A creative path to growth and healing.
Sometimes trying to “figure things out” intellectually can pull us away from the soul’s natural, intuitive process of healing. One of the limitations of talk therapy is, by definition, that it happens in words. Many of the struggles, disappointments, and wounds of our childhoods are hard to describe or even access in words. Sometimes when we talk we have a tendency to get mired in analytical thinking, or to feel at a loss because we have no words. Sandplay helps us tune into the voice of the soul.
Sandplay is a blend of art and drama and is especially helpful to people who are grieving a loss, recovering from trauma, or experiencing relationship difficulties. The sandplayer sits or stands at a large tray of wet or dry sand. She or he chooses from hundreds of colorful miniatures — religious and mythical symbols, people, shells, animals, fairy-tale figures — and creates a scene, much as a young child does at play.
People who first hear about sandplay often ask, “Is it something like a Rorschach test?” The answer is an emphatic no. It’s almost a paradox to speak of the “purpose” of doing a sandtray, since the focus is on play without rules or purpose, with the emphasis on the tangible experience of moving the objects in the sand. “It is the experiencing of molding the sand, of adding water in sprinkles or by cupfuls, of placing the objects, of burying them, of letting something happen, be it felt as creative or destructive, and of honoring whatever process takes over, that is healing,” writes Kay Bradway in Sandplay — Silent Workshop of the Psyche. Rather than reductively analyzing what is going on in the tray, the therapist attends to and appreciates the world that the client is creating within it.
You can do sandplay in the context of talk therapy. Or you can come in for a series of sessions devoted entirely to sandplay.
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With each sand tray we can discover and create images that can become inner touchstones for our lives, much the way symbols do in dreams and stories. In ancient cultures, creating images in sand is a traditional way to record sacred events and tales. Carl Jung discovered the healing power of sand while living on Lake Zurich. “We must be able to let things happen in the psyche,” he wrote. “For us, this is an art of which most people know nothing. Consciousness is forever interfering, helping, correcting, and negating, never leaving the psychic process to grow in peace.” This attending and appreciating — so rare in our analytic, critical culture — is at the basis of all therapy that nurtures the soul.
Since 1990 Jean Fitzpatrick has been helping people to recover from trauma and loss and to discover their creativity. For a free sandplay consultation, call Jean at (914) 941- 6478 or fill out this contact form.
Since 1990 I have helped hundreds of people in the New York area heal from pain, feel more confident and enjoy more fulfilling relationships. For a free telephone or email consultation, email or call me today.
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