18th March, 2010
"Sandplay" is an amazing tool used within creative therapies and has been used for many years. However it was Margaret Lowenfield the British child psychiatrist in the 1920’s who saw the potential working with miniatures and sand, used together with children to communicate what might not be accessible in words. It was however Jungian tradition who perhaps is most responsible for the spread of “Sandplay”. The significant inspiration force in working with adults has been Kay Bradway the Jungian Analyst and author of “Sandplay – Silent Workshop of the Psyche”. (Ken Rabone 2003)
Building up a miniature collection can be an ongoing pleasure. Walking around craft shops and brick-a-brack stalls looking for those models to catch your eye and jump out at you. Making sure you have got the nice pleasing on the eye miniatures to the grotesque vile looking and sometimes scary models.
The sandtray is painted blue, while the bottom represents the water, the side represents the sky and the sand is mother earth. Sand is neither solid nor fluid it is an in-between substance so it feels like the sand is inviting you into the in-between space, for instance the conscious and the unconscious or between the dream and the awakening. While the left hand side of the tray is the clients unconscious the right hand side is the future.
The sand can be a wonderful yet powerful experience not only for the client but for the counsellor too. When putting your hands into the sand there is an amazing connection with the earth, a feeling of safety and of being held. It is also known as the silent therapy although it is ok to speak while putting together a sandtray, there are often long silences whilst working with the sand. Sandplay invites healing at many levels, physical, emotional, rational and spiritual. Sand as a symbol is rich in both existential and transpersonal potential.
The powerful archetypes are within a sandtray; these symbols embody polarities, by symbols this refers to the miniatures as well as the sand:
Life – Death; Fluid – Solidity; Clean – Dirty.
Carl Jung’s Transcendent Function bringing the conscious and the unconscious together can be visible in a sandtray by building bridges; bridges can be built by eye contact between the client and the miniatures as well as the client and counsellor. Acknowledging them the sandtray emerges from two polarities a new synthesis from transcendent function.
"Sandplay" can be a powerful and enriching experience for the client. However to use this tool the counsellor will have met with their clients “adult” and assessed that this creative tool is the right one for them.
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