‘Sandplay is a method of healing in and of itself.’- Dora Kalff
Jungian Sand Therapy was developed in the 1950s by Dora Kalff, a student of Carl Jung’s.
It is a non-verbal, sensory and symbolically based therapy that makes use of a sandtray, miniature objects, and sometimes water, to create scenes that reflect a person’s internal world, their struggles and experiences, which cannot yet be expressed in words. Sand therapy is a journey into the unconscious, to bring the shadow to light. Sandplay therapy is based on Carl Jung’s belief that the human psyche has an innate capacity to move towards healing through working with symbols.
Hundreds of miniature objects representing all aspects of life e.g. human, mythical and fairytale figures, animals, nature, houses, transportation, religion, spirituality, etc. are laid out on shelves. The client selects as many minatures as they feel drawn to and places them in the sandtray, creating a picture or story. The sandtray is painted blue to represent water or sky.
Findings emerging from neuroscience research are helping establish a biological framework from which to explain the therapeutic effectiveness of Sand Therapy. Research indicates that the non-verbal, sensory and image-forming aspects of sand therapy can facilitate the resolution of trauma and help with brain reintegration (Homeyer and Sweeney, 2016).
Jungian Sand Therapy is suitable for children, young people and adults, alike. It can be used as a general self-development tool, as well as to address a wide range of issues. It is particularly useful for those who may be having difficulty expressing themselves verbally, who may be feeling stuck or have experienced trauma.
Homeyer, L.E. and Sweeney, D.S. (2016) Sandtray: A Practical Manual. Taylor and Francis: UK
Kalff, D. (2003). Sandplay: A Psychotherapeutic Approach to the Psyche. Temenos Press: California.