Sandplay is an expressive play therapy
tool used by children, adolescents, adults, families, couples and groups.  Miniature images, sand and water are used in a tray of sand to create patterns, Worlds and/or
dramatic play processes.

It is used in a context of ritual, transformation, or healing. The sandplay process promotes self-expression, shared visions and community with others.

Sandplay or sandtray therapy, or Worldplay or the Lowenfeld World Technique was born in the 1920's when Margaret Lowenfeld MD used play with miniature figures, sand, and water in a blue bottomed, aluminum metal tray container in her 1920's London Play Therapy Clinic. She had been inspired by a childhood reading of H. G. Well's Floorgames (1906).  H. G. Wells and his sons played Floorgames; they chose miniature play materials stored on bookshelves to create dramatic play scenes on the floor of a room cleared of all other furnishings.  These games allowed the Wells family a means of exploring a world beyond war.  Wells recommended that all politicians, national leaders, and children have access to a good course of Floorgames.

Lowenfeld, like Klein, Freud and Winnicott understood that children need tools other than language to communicate and make sense of their experiences.  She also recognized the innate capacity of play to transform and integrate limited worldviews.  In her wisdom she not only added the container that holds and magnifies the play but also the elements earth (sand) and water which allow for the expression of very complex biological and metaphysical states.  The apparatus allowed a child to make sense of his/her life experiences.  It was not used to facilitate the therapist's ability to interpret the child's reality.

Lowenfeld's child clients used the materials with great enthusiasm.   The apparatus was inviting, versatile, and multidimensional.  It required no particular skills.  In fact, one child called it, "a whole World to play with" which inspired her to sometimes refer to it as Worldplay (Weltspiel).  She herself also referred to it as the World Apparatus, and the Lowenfeld World Technique.

During the more than 75 years that have passed since Lowenfeld integrated sandplay into her clinic therapists, teachers, consultants, and researchers with very diverse theoretical orientations have provided the apparatus to their clients and research subjects.  Over time, sandplay has been used to help people connect and be mindful of the personal, interpersonal, archetypal, terrestrial, and transpersonal realms of reality. Practitioners have used it to promote increased capacity for consciousness, self-healing, teaching, learning, creativity, communication, and healthy interpersonal relationship.

Read more about "What's in a Name"

A training group is about to start.  We have gathered in a circle.  Everyone has been instructed to quietly move to music, to Introducing Sandtray-Worldplay breathe gently, be with the core of their being, and find one image that speaks to them. Soon everyone moves toward the shelves of images, looking for one that brings form to the way they are today.  Some return with one, some return with two and some even have three, for we all know that images create composite clusters of experiences that are held in unity of meaning by the one who chooses them.

In this particular workshop, we use a rainstick as talking stick:  before each one of us presents our image(s) and makes a precious part of our inner beingness visible for all to see, we take the rainstick and sound ourselves in. All of us enter into the time and space of ritual talking-sharing and of silently-receiving.  In other workshops, we use Tibetan bells or rattles.

The Master Teacher has chosen sandtray.  It has been placed on the floor in the center of our circle. A lit candle is placed into the center of the World-to-be. We all sit quietly, stirring with expectation.

Read more about "Introducing Sandtray-Worldplay™"
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