My first encounter with sandplay was at the end of the 1970’s when I was a medical student in Cape Town.  I was already interested in Jung and dream work. Cecil Burnie (who worked with Dora Kalf and with her was one of the founding members of the International Society of Sandplay Therapists- ISST) visited from the USA and gave a workshop in which he  presented the sandplay journey of a young man.  It was inspiring and started me off on my own journey of using this powerful medium to explore my internal world- and it’s relation to my external world.


My first process was with Barbara Fairhead and after moving to England I worked with Joel Ryce-Menhuin (also a  founding member of ISST and of the British and Irish Sandplay Society). Subsequently I qualified as a sandplay Therapist, became a Teaching member of ISST.


I have had the privilege of accompanying many individuals locally and internationally on their own personal journey of discovery- finding themselves more fully- healing and growth. I have also taught sandplay therapy extensively throughout the world  and contributed to the formation of a number of national sandplay societies.

 

Sandplay therapy is different from talking therapies. Talking involves the rational thinking part of the brain which uses words. Working with sand, play and images involves a different part of our selves. We are always more than we rationally think we are. It is similar with some of the life-situations we find ourselves in. Some things are also very difficult to put into words. Sandplay helps us access a different side of ourselves and to express, become conscious of, and work with both our strengths and difficulties from a completely different angle. It can be useful to do a series of sandplay images for themes to become evident.

 

Sandplay room


2 sand trays, one with dry sand and the other with moist sand, are available for use. The sand can be moulded and shaped and/or moved to reveal the bottom of the tray.

Objects used for creating sandplay images


Miniatures from fantasy, nature and everyday life (men, women, bridges, cars, food, houses, animals etc), and other objects are available for the sandplayer to use. Any objects can be chosen by the player and arranged in the sandtray.

Example of a sandplay image


After creating the image the player may choose to say something about it or not and a  photograph is taken. After completing a series there is an opportunity to review the images and reflect on what they reveal to the player about themselves. The making of sandplay images can usefully be interwoven with dream work and talking sessions

Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.” Carl Jung