Jungian Sand Therapy
I learned about Sand Play therapy in my second year of grad school and I immediately knew that I would like to know more, much more, about it. In 2009 I was lucky to meet, take a course and was supervised by Lois Carey, the author of a book on Sand Play Therapy and a student of the famous Swiss psychologist Dora Kalff, the founder of the 'World Technique" in 1950s.
"Playing" the director of your world in the sand became my passion and I proceeded with extensive education and implementing it in my private practice.
My very first training in Jungian Sand therapy was in 2009 and focused on working with adults using the technique. I myself created an ample number of sand trays, to better understand its healing power and the benefits. Therefore, when it is immediately assumed that Sand play therapy is only for children, I hold a strong belief that adults can benefit from Sand Therapy as much if not more than children do. I can see a child naturally playing in many other ways, in which adults won't. The benefits of an adult putting together a 3D scene or simply selecting pieces from my collection on the shelves, creates a powerful, positive and effective intervention. One of the main purposes of this type of therapy is expanding our unconsciousness and bringing it to plain sight.
Carl Jung himself noted that in order to overcome childhood issues, you need to somehow help your brain connect to these years when play was your language.
In my experience, one session of Jungian Sand Therapy dealing with an issue, is equivalent to and as effective as 2-3 regular sessions discussing the same issue.
Certified Sand Play Therapist (adults and kids).
Member of Sand Play Therapists Association (STA).
Certified by Lighthouse Counseling LLC
When working with young children or "resistant teenagers", I engage the parents or the entire family in a Sand Therapy session. It is usually a structured session, guided by me where every family member has an opportunity to express himself/herself via selecting pieces from the shelves and placing them according to my guidance, in the sand.
Nobody remains indifferent to the various pieces that either represent family members, or certain of their traits. By making changes in the sand tray, the changes seems to follow families to their everyday life.
I have found family sessions to be very effective, especially at the assessment stage of treatments when I am learning about the family dynamics and relationships.
Family sessions are usually one hour long.
The shelves in my office hold thousands of pieces from all over the world to express yourself and build your world in the sand tray.
Many teens are interested and engaged in therapy in a similar way to adults, therefore Sand therapy works the same way with adolescents. However, it is a common challenge for therapists to engage a resistant teen in a therapeutic process: between laconic responses, hiding behind "I don't know" phrases, or plainly demonstrating a lack of interest to "talk to someone" by playing with their phones in session. There are many ways to approach a teen like that and try to engage him/her in a conversation. Sand therapy provides an invaluable tool in these situations, especially in the assessment stage - sometimes it is all a therapist can get.
Selecting a figurine from the shelf requires movement: getting off the couch and walking around the room. When one or more items are selected, it is easier to engage in a conversation about the objects in the sand in front of us, rather than a direct conversation about the adolescent's feelings and experience in life.
I was interviewed by Max Selver and Isabel Dubov for "Two Teens, One Crazy Generation" podcast. Listen to their September 2021 Episode: "The Truth of Maturing Minds and Mental Health" click here
Our eyes follow what our mind needs to see.
Sand Play therapy is a natural way for children to express themselves though building their world - the world that they have full control over, and use their natural language of play. In session, a child takes the lead on the content of his/her world and sometimes engages the entire session in building; sometimes the child will spend the time playing in the world that he/she created.
Session after session of play provides the therapist access to rich materials for understanding the child's inner world and themes that are slowly unfolding in the play.
At the end of the session a photo of the world is taken.
Children can express their anger and aggression in the sand, indulge themselves in a fantasy world of wishes and desires with no consequences for losses and guilt; create a bridge between good and bad, black and white as well as play out the most difficult scenarios that can not be expressed in words.
Male and female archetypal figurines are very common in sand play therapist's collection.