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What is Jungian Sandplay?

Many counsellors and creative therapists integrate the use of miniatures and sandtrays into their work, and there are wide variations in terms of methods / techniques. The terminology can also sound a bit obscure so I want to be as clear as I can for those of you deciding to engage in this way.


The Jungian approach to sandplay is a powerful way of working with deep levels of experience which supports our innate organic capacity for healing, given the right conditions.  You will be invited to create scenes or images using sand, water and miniature objects within a large rectangular tray. Sandplay works in a similar way to how the storylines, symbols and characters within our dreams can navigate issues we are barely aware of.


As sandplay can work simultaneously with both conscious and unconscious processes it has the potential to bring a sense of "connection" to the self on a deep level. 

Jungian sandplay can be particularly helpful if you are feeling stuck, insecure, out of touch with yourself or as if you have lost direction in life. It also makes therapy more accessible for you if you find it hard to talk or if you need to work at a level which is simply unreachable verbally, for example because it stems from very early life or traumatic experiences.


I am a registered professional member of the Association of Sandplay Therapists. My membership of AST means that I subscribe to an ethical charter and I receive specialised consultation for this work. 

The results of a sandplay process are far from instantaneous, yet over time they can be profound.  Sandplay is without doubt the modality within which I have seen the deepest healing, both in myself and people I have worked with.  It is not "play" in the sense we sometimes understand it as being "for children", but rather "play" in the sense of the "thinking" brain being suspended in the interests of entering into the brain areas where pain and trauma are stored and where healing is possible.  I am very happy to speak to you further about the neuroscientific basis for this; I'm just trying to hold back from too much info-dumping ;) 

You may like to watch this short video by Barbara Turner, currently regarded as one of the most experienced Jungian Sandplay therapists worldwide and who I am very fortunate to have been supervised by during my training:

Sandplay Therapy - A Brief Overview - YouTube 


Although quite long and detailed, the following video gives good insight into what goes on in sandplay including the personal perspectives of two adult participants:

Sandplay Therapy - YouTube

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In a Jungian sandplay process it is necessary as far as possible to suspend the wish to understand and to foster trust in the resources of your own psyche* to heal, integrate and achieve greater wholeness.


*In psychology the psyche is the centre of thought, feeling and motivation. It governs and directs our reactions to people and situations in both conscious and unconscious ways

It is your choice how often you complete a sandtray during our sessions and how much or little you talk or share with me about the process. My role is to be present rather than to analyse, interpret or question what you are doing. The quality of your experience depends crucially on me not entertaining notions of myself as some sort of expert on what it all means but on “holding” the unknown aspects of your psyche with respect and trust.

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This is a picture of sand under a microscope by Dr Gary Greenberg - Microscope Photography Art Video Film Services Book Lectures Talks

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