What is Sandplay Therapy?

Developed by Swiss psychologist Dora Kalff between the late 1950s and early 1960s, sandplay therapy is a therapeutic approach in which people use a sandbox and miniature toys to interpret their thoughts, fears and desires. It is a type of psychotherapy that does not use the traditional techniques associated with such modalities, particularly the talking aspect.

Sandplay therapists recognise how traumatic experiences can have a significant impact on one's mental and emotional wellbeing. They can help their clients express their feelings without putting them in a stressful situation by asking about their painful experiences. Like counselling, the goal of sandplay therapy is to provide a safe, non-judgemental environment in which a troubled individual can find solutions to their problems.

Sandplay Therapy in Australia

How Does Sandplay Therapy Work?

Sandplay does not require rational thinking or verbal explanations. It encourages self-discovery by utilising sandboxes and toy figures that may represent the client or things and people in their life. This makes sandplay therapy extremely beneficial for assisting people in recognising, processing and releasing feelings that are not serving them well.

Clients can start understanding the connection between the world they created in sand and their own inner world with the assistance of a qualified sandplay therapist. They can begin to take steps to realise the sand prototype of their ideal life in the real world.

What are the Benefits of Sandplay Therapy?

Sandplay therapy's grounding nature connects you to your thoughts, emotions and overall existence per se. Despite its appearance, sand is fluid. It allows you to work with your mind and body at the same time, which is essential for healing because they are a single unit. Sandplay is extremely beneficial for people of all ages, including children and those who have long dealt with trauma. The following are some of the conditions it can help with:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Trauma
  • Grief and loss
  • Language or learning disabilities
  • Behavioural problems
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Divorce
  • Fears and phobias

What Can You Expect From Sandplay Therapy?

If you want to try sandplay therapy or have your child benefit from it, it's a good idea to scout for a qualified therapist in person, over the phone, or through an online communication platform. Make sure that you enquire about their certification, process, treatment timetable and areas of expertise.

The majority of mental health professionals, including counsellors, psychologists, psychotherapists and social workers, provide sandplay therapy either as a standalone therapy or in combination with other modalities.

Sandplay is a no-fuss method, so you can come as you are and bury your hands in the sandbox straightaway. Your therapist will spend the time observing you and the sand world you've created, including the toy figures you've chosen. A typical session lasts 30 minutes to an hour, and the frequency of therapy is determined by your agreement with your therapist.

Is Sandplay Therapy Safe?

It certainly is. Sandplay does not require any invasive procedures or medications, making it an ideal healing path for children and the young at heart.