The Sandplay Process

Inuit Spirit Guide Figures by Julie Shultz

Sandplay therapy or the Sandplay Process is a specific form of depth work wherein clients create images in a sandtray by either molding the sand or using an array of miniatures to allow expression of unconscious material.  This page is designed to answer some of the frequently asked questions about this modality.  The method I use is that elaborated by Dora Kalff.  If you are looking for a certified Sandplay Therapist in your area, you can get a list of certified therapists from the International Society. 

Therapists who are interested in Sandplay or who want to get started doing Sandplay with their clients should get involved with the Sandplay Therapists of America or the International Society of Sandplay Therapists.  The STA/ISST strongly recommend that any therapist interested should begin by doing his or her own process with a certified Sandplay therapist.  The requirements for becoming a certified member of the STA/ISST are well outlined.  Some of the frequently asked technical questions are:

Information for my clients:   I have experienced my own process and am now a teaching member of the STA/ISST.  I welcome the opportunity to accompany you on your journey with the sand so that you too can experience its wonder, teaching and healing. 

  • Who can make use of the Sandplay Process?
    Any of my psychotherapy clients who wish to use the sand may do so.  You will not be required to work in the sand, but it will be made available if you are interested.
  • How long will the sessions last?
    The typical psychotherapy session is 50 minutes long and that will not change. We will adhere to the time limits so that there will be enough time in between your session and the next person's session to photograph your tray, to remove all the figures from the tray and to set up for the next session.
  • Basic Instructions:
    Please do not read anything about Sandplay Therapy in textbooks or other materials if you are planning to embark on a process in the sand. The psyche must do its work, unfettered by the intervention of our thinking or knowing things. Thinking can be a defense and part of what we wish to accomplish in the sand is to give the psyche a safe and protected space to express itself. So if you have bought any books, put them away.
  • Come to the sand naive to the process and follow these instructions:

Do whatever you want in the sand.

That is it, pure and simple.  Use the trays in any way you see fit.  There will be a wet tray and a dry tray plus an array of figures from which to pick and choose.  I will be there to witness the process and to help you find or make whatever you need in your play in the sand.  I will also ensure that it will be a protected experience.


 If you have more questions, feel free to contact me.
I look forward to meeting you and accompanying you on your journey.

Frank Adair


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