Saturday, September 04, 2010

Sandplay within the Analytic Framework

Do the lamp and the plastic palm tree above make you thing of anything? (The plastic palm is one of many found in Yalta, Ukraine.) If you were doing sandplay as part of a Jungian analysis, smaller versions of items like these could be among those from which you get to choose in constructing a scene in a sandbox, or as therapists like to say, a sandtray.
At the recent IAAP Congress several therapists discussed their use of sandplay in working with long-term analytical patients, thus turning the talking cure into a multi-sensory experience. "What is re-created in the sandtray often has a strong psychic charge," one of them said. They showed pictures of sandtrays created by some of these patients, including one that mimicked a nuclear explosion.
Sandplay can be very moving both for the patient and the analyst, and can allow the analyst to enter into the patient's inner landscape, often quite a bleak one. Although sandplay can provide insights into a patient's problems, the images themselves can never be fully known, another therapist pointed out.
Once I had the chance to participate in a group sandplay workshop and found it very interesting, indeed an experience that returns you to childhood.


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