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