Sandplay Therapy

Sandplay Therapy is a non verbal, therapeutic intervention that makes use of a sandbox, toy figures and water to create scenes of miniature worlds that reflect a persons inner thoughts, struggles and concerns. This form of play therapy is practiced along with talk therapy, using the sandbox and figures as communication tools.

How it works

Sandplay Therapy was developed in the late 1950’s by psychologist Dora Kalff, who combined several techniques and philosophies to come up with her own therapeutic approach. Kalff learned what became known as the World Technique from paediatrician and child psychologist Margaret Lowenfeld, who developed the original sand-tray intervention. Kalff incorporated the use of sand trays into her own form of therapy, which was based on her Jungian training and Eastern philosophical beliefs. With the help of sand trays, clients, guided by the therapist, begins to understand the connection between the world they created in sand and their own inner world. By making changes in their make believe world, clients are often empowered to make similar changes in their real world.

When it's used

Sandplay Therapy soften used with those who have suffered some form of trauma, neglect, abuse and for others who are exploring a deeper sense of self. Although sandplay is especially well suited for working with young children, who often cannot express their inner feelings in words, it is also a technique that is helpful for teens and adults who are having trouble expressing themselves and who may be suffering some form of trauma.

What to expect

Sandplay Therapy uses a container referred to as a sand tray. The trays are filled with sand that clients use, along with miniature toys, to create a play world that reflects some aspect of real people and real experiences in their own lives. The client chooses from a large collection of toys and builds a small ‘world’ in the tray that reflects what’s going on in their lives. The therapist observes the choice and arrangement of toys without interruption, allowing the person to find answers within themselves. After sandplay is completed, the clients and the therapist reflect and discuss the clients choice of objects, their arrangement pattern in sand, and their symbolic or metaphoric meanings. Sandplay therapy may consist of a few sessions or last as long as several years.