"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." (C.G. Jung)
In Sandplay therapy, figures and objects representing all aspects of life and nature, are used to symbolise events and situations in our inner and outer lives. People use objects and sand to create scenes that reflect and express their innermost world of psychological processes.
Symbolic figurines used in Sandplay therapy represent a common collective human language. Sometimes what people know and experience inside isn’t yet formulated into full conscious understanding and it is too difficult to put into words. Sometimes there are no words for the inchoate experiences and feelings that manifest in our inner world. Sandplay provides a symbolic and visual language, that bypasses conscious words and language, and provides a forum for an individual to express unconscious thoughts and feelings - inner motivations and desires, wants and fears, pain, happiness, joy, loss and shame. It can be used across languages, cultures, races, ages, and developmental levels.
Sandplay therapy creates a transcendent bridge between the conscious and unconscious.
During Sandplay therapy, the selection of the figures and the shaping of the sand, taps into inchoate, preverbal and unconscious aspects of the Self. The experiential process simultaneously relaxes and silences the more dominant aspects of the ego-conscious mind and allows unconscious aspects of the self to emerge - in the same way that when we sleep, unconscious material emerges into awareness through dreams.
Sandplay helps clients address psychological fears and concerns that may stem from a range of life-experiences and psychological injuries that may have limited some aspects of positive self-development. The disturbed aspects of the personality can be expressed in Sandplay where the client develops new self-awareness and insight into the foundations of the psychological problem, and is able to integrate new emergent qualities into the developing conscious Self.
During the course of Sandplay therapy, inner integration begins to develop out of the chaotic circumstances that are observed in the initial sand tray scenes of the client. For example, sand pictures that originally expressed loneliness and emptiness may begin to show new life and growth; hidden despair can turn into expressions of nurturing, thus decreasing aspects of psychological destructiveness.