In 1929, Margaret Lowenfeld, a child psychiatrist, began to work with her patients by having them manipulate miniatures in a tray partially filled with sand. She called it The World Technique. The method appealed especially to an associate of Carl Jung’s, Dora Kalff. One of the many things that Jung is famous for is understanding the healing powers of the imagination. Kalff used her Jungian background to bring a new clinical dimension to interpreting and using Sandplay, which is a term created by Kalff to differentiate her Jungian-oriented technique from Lowenfeld’s.
Healing in the Tray
Today Sandplay Therapy is used for all ages. It occurs in the presence of a trained professional. Sandplay is the client’s creation of a sand painting with three dimensional miniature figures. It allows the client to “get out of their head” and more readily access the imagination and the unconscious. What is created in a tray is the expression of feelings and attachments below the surface, things that words cannot express. The tray is a safe place for issues and problems to present themselves. It is a protected space. Creations in the tray whether joyous or troubling, help a client to integrate experiences both past and current. Clients find solution, often times laying these difficulties to rest and moving on. The tray is not a diagnostic tool, but a means by which the psyche may begin to heal. (H. Friedman and R. Mitchell, “Sandplay: Past, Present and Future”)
For more information about and answers to questions regarding Sandplay, please visit the Sandplay Therapists of America.
"Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain." CG Jung