Please submit your questions to us – See Contact Information on the right
1) What if I can’t come every week or every two weeks? Am I supposed to create a sandplay every time I come in?
A: It is not required that you create a sand tray during each session. In the free and protected space of the Sandplay Therapist’s office, as well as within the sand tray itself, you are the guide for your personal process of healing and development. The schedule for sessions is not fixed. You and the therapist will work collaboratively to determine a schedule that supports the pace for your unique process.
2) Is Sandplay an evidence-based practice? If so, can you show me the research that it works?
A: There is a large and rapidly growing body of literature addressing the theory and practice of Sandplay Therapy. Numerous research and case studies provide comprehensive documentation of the efficacy of Sandplay. Please see the bibliography and research section of this site for more information. Also look for Turner and Unnsteinsdottir’s book, Sandplay and Storytelling, on the book page. This is a rich account of the outcomes of an evidence-based study on sandplay.
3) How do I prepare for the sessions?
A: As a client, it is not necessary for you to do any preparation prior to a session. Over-thinking, planning or analyzing may interfere with or limit the depth of the sandplay. For this reason, you are encouraged to trust the unconscious and allow the process to unfold spontaneously.
4) Is it just for individuals or can couples or families do it as well?
A) In order to create a truly “free and protected space” in which individuals are able to communicate openly and safely, it is essential for one to have their own time, space, and privacy. For this reason, Jungian Sandplay Therapists do not allow couples or families to work together in the sand tray.
5) Parents – Can I get a report on my child’s progress?
A: In order for a child to feel safe and free to express their inner-world without judgment (including self-judgment) or censorship, it is critically important to maintain privacy. Parents/caregivers may view sandplay constructions or photographs when the child initiates this request. Meeting with parents to discuss history and ongoing issues/progress at home or school is highly encouraged, but does not necessarily include viewing trays.
6) Is this based on Christian principles? I heard that this therapy involves symbols of other religions . . . is it against our beliefs.
A: The sandplay collection includes every imaginable (and sometime unimaginable) figurine/symbol ranging from the depths of the earth to the far reaches of the cosmos. Every category of human existence is represented in the collection, and this often includes symbols of major cultures and religions. The sandplay process is not religious and does not impose any religious or spiritual beliefs, values, or practices. Often people find that doing sandplay deepens their own spiritual beliefs, whatever they may be.
7) What good is it if the therapist doesn’t tell me what it means?
A. By not telling the client what his/her sandplay means, the therapist does not influence the client’s own unique progress and process in therapy. What takes place in the sandplay is ahead of our conscious awareness. In other words, we aren’t quite ready to see it yet, but it is coming into awareness. If we interpret it too quickly, not only could the therapist interfere with the client’s healing and development, it would ‘shock’ the client’s psyche and the work would stop.
8) If I don’t know what it means, how can it help me?
A. By not knowing what it means, the psyche is allowed to do its own unique healing work from deep within the unconscious without conscious interference from the client or others.
9) Can I do sandplay by myself?
A. No. Sandplay requires a witness and container (therapist) to provide a protected space for the client to heal from the core (unconscious) providing freedom for the psyche to do what it needs to do.
10) Can I do sandplay with my children at home? Or at the beach?
No. Sandplay requires an objective therapist and a room with a sand tray to provide a free and protective space for the child’s psyche to heal from within.
11) I’m using sandplay with my clients but I don’t know what’s happening. Can you help?
A. If one has undergone intensive Jungian sandplay training and has knowledge about the dynamics of sandplay therapy (two critical aspects), it is perfectly fine and advisable to not know what is happening in a client’s sandplay process until the time of analyzing the sand work. In this way the process is not influenced allowing the psyche to do the much needed healing work intrapsychically. Conscious interference (counter transference) from the therapist may contaminate the healing work, even with the best of intentions for it not to happen. Dora Kalff said that the therapist must be, “…coming to understand.” Please see proper training in sandplay.
12) Where do I find sandplay training in my area?
Jungian Sandplay Training opportunities can be found on our website and websites linked to us. International trainings are also available and may only be conducted by certified sandplay teachers. Please contact us for information.
13) How do you know my child is not “just playing” in the sand tray?
Even if a child is according to him- or herself “just playing in the sand” the work happening is profound, as the psyche chooses and arranges images needed to bring forth healing and development in the child. Sandplay is an unconscious process and penetrates into the deep inner core of oneself spontaneously. It cannot be manipulated, altered or defended on any conscious level. For the children sandplay provides the tools of their natural inner language. They “play” it out, but what they are doing is very significant.
14) What is sand play? How does sand play work?
In sand play a scene is made from figures and objects places in a box (of specific dimensions). The basis of sand play is that the psyche has a natural ability to heal itself given the opportunity. The sand play process activates the healing energies at a deep level of the psyche. The use of sand, symbol and through the experience of free and creative play, unconscious processes are made visible in the three dimensional sand tray.
16) Is it only for children?
Sand play is as effective with adult as it is with children. Many therapists only work with adults.
17) How long does it take?
We cannot predict how many Sandplay session a person will need to resolve his or her conflicts and issues. This depends on the individual situation. We do know that children’s Sandplay work takes less time than does an adult’s, for the simple reason that the child is much younger. Children will frequently complete an entire Sandplay process in fifteen trays or less. Adults more in the twenty to thirty tray range. Be aware that these are broad generalizations just to give an idea of the scope of the work. One very important thing to know is that for the adult, the Sandplay goes directly to the core of the primary issues and works through them far faster than could be done by a more rational, conscious approach.
18) How can it help me?
Sand play therapy is a multidimensional therapeutic form of therapy that can provide emotional release and realization for the client. Adults who have been traumatized and who have had limited success with other forms of therapy may respond well to Sandplay therapy. The sand is a free, non-threatening and non-judgmental space with a therapist who observes and holds the process. While the Sandplay process involves creating a series of trays and might last for months or years, significant change may be experienced in just one sand tray session.
19) Will you be able to know my secrets?
The sand play process works at a deep level of the psyche and allows access and awareness to feelings and possibilities. However the healing happens whiles playing without the need for interpretation, verbalization or conscious awareness.
20) Does the therapist tell me what it means?
There is a difference between Sandplay and sand tray. Some therapists us a sand tray for a more active interaction with the client. Therapists who are trained in Jungian Sandplay focus on the unconscious and seek to provide a free, protected space and the opportunity to communicate non-verbally. As such, Sandplay therapists do not interpret, interfere with, or direct the person in therapy in any way and analysis takes place after the therapy session.