay Therapy, Volume VI, Number 2. The author submits that projective identification and the participation mystique are not the same. She describes projective identification to be “the psyche of the therapist which transforms the material by reworking it with the client.” The author states that she has been “negatively and intensely affected by the participation mystique/projective identifications in the sandplay, because they are held symbolically in the sandplay, which means in me” (p.10). She describes participation mystique to be the “mystical participation” of one “with the whole being on another and all else in the experience”(p.11). She presents the term, “trans-individual field”, as neither located in individual or in the collective, but an “emergent functioning of unconscious and interactions between the individuals”.