Sandplay Therapy

sandplay training sand sandtray arts therapy therapist sue chapman creative health drama dramatherapy movement sesame biss isst badth hpc cpd jung kalff symbols loss bereavement change transition support stress difficult times ageing healing problems health norfolk suffolk bungay essex cambridge london waveney valley personal development creativity spirituality training psychology students cpd workshops taster days workshops introduction to sandplay biss & isst

sandplay training sand sandtray arts therapy therapist sue chapman creative health drama dramatherapy movement sesame biss isst badth hpc cpd jung kalff symbols loss bereavement change transition support stress difficult times ageing healing problems health norfolk suffolk bungay essex cambridge london waveney valley personal development creativity spirituality training psychology students cpd workshops taster days workshops introduction to sandplay biss & isst Sandplay Therapy & Sandplay Training HPC Registered Arts Therapist Drama & Movement London Norfolk Suffolk Essex Cambridge Sandplay Registered Arts Therapist Creative Health Norfolk Suffolk Diss Harleston Bungay Beccles Norwich Ipswich Bury St Edmunds

Sandplay Therapy

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What is Sandplay Therapy

Sandplay is a creative approach to therapy that is not dependant on words.   With the use of sand, small figurines, symbol, image and metaphor it works at a deep unconscious level of the psyche in a way that both adults and children often find enjoyable.  People find they are able to reconnect with their inner selves, express deep feelings in a supportive way and move forward in life when they feel they have become stuck.   This particular approach to sandplay was  developed in Switzerland in the 1950's by Dora Kalff, under the guidance of the famous Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung.  Its psychological theories are therfore rooted in the archetypal depth psychology of C G Jung.  

Sandplay @ Sue Chapman

Sandplay Therapy Room @ Sue Chapman

The Sandplay Therapy Room

The sandplay therapy room is a unique creative space.  There are shelves and baskets containing miniature figures, symbolic objects, and art materials as well as two shallow boxes (approx. 2 ft x 3 ft) containing sand. One sandbox contains dry sand and the other damp or wet sand.  Some of the objects in the room come from the natural environment like wood, stones, and shells, whilst others are representative of different cultures, history, spirituality and religion.  There are miniature people, animals, buildings, vehicles and much more.

What happens when a person does sandplay?

Generally someone doing sandplay would choose either figures and objects from the shelves and construct a three-dimensional type of picture in one of the sandboxes, or they might add water to the damp sandbox and sculpt patterns or images with the sand and water.  Alternatively they could do both of these things, sculpt with damp sand and use figures, or even just play with the sand or place their hands in the sandbox.

There is no wrong or right way of using sandplay therapy and each person will use it in their own unique way.  No one creation is better or worse than any other and all offerings are equally valid and important, no experience is needed and there are no artistic standards to be met.

Sandplay is like another language, a non-verbal way of communicating and expressing inner feelings, conflicts, fears and problems.  Sometimes while a person is constructing a sandplay they may be silent, at other times they may talk making comments about what they are doing, or about the concerns they have in life.  When a sandtray is completed the therapist and the client will spend a little time looking at the sandplay scene together perhaps sharing some thoughts. 

At the end of each sandplay session the creation in the sandbox will be left standing in the room.  After the client has gone the therapist will photograph the finished sandtray, then dismantle it, and place the symbolic objects back on the shelves. 

Sandplay - © Sue Chapman

At the completion of the entire therapy process the photographs of each finished sandplay will be given to the client as a visual record and reminder of their creative process.  At this time both the therapist and client may talk together about any insights, associations or learning that may arise as they view the pictorial record of the process as a whole.

Sandplay - © Sue Chapman

When a person first comes to the therapy room they are usually interested in meeting the therapist to find out if they will be able to work together, and to see if this creative and symbolic approach to therapy will be of help to them.  They may book a short course of 6 to 10 sessions during which time they can start to experience for themselves what sandplay therapy is like and how they will benefit from it.  At the end of that time the therapist and the client will assess together whether this approach is the best way forward for the client.  If it is, then regular and longer term work will begin.  Later, when both the individual and the therapist feel that the work is complete, they will begin to draw the sessions to a close whilst taking some time to review together the photographs that the therapist has taken of the entire sandplay work.