A typical Sand Play room has shelves filled with miniature objects like little people, animals, buildings, house hold items, vehicles, funny and frightening things, super hero’s and many more objects and a tray full of sand. When I introduce parent to Sand Play as one of my prefered modality in working with children, I often asked in disbelief ,“How in the world, am I going to help their child with a box of sand and some tiny toys ?“
Sand Play is a, powerful non verbal therapeutic method being practiced worldwide. It is used with a varied age group of clients. It is used in individual, Family, Couple, Group Therapies at private practices, hospitals and schools. Sand Play helps in dealing with trauma, depression, eating disorders, grief , social emotional issues, relationship conflicts, anger management and many more. Sand Play helps children with Special Needs and Learning Difficulties.
In 1920’s Dr. Margaret Lowenfeld first developed the therapeutic use of Sand Play and miniatures by getting her clients to combine the sand tray and miniatures to create their “world pictures”. Dora Kalff, a Swiss Jungian analyst adapted Lowenfeld’s method and called the approach “ Sand Play”.
During a Sand Play session, the sand is shaped and little miniature objects are added to create a three-dimensional picture. The healing process starts the moment client makes contact with the sand. The attraction or the repulsion to any object can be an expression of the unconscious or the themes in the conscious. The tiny objects soon becomes the symbols of the client’s inner world, representing their feelings, thoughts and unconscious drives. The silence in the room helps to contain and honor the client’s experience so what is being expressed can continue reverberating within the client. Any verbal interpretations, reflection and discussions about the tray happens after the client is done with the creation. The therapist makes a record of the picture. This picture provides a window into the unconscious deepens conscious understanding of the individual psyche and provides a framework for future verbal therapy.
Sand Play with children
Play is central to a children’s physical, social and emotional health and well being. Sand play is used with a wide range of children. The free play and the creative component of Sand Play attracts children. The freedom to create helps the children drop their defences , feel secure early in the process. The three dimentional picture created enables children to play out themes that are central to their struggles. Studies have been conducted on the relationship between Gardner’s Seven Multiple Intelligence and Sand Play. Sand Play integrates many of the intelligences through out the play session to ensure effectiveness. Sand Play is actively used in different settings, statistics show that when used in schools, there has been increase in student’s academic performance, reduction in behavioural issues among students, , better resilience and motivation, higher self esteem & confidence, lower stress and anxiety, improved concentration and many more. Sand Play in hospitals help children deal with various chronic illnesses. The Sand Play helps them process their feelings and learn skills to work through their illnesses. This non verbal therapy works wonders when facilitated by a Sand Therapy Certified professional trained to work with children.
If you are looking to seek help and think that Play based therapy will work best for your child, call SACAC Counselling office to enquire more about Sand Therapy.
Written by: Vinti Mittal Director and Counsellor SACAC Counselling