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by Dyane N. Sherwood, Betty C. Jackson
How do therapists discover a healing method that really works for them and inspires their own life's work? Unlike most books in the field of psychotherapy, which focus on the application of theory and practice to working with clients, this volume takes a step back, exploring through personal narrative the path of the therapist.
How and why did these therapists from all over the world stumble onto an unusual expressive modality called sandplay? Did they find it, or did it find them? And once found, what called them to experience firsthand and then to specialize in this unusual therapeutic method offering sand, water, and miniature figures and symbols for creative expression?
In a field where talk therapy has been the gold standard for more than a century, this unique volume of stories shares what compelled these therapists to commit to a modality emphasizing not words, but the power of image and image-making to facilitate healing.
Contemporary neuroscience research has drawn attention to the importance of expressive, nonverbal modalities. These methods can access body memories that that have not reached our verbal awareness. The incorporation of sandplay into a therapy process can facilitate neural integration of touch, sight, proprioception, motor systems, the autonomic nervous system, associative and memory systems activated by the miniatures, and then, through reflection on the completed tray, forebrain regions involved in higher level emotional self-regulation and integrated decision-making.
In the process of reading these stories, you will learn that sandplay is not simply a technique. It is based upon values derived from the Analytical Psychology of C. G. Jung and the Buddhist practice of its founder, Dora Kalff. In sandplay, the patient-therapist relationship is based upon integrity, respect, and safety. A patient in therapy is invited to make a spontaneous creation in a sand tray, with the option of adding water and miniatures, as well as natural and decorative objects. The therapist, who has extensive training, is most often a quiet witness of the process. Together, they observe, but do not interpret, the production in the tray. Sand trays are made as often or seldom as the patient chooses over the course of the therapy. In this milieu, solutions to the patient's dilemma emerge rather than being directed by the therapist.
If you are interested in the unconscious, creative expression, and healing from the depths, then you will want to read this book.