Sand play offers a wonderful invitation for adults, not just for children – an invitation into a symbolic world that emerges from the interior, from the unconscious. The stage is set by a sand tray (specifically designed) and a host of miniatures representing many aspects of life: people, fantasy figures, spiritual and magical symbols, animals, buildings and household objects, vehicles, nature (miniature trees, sticks, shells, stones), and more. The invitation is simple: in the safety of this “free and protected” space, let yourself be drawn by particular objects (and their symbolic meaning, whether you recognize it in the moment or not) and by the sand itself, and see what takes shape in the sand tray.
What is the point of this free exploration? Without offering too much theory, I will just say that sand play may be understood as a form of spontaneous inner work that reflects the perspective of C.G. Jung: the psyche has a natural capacity for healing, and what emerges from the depths of the unconscious offers subtle yet powerful pathways to this healing. This is active imagination at work – or rather, “in play.” As scenes and worlds take form and are directly experienced, long forgotten themes may play themselves out. Personal and archetypal symbols may present themselves. New possibilities and perspectives may take shape.
It is important to emphasize that in classic sand play, the facilitator/guide/counselor does not direct the process. I create a safe space and witness the unfolding process. I may take some notes. When the creator feels the process is complete, I listen to whatever wants to be said about the process or the scene. I may ask some questions or wonder about something as we reflect together – but I do not “interpret.” Any symbolic meanings (both conscious and unconscious) are yours to experience. And some people begin by just exploring the experience of the sand itself.
You are welcome to do sand play as little or as often as you like in sessions. I invite you to explore.