Sandplay therapy was developed by Margaret Lowenfeld who was one of the great pioneers in understanding how children think and feel. In the 1920s in London she recognised that children suffering from depression had the same characteristics as had children in prisoner of war camps in World War 1. Lowenfeld set up a practice working with these children. She believed that the central task of psychotherapy was to make contact with the whole of the child’s mind, not only by intuition but also by understanding the laws of the mind
Lowenfeld used a Wonderbox of toys like other therapists but also introduced a tray of water and sand. This was the beginning of Sandplay Therapy.
Sandplay is a rapid method that gets to the heart of the problem quickly. It not only addresses the issues that the client presents but also can show the solution. Sandplay does this by taking the client to the deepest realms within themselves to access their subconscious. It is in this hidden part of them selves where the client finds what is driving the problem in the first place. Once that is uncovered it allows the client to find their true nature. Sandplay therapy is a great way to work with CHILDREN, ADOLESCENCE and ADULTS. It is also very effective when working with RELATIONSHIPS. For children it provides a language of expression for their inner feelings that might otherwise be difficult if they had to speak it. For those adults who mainly operate from the mind it quickly brings them into the body feeling level where they can access the deep patterns that are not working for them. It allows resistances to drop away. It clearly shows the person what the real issue is within themselves. Belief systems are clearly seen and externalised thus allowing the situation to be explored in a non-threatening way. Sandplay bypasses the mind and clearly shows our inner world. Sandplay works with many issues including anxiety and depression, grief and loss, addictions, etc.
How does sandplay work
Imagine a room filled with miniature objects such as trees, animals, people, buildings, cars, etc and a tray filled with sand. First the client connects with the sand and can make the sand into any shape they like. Miniature objects are then selected and placed by the client randomly in the tray wherever they like. As the client is working on a subconscious level the client does not choose the objects rather the objects choose the client. The client's subconscious thus has permission to express exactly what is going on inside them. When finished the therapist will support the client to look deeply within to find what the real issues are and to allow inner changes to happen. The therapist will then explore with the client at great depths the fullness of the body and the emotions and more importantly, the soul and the vibrational formations that make us who we are. It also explores their inner knowing and it is from this space that healing happens.
Sandplay is the most profound tool for self-discovery. The pieces and the arrangement clearly show psychic complexities and connections which are normally unconscious. There is no other technique that can show us so much, so succinctly and yet unobtrusively.