Children and Sandplay
Sandplay is the most suitable way of working with children, as sandplay does not rely on language. It tunes into children’s pleasure in playing with toys and using them for exploring their feelings about life.
Lowenfeild , the founder, wrote “ the child is quite clearly aware of what he or she experiences but is unable to explain it’s meaning in words”
Sandplay is a hands-on expressive therapy. Pictures of complex feelings about people and situations can be created without the use of words. Symbolic pieces are chosen because of unexpressed and often forgotten experiences, thoughts, desires, feelings that have some meaning to the person in that moment. Put together in the safe, interested, environment of the sandtray, then any nagging inner turmoil and reaction can be expressed, understood and likely resolved.
A happier and lighter state of mind is achieved.
Often the person doing sandplay, the player, does not have to consciously face a painful issues to start achieving some resolution of internal problems. More, the player is encouraged and empowered by actively seeking solutions through symbolising outcomes before trying the reality.
The therapist , by observing body language and feelings shown can, without judgment, reflect this to the person, a sort of mirror for the player.
The player can better recognise what is important to them personally. Rather than the usual habit of responding to what may be important to those around them.
The Therapist -
Reframes belief systems that the client identifies as limiting
Facilitates a safe exploration of the clients circumstance,
Gives the client the opportunity to discover new ways of relating
Validates and clarifies the feelings
Encourages investigation of unconscious tendencies
Children’s approach to sandplay is different to adults. They create stories in the sand and usually want to tell you about them. These stories express their feelings and thoughts at a deeper level than they could otherwise communicate.
Their feelings, thoughts, concepts and memory are inextricably interwoven so their feelings can take them completely over in a situation. But because they are also flexible, children can let go of their feelings just as quickly and move on.
Adults find this more difficult.
This work heals wounds that have blocked normal development.
It gives children another type of language to communicate their ideas and feelings; one that does not rely on a store of knowledge and skills.
It uses touch, sensation and sight.
It creates fantasy; so immensely valuable for growth in order to develop the inner realms of their being.
Children who can tap into their creativity and be imaginative are proven to show a higher IQ and are able to handle their lives better.
Sand tray work / or exploration of the unconscious, can be very useful in understanding what is hidden in our unconscious. It can be a fantastic tool in for exploring those hidden parts of our selves.