"The sand picture which is produced by the child can be understood as a three-dimensional representation of some aspect of his psychic situation. An unconscious problem is played out in the sandbox, just like a drama; the conflict is transposed from the inner world to the outer world and made visible. This game of fantasy influences the dynamics of the unconscious in the child and thus affects his psyche". -Dora Kalff
Children are often anxious about seeing a therapist, however when they walk into the clinic room they usually can't wait to get started. As my work includes Sandplay therapy the walls of my clinic shelve hundreds of miniature figurines. The figurines are of people, animals, nature, home life, buildings, mythological and fantastical creatures, symbols and so on.
Sandplay gives children a powerful tool that allows them to process deep emotions that they otherwise feel unable to express or deal with.
Children find a freedom within the safe boundaries of the Sandtray in which they can express themselves without fear of wrong doing or judgement. They gain confidence and a feeling of inner strength as they create a world in the sand, without direction or outside interference.
I have worked extensively with children who have suffered trauma such as sexual assault, living through natural disaster, the death of a loved one. It is difficult for anyone to express and heal from traumatic experiences. For children it is especially difficult. Sandplay is a powerful way for children to express their inner feelings in a safe and non-judgemental environment. Creating a world with the myriad of miniature figurines that the children can choose from gives them a way to express what is within them as well as giving them a sense of empowerment and safety. It is marvellous for children to find a means to express and validate what they have often hidden within themselves. With the guidance and loving support of the therapist they can begin to integrate and heal from their experiences.
In a world where children have little time and space for themselves without distraction, Sandplay gives them a wonderful gift. Here at Inner Room Counselling they can use their imagination in a supportive space that is just for them. Here, with the undivided attention of the therapist, they can explore their inner dimensions within a safe and nurturing environment. This allows children to understand, process and navigate through the difficulties and problems they face at school, at home, and within themselves. They build self esteem and knowledge of themselves and their inner resources.