Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What is Sandplay Therapy?

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Sandplay is a powerful depth psychotherapy method for accessing and giving concrete form to  unconscious patterns and energies while simultaneously promoting healing. Through work in the sand, clients dissolve blocks to psychological growth, unearth and resolve trauma, integrate shadow and move forward on their own unique path of individuation.

Children are immediately drawn to sandplay. By playing in sand and water and using figures that play through and heal their traumas, without ever putting words to these experiences, without even needing to understand them consciously. Play is the language of childhood. Sandplay invites spontaneous and “serious” play.
represent every aspect of the world, they are able to

Adults, too, may find sandplay quite helpful in healing from early relational trauma, or moving forward on the path of individuation. Sandplay with adults is usually done within the context of an ongoing verbal therapy or analysis. In this way, two levels of healing and individuation occur simultaneously:   the more conscious verbal dialog between therapist and client invites affect and insight, and the process of working in the sand heals on an unconscious maternal, preverbal, somatic level.

Sandplay work includes the use of a sandtray, sized 28½ x 19½ x 3 inches (72.5 x 49.5 x 7.5 cm). It is painted blue on the inside, and half filled with sand. Water may be added as the sandplayer wishes. Shelves of figures—representing every aspect of the world—are nearby, waiting for the sandplayer to choose and place them in the sand.

For more information on sandplay, see, “About Sandplay.”

Relational Sandplay Therapy is an approach designed for the seasoned sandplay therapist. Before using this approach, clinicians should receive training in the basic principles of Jungian sandplay therapy.

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Please visit for full current information and to register for training.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

An Introduction to the Four Archetypal Relational Fields

The first book to focus on the clinical relationship in sandplay, Relational Sandplay Therapy provides both beginners and experienced sandplay therapists with a new perspective on the healing power of sandplay. This perspective is relational, intersubjective, and deeply explores the interwovenness of mutual unconscious processes and how they may be harnessed in the service of healing. In a creative synthesis, Linda Cunningham, Ph.D. brings to the forefront the importance of the transference/countertransference relationship in sandplay, and also explains in detail how to work within the relationship. Focusing on the therapist's subjective experience, she describes four archetypal relational fields:

Field One: The Field of Original Oneness/Merger

Field Two: The Field of Twoness/Rupture

Field Three: The Field of Differentiated Oneness/Transitional Space

Field Four: The Numinous Field of the Transcendent Function

Readers will be able to

•   Identify and understand the nature of the four archetypal relational fields

in both verbal and sandplay therapy

•   Understand how trauma affects the relational field

•   Gain tools to understand barren, disturbing or "uninterpretable" sandtrays

•   Use your own subjective experience as a royal road to the

unconscious and as the other source of the symbol