THE POWER OF SANDPLAY
Journal of Sandplay Therapy, Volume 8, Number 2, 1999
KEY WORDS: Sandplay therapy, ego, unconscious, consciousness, symbolic, attitude, symbol, personification, active imagination, mirroring, Self, projection, play
ABSTRACT: This article outlines some of the dynamics by which sandplay taps into the individual’s own sources of healing and transformation. Because sandplay is a concrete process – an actual experience – it bypasses the defenses put forth by the rational mind and allows for more direct contact with the unconscious. By the use of the symbolic object, sandplay also promotes the development of a symbolic attitude toward oneself and toward life, and a person may begin to look for the meaning behind certain behaviors, emotions and physical symptoms. As opposed to dream work or traditional art therapy, sandplay offers a more defined way by which the archetypes can present themselves to the conscious mind. The unconscious psyche takes on a reality that the rational mind is forced to accept. The contents of the unconscious are “put out there” as objects in the sandtray – and in this way we can begin to relate to them and eventually assimilate them into consciousness. The ego will feel defeated by its confrontation with the powerful forces of the unconscious. But it will also benefit from a new awareness that it rests on a ground of being within: what Jung called the Self.