Student #6- A Brief History of Sandtray Therapy

by Sand Tray Therapy Student
(Atlanta, Ga. USA)

The person who used and developed the sandtray therapy method was Margret Lowenfeld. She used the sand tray therapy as a living language that was used to communicate through the use of miniatures. She came up with the idea of using sand as part of therapy after reading a book called ‘Floor Games.’ The book was written by H. G. Wells and it talked about the use of miniature toys in an intricate play with his sons. Lowenfeld took that further by taking it into a metal tray filled with sand and water. The referred to the sandtrays that her child clients created as their “world” where the client was the maker and the therapist was the witness of the creation who helped to de-code what the client was trying to communicate. This technique was called the “Lowenfeld World Technique.” However, a Jungian therapist by the name of Dora Kalff was the person who expanded and popularized sandtray therapy and was the first to use the term ‘sandplay.’ Kalff saw the therapist as a mother figure in therapy and had a very nurturing role in the therpy process. She also started the concept of open shelves and believed that transference was beneficial in sessions. Another notable person in sandtray therapy history is Gisela De Domenico. She was trained directly by Dora Kalff bu developed an approached referred to as the “Sandtray Worldplay.” In her technique, she focused a great deal on ego wounds and ancestral issues. She was critical in the role of bringing in multiculturalism into snadtray therapy.

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