Symbols and Sandplay has been used in therapeutic counselling sessions for over 80 years and can be a powerful way for clients to tell their story and explore their feelings. In this month’s blog, we will explore what symbols and sandplay therapy is in more detail, including the background, the approach and who might benefit.
Based on the work of Carl Jung and developed further by psychologist Dora Klaff, this therapy involves the use of miniatures and a sand tray to create scenes that reflect a client’s inner world. Jung suggested that symbols were common to all human beings and that imagery is the primary language of the subconscious or unconscious mind. Klaff advanced sandplay therapy, by building upon Jung’s theory to promote healing by using symbols or miniature’s to enable the client to express themselves on a deeper level, channelling their subconscious thoughts. By expressing unconscious thoughts in the sandtray, this enables the client to visualise and explore what lies beneath their experiences of the past, their present situation or what has led them to where they are today.
A therapeutic approach
The symbols and sandplay process is guided by a person centred, solution focussed and strengths-based approach in order for the client to be able to express themselves within an environment that is non-judgemental, respectful and caring. It is facilitated in non-directive manner that creates a free and safe space for the client to truly explore their story with no external interpretation so that the meaning of symbols and sandplay provide a genuine and unique insight for the individual. This wholistic approach provides an opportunity for the client to reflect, gain greater self-awareness and work towards setting goals for the future.
Not just for kids!
Symbols and Sandplay therapy is not just for children. Teens and adults can also gain greater insight into their lives and their capacity to make positive change. There is also growing evidence to suggest that symbols and sandplay work can support people with Autism Spectrum Disorders, those who have experienced trauma and those individuals with behavioural difficulties. Symbols and sandplay therapy can also be used in professional supervision, in particular to explore challenging or overwhelming situations or debriefing after a critical incident.
If you or someone you support would be interested in symbol and sandplay therapy, you can book a complimentary 30-minute session with me to discuss. Just click on the link to book your appointment.