Chattering Mind

Chattering Mind

Explore Your Psyche with Sandplay Therapy

sandplay.jpgRegardless of what your insurance company says, psychotherapy should not go away. Or end early. Everybody needs therapy at one time or another.
Here’s a technique that’s catching on fast with spiritually-inclined Jungian people (like us!). It’s called Sand Tray or Sandplay therapy, and it was developed by Dr. Margaret Lowenfeld soon after H.G. Wells published “Floor Games” in 1911, a book about making therapeutic dioramas, or scenes on the floor with small children.
When a Sandplay therapist leads you into a Sand Tray room, you’ll emit the most elated gasp! There, on numerous rows of book shelves, you’ll find every toy figurine imaginable–two-inch-high wizards, cowboys, goddesses, buddhas, monsters, crystals, birds nests, dragons, cabins, trees, babies, doves, deer, goblins, knights, horses and superheroes, cars, buggies, fences. You will then be invited to sit before a blue-bottomed tray of sand where you may spontaneously build a scene with whichever objects you choose (you can even make little pools with real water).
Then with your Sandplay therapist, you may discuss your scene’s meaning, or what it felt like to create it, as if it were a dream filled with potent symbols you can process together. Writes Lauren Cunningham, LCSW, the founding editor of The Journal of Sandplay Therapy: “When energies in the form of ‘living symbols’ are touched upon in the personal and collective unconscious, healing can happen spontaneously within a person at an unconscious level. As a more harmonious relationship between the conscious and the unconscious develops, the ego is restructured and strengthened.”
This technique is great for kids who may not be able to talk out their problems, but it works nicely for adults too (I was in it for two years four years ago). It can be combined with other more conventional talk therapies.
Click here and here and here to learn more. Here’s a paper about Sandplay’s effective use with soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Find out if you have any sand tray therapists in your neighborhood by clicking here.

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