At Stepping Stones we work with Expressive Therapies with children and young people and offers this support to adults if interested and willing to try something different.
Sandplay therapy is an options for children and individuals who are not ready to talk or struggle to find the words. Sandplay therapy is a recognised therapeutic modality for both children and adults, based on the psychology of C.G. Jung and developed by the Swiss psychotherapist and teacher Dora Kalff.
Through the use of sand, water and symbols, sandplay therapy provides children with the means to give expression to emotionally significant experiences. The use of symbols allows children to distance themselves from profound emotional experiences and thereby allow them to engage in contemplation and reflection. Symbols also provide children with the opportunity to reenact problems in non-threatening ways, change outcomes through play and empower themselves to more competently cope with problems and issues in their real life.
Many children are unable to verbalise emotional states, particularly in the face of trauma, neglect, or abuse. The non-verbal nature of Sandplay Therapy and the familiar medium of sand can help children achieve feelings of comfort and security. With little instruction from the therapist, the child is free to play and develop his or her own expression of situations. The children will often experience a sense of independent play and will begin making assumptions and behaviour changes without cues from the therapist. This method of therapy serves as a valuable and powerful outlet for children and an incredibly insightful method of gaining access to traumatic experiences.
What to Expect
Sandplay therapy takes place in box-like containers referred to as sand trays. The trays are filled with sand that clients use, along with miniature toys, to create a play world that reflects some aspect of real people and real experiences in their own lives. The client chooses from a large collection of toys and builds a small “world” in the tray that reflects what is going on in their lives. The therapist observes the choice and arrangement of toys without interruption, allowing the person to find answers within themselves. After Sandplay is completed, the client and therapist analyse and discuss the client’s toy choices, their arrangement pattern in the sand, and their symbolic or metaphoric meanings. Upon discussion, the client often chooses to make changes to the world they have created in sand.