SandPlay Therapy

What is Sandplay therapy ?

Sandplay is a specialised form of counselling / psychotherapy, which we offer to adults and children alike. Therapeutic Sandplay is an effective,  creative way of working though the issues faced by individuals. Unlike many other types of therapeutic approaches, Sandplay does not rely upon speech; Sandplay therapy is a hands on and often non-verbal approach which involves the use of 'miniatures' or 'symbols' representing a wide range of people / figures,  and objects within a sand tray. Sandplay therapy is useful at times when words are not enough; offering a powerful and safe way to access deeper feelings and address blockages.

What happens in the sessions?

The therapist works with an individual in a 1:1 sandplay therapy session, this will last for around 50 minutes and be just you and a qualified therapist. The therapist encourages the client to make whatever he or she likes in the sand tray and is given no further instructions; therefore how the sand tray is created is up to the individual; guided by their imagination and subconscious; the person in therapy places the miniatures in the sand tray in any order, or placing of their choosing, additionally they may choose to add water to the sand, while the therapist observes.

This is achieved within a free and protected space provided by a trained sandplay therapist, it can work on many levels - including at a pre-verbal and long forgotten part of the unconscious mind. The world within the sand tray is expressed through symbolism and metaphor, and may not even make immediate sense to the person creating it; illuminating the clients internal symbolic world, providing a place for its expression within a safe container of the tray, and the opportunity for the psyche to heal itself providing a sense of balance and wholeness. The sand tray will show a 'snap shot' of where the individual is at that particular time, sand tray will develop and change over time.

While working in the sand tray the therapist sits nearby making note of what figures are used and anything said, or done, if relevant. The therapist sketches or “maps” a diagram of the sand tray for future reference. The therapist takes photographs when the sand tray is completed, and will study them to deepen their understanding of the symbolic work in the tray.

What can it help with?

Sandplay therapy can be useful form of counselling / psychotherapy if you are facing issues such as:

Sand tray symbols
  • having low self-esteem
  • lacking confidence
  • loss & grief
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • experienced trauma or abuse
  • struggling to get across your feeling
  • difficulties with relationships
  • aspects of your life which hinder you from achieving your potential

The theoretical basis

The theory behind this work stems from Jung and his work on archetypes and a Swiss therapist called Dora Kalff. We use a specific size of sand tray which is designed to fill our field of vision without having to move our head and use a range of symbols / miniatures within the sand which can represent / be whatever the individual wants and needs them to be; facilitating the psyche’s natural capacity for healing, in the safe place which is created & facilitated by the therapist.

Neurobiological research now supports the fact that emotional (Traumatic or Positive) and somatic memories are stored in the limbic system - the right side of the brain, these cannot be easily accessed by words alone; which sandplay theory being a non-verbal process it enables the individual to tap into a deeper self which is pre-verbal and unconscious; meaning that sandplay is that, as you create the scene in the tray and give meaning to the symbols, it is providing a direct link to your brain and the ability for the neuropathways to be ‘re-written’ into a healthier structure and layout, making sandplay a powerful therapeutic tool for healing

Can this help you / someone you’re thinking of?

If you feel these may be of benefit to you or someone you know, then why not contact us to discuss how we may be able to help.