Sandplay Therapy is a non-verbal therapeutic modality based on the psychology of C.G. Jung and developed by the Swiss psychotherapist Dora Kalff.
With small ﬁgures of all kinds, a person creates scenes in the sand that reﬂect their inner experience. This process allows a deep sense of self expression without the use of words. Sandplay therapy allows the depth and complexity of inner conﬂict, trauma and emotional distress to be expressed non-verbally. The use of imagery as a vehicle for self-expression, activates the right hemisphere and limbic regions of the brain to release repressed pain and generate a sense of wholeness and self-recognition. In the safe and protected space created by a Sandplay therapist, the unconscious feelings and unresolved experiences that appear in the sand can be processed and clariﬁed naturally to bring healing, resolution, and mind-body-spirit alignment.
The foundation of sandplay therapy is the non-directive use of symbolic and archetypal imagery. Sandplay therapists maintain an attitude of receptivity and acceptance, following the principles of Carl Rogers’ client centered therapy and the awareness practices of mindful attention. They are able to understand the symbolic messages of visual imagery, and are trained to facilitate the resolution of internal conﬂicts and emotional pain. In the process of emotional healing, new perspectives emerge that stimulate the expansion of consciousness and creation of inner peace and harmony. In a Sandplay therapy process, the natural healing powers of the psyche are activated and develop freely.
Sandplay therapy is a multidimensional modality that does not require any artistic ability. It is used individually with both adults and children, as well as in many types of supportive and educational group gatherings.
Neurobiological research supports the fact that emotional memories and traumatic sensory experiences are stored in the limbic system and right hemisphere of the brain. Non-verbal therapies like sandplay access and release this material so the psyche can develop and become whole. In the process, an inner connection with the greater Self is established, which Carl Jung advocates as an essential step for healthy psychological development.
Training to become a certiﬁed Sandplay therapist includes academic study, a personal process experience with a certiﬁed Sandplay therapist, and professional case consultation with a sandplay instructor. See Resources for more information about training and education.