Web Journals


Winter A & Winter B 2004

Journal Vol. 4 No. 1.4

Journal Vol. 4 No. 2

Journal Vol. 4 No. 3

Journal Vol. 6 No. 1

Part 1, 2, 3

Journal Vol. 6 No. 2

Journal Vol. 7 No. 1

Journal Vol. 7 No. 2






A Glimpse into Understanding the Use of Symbols

















When we have earth, water, our breath, and fire...
When we have energy...
When we have images of all sorts...

When we have a place that is ours...

We can shape, flow, change...
We can create, move, destroy...

We can be in a state of at-one-ment with
ourselves and with nature.
We can begin to fathom life on the earth-plane.

We can begin to connect to our community and
our humanness.

We learn how to create and how to renew ritual.

We can bring together spirit and soul in a dance.

We discover freedom and limits
From a new perspective

Symbols, images and objects are suitable containers for living experiences. Objects are symbols while positioned on the shelves in our sandplay room.  As soon as they are seen, touched, handled, played with and/or placed into the World, they are "charged" with the builder's reality.  They become containers for a living reality that is personal and belongs first and foremost to the builder.

Unless the facilitator is involved in joint play with his/her client, he/she had best avoid touching any of the objects in the sandtray.  In order to avoid invading the client's private, personal and sacred space, the facilitator sits at a respectful distance and does not speak about his personal understanding of symbols and their meaning.

The different images used in play promote the expression of diverse experiential realities.  They enable clients to simultaneously represent many different facets of one experience and the complex relationships between multiple experiences.  Images allow the client to express his/her reality as perceived by the different bodies of consciousness in the different realms of reality.  They take on the function of language.

Images, when experienced, take on a numinous character: they promote projection of the builder's internal experience and they evoke sentient experiences in the builder.  Images not only carry personal meanings for the builder, but also tend to evoke archetypal and genetic revelatory experiences that often create reparative experiences for the player.  Thus, playful experiencing of images often helps birth new possibilities and new solutions.

It is important to notice the coming and going of the various images during a person's sandplay journey.  The actual character of the images is often fluid: the experienced meaning of images changes and is transformed during each play process and play session.  Accordingly, the facilitator needs to be initiated into their nature each time.  There are no real shortcuts when dealing with images at play.

Gisela Schubach De Domenico, Ph.D., is the originator, master teacher, and international guest lecturer of Experiential Sandtray-Worldplay and Dynamic Expressive Playtherapy.  She developed the Vision Quest Into Symbolic Reality Training Course, and facilitates transformational sandplay groups for men, women and youth.  She is a registered Play Therapist Supervisor and a Marriage, Family and Child Therapist.