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Sandplay Therapy

Sandplay is a method of psychotherapy and personal development. As the name implies play is a prominent feature of the sandplay method. The permission to play is built into sandplay therapy. Not just play for children, but also for adults.

What is Sandplay Therapy?

Sandplay therapy is a recognised therapeutic modality for children and adults, based on the psychology of C.G. Jung and developed by the Swiss psychotherapist Dora Kalff. It is particularly useful for identifying and reconciling internal conflicts that manifests as anxiety and depression. It is a client-centred therapy and allows the psyche to develop into a natural and fundamental state of wholeness.

How Does Sandplay Therapy Work?

Sandplay therapy establishes a "safe and protected space", where the complexities of the inner world are explored and integrated into the psyche for emotional healing. This creates a visual representation of the psyche's contents and reveals unconscious concerns that are inaccessible any other way. As materials contained in the unconscious emerges visually and symbolically, it is integrated into a person's sense of Self and can be activated to elicit behavioural changes.

Sandplay creates a bridge between the conscious and unconscious. During the sandplay process, the conscious mind relaxes its control, allowing penetration to the unconscious material lying beneath the surface. The unconscious awakens in the selection of figures and the shaping of the sandplay. Sandplay promotes what Jung referred to as the transcendent function, making possible a completely new outlook on life. In the course of sandplay, inner order gradually grows out of chaotic circumstances.

Sandplay Therapy And Children

According to Kay Bradway; given an empathic therapist, children rarely need any encouragement to start making pictures or scenes and playing in the sand. They come to it naturally. They may engage the therapist in the play but unlike some therapies there is no attempt on the part of the therapist to interpret to the child what the therapist may understand of what is going on in the sandplay. The processing of touching the sand, adding water, making the scenes, changing the scenes seems to elicit the twin urges of healing and transformation which are goals of therapy. The emphasis is on following the child rather than on imposing a structure on the play or even guiding the play. The child's psyche becomes the guide rather than the therapist.

Contact Karin Bronkhorst for more information.