Chapter 5 explores the incorporation of sandplay therapy in the therapeutic hour. As such, the sandtray miniatures are employed on a metaphorical level and represent personal symbols whereby a client’s inner expression and experience can proceed unimpeded. Additionally, interpretive methods and skills are reviewed in an effort to augment the mental health professional’s proficiency when assessing sandtray worlds from a variety of methodologies.
When a therapist observes a sandtray creation they are also viewing the intrapsychic life of the people themselves. Whether one is working with children, adolescents, adults, families, or groups; whether one interprets utilizing Jungian symbolism, humanistic processes, family systems modalities, or developmental stage theories, the physical creation of the tray, in the here and now, allows the therapist to see through the eyes of the client while enabling growth and awareness which is the cornerstone for self-actualization. The following topics are reviewed and examined: an overview of sandplay therapy, with a focus on unconscious process, development and awareness, based upon the guiding principles of the main pioneers of sandtray therapy (Lowenfeld, Buhler, Kalff), the therapists role, how to incorporate interpretation into the therapeutic hour, and individual, group, and family sandplay therapy case illustrations.