The Importance of Personal Process for the Therapist

The Sandplay Therapy we apply in Hong Kong is one that has been developed by Dora Kalff. It is a method by which the client is offered an opportunity to explore his or her inner world of strengths and resilience through the use of sand, water, and miniature figures. This exploration involves moving about, whether to place the figurines or working with the sand. It is a play, a sensory experience, a concretizing of what is yet to be unfolded inside. The client’s unconscious presents what he/she is ready to deal with. The therapist acts as a facilitator who supports the client’s wish to explore, whether conscious or unconscious. This calls for the therapist or facilitator to have gone through the experience of what the process is about. First of all to make sure that the therapist’ own issues and needs would have been brought to consciousness and dealt with, so that they will not be projected onto the client. This is very important because we want to be clear that we are working on the client’s material and not our own in the sessions.

When the therapist has done his or her own process, there comes a personal understanding and echoing of the experience that a client might have also: the sheer excitement of just playing with the sand and building something straight from the heart; or the joy of seeing something from inside taking form in the tray, or the anguish of not knowing what to do in front of this pile of sand, or bewildered with the choice of figurines, or sensing something inside while playing and yet not knowing what it is about, or curious whether the facilitator knows the meaning of the tray. This inner understanding will help the therapist to hold the experience of the client even with all elements of unknowing at work so that the latter can be free to explore in a safe and protected space onto a journey that brings healing.

The number of personal process sessions the therapist needs to go through varies. What is vital is that the therapist approaches this experience with the desire to know his or her unconscious and not just a matter of fulfilling a requirement. Having done a personal process is not all, the therapist has to keep on gaining knowledge and insight into the meaning of the symbols presented in the trays, then and then only will the therapist be able to do his or her work well.

Prepared by: Lau Kit Yee, Magdalene in September 2011

個人成長歷程對治療師的重要性 – 劉潔懿女士

香港的沙遊治療乃從Dora Kalff發展而來的。在治療過程中,受助者通過沙、水、微型玩具的幫助,探索內心的強項與彈性。受助者可以在沙池旁邊徘徊和玩耍,決定如何擺放玩具或處理面前的泥沙,親身透過五官的感覺具體呈現一己的內心世界;受助者的潛意識,會帶領受助者,讓他/她知道自己想在此時此刻處理什麼問題。

治療師以誘導者的角色,幫助和支援受助者探索已經意識到和還未意識到的內心世界。這需要治療師自己曾經親身體驗過整個個人成長歷程,惟有這樣,治療師的個人問題和需要,才會被自己充份覺察,並得到恰當的處理,而不會在幫助受助者的過程中投射到對方身上。我們需要清楚知道,在治療過程中,是處理受助者的問題,而不是治療師本身的問題。

當治療師曾經經歷這個個人成長歷程,他/她便能夠明白和回應受助者的同類經驗。這些經驗可能包括:因為可以隨心所欲地跟泥沙玩耍而感到莫名的興奮;目睹內心的想法可以在沙池中呈現而感到歡愉無比;在面對泥沙時不知所措;在選擇玩具時猶豫不決;在玩耍過程中湧現莫名的感覺,迷惘張惶;擔憂治療師是否洞悉箇中意義。

因此,治療師的親身體驗,能夠有效幫助受助者充份接觸一己的感受,鼓勵對方在無拘無束和安全的環境下經歷整個歷程,取得療癒的果效。治療師的個人成長歷程可長可短,因人而異,最重要的是治療師本身期盼了解一己的潛意識,而不是把這個過程視為一項差事。經歷個人成長歷程後,治療師便可以透過學習和了解沙池中各符號的的意義和演繹,把治療師的工作做好。

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