It doesn’t rely on words
If you have ever asked a child how his/her day was at school or asked a teenager how they are feeling, you will already know that words have limits! Sandplay works because it is a great way of helping someone to express himself or herself without having to talk to you. You don’t have to ask many questions, which takes the pressure off the client and off you as a sandplay therapist. You can both just be in the same space together.
Sandplay works: it’s not threatening
Remember doing a jigsaw or playing cards with someone special to you when you were young? The sandplay process is just the same. The play therapist is a kind witness to the client’s own therapeutic process. Being with someone with an open heart and showing that you are interested in their play is an inherently healing process. Having no expectations or defined cognitive goals gives both of you a sense of freedom to explore. The practice of sandplay takes place in a free and protected space.
We get out of our own way
Carl Jung wrote a lot about the power of the unconscious to heal. Sandplay began in London in the 1920s because children waiting to see their therapist began to play with sand in a box, in the way that we do at nursery school. The children were instinctively accessing what Jung called the Collective Unconscious, which is a place full of stories, myths and memories. It is where the Jungian archetypes live. Jung’s pupil Dora Kalff developed Jungian Sandplay Therapy. Our courses are based on Kalff’s techniques, but we also include elements of sand tray, which works with Gestalt Play Therapy principles.
It bypasses the mind
Which makes play therapy ideal with child clients but also great for working with adults. There is a simplicity about work in the sand, which makes it deceptively easy to do, yet surprisingly hard to ‘second guess’. So it is a great way to help the personal development of adults who are stuck in their mind. We can show emotions and begin to heal memories in this form of therapy in a powerful and painless way. We are accessing healing from a very deep part of ourselves in a gentle and soothing way.
Sandplay works: effective and quick
The act of playing and creating a safe space means that sandplay can help clients to heal quite quickly. We process memories and emotions quickly when our cognitive minds disengage. So our clients’ behaviour in the classroom (or workplace!) improves, acting out lessens and we are able to soothe ourselves. You will understand the need in society for sandplay therapy once you have completed professional training.
There are set theories and techniques in the international society for sandplay, backed up by neuroscientific, trauma and creative research. On our sandplay therapy training, you will learn these ways of working. We will illustrate them through case studies and discussion with one of the top sandplay therapists in the UK. The groups are small (never more than 10) so there is lots of individual encouragement and support to help you get started. We will also provide the research to help you educate those around you (like headteachers). They can also learn the benefits of this wonderful, effective and creative way of working. The beauty of working integratively is you can adapt sandplay to fit your client group or style of working.
We provide standardised sandplay therapy training. Want to find out more?