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  • Catherine Lazen

What is Sandplay Therapy?

Sandplay Therapy is an internationally recognized modality in the family of Expressive Arts Therapies. Individuals, couples, groups -- people of all ages do it as a way to:


  • scaffold narrative writing skills

  • heal from traumatic events

  • mine insight, creativity

  • process grief

  • foster communication, community and teamwork

  • resolve conflict

  • activate childhood memories

  • practice mindfulness

  • develop mind/body awareness

  • deepen family/couple relationships


It is rooted in Jungian theory and related to the ancient, spiritual and universal practice of sand painting. The Navaho Indians, Tibetan monks, Chichimecca Indians of Mexico and the Dogon people of Mali are just a few cultures that divine wisdom from the making of temporary art in the sand and earth. When I facilitate sandplay therapy, people of all ages, create or co-create an assemblage or still life tableau using objects intuitively selected from my vast collection of miniatures, natural elements, symbols and archetypal figures. Like a lucid dream, participants engage the senses, emotions, memories and imagination. Memories or hidden meaning, metaphor and insight are brought to conscious awareness as the builder(s) of the still-life curates the assemblage. For both emerging and seasoned writers of all ages, the assemblage can act as a concrete scaffold that supports the writer at all phases of the compositional process. Like film makers, writers can begin to tell their story visually, in three dimensions. For people struggling with symptoms of stress, trauma, loss or relational conflict, the therapeutic process of sandplay can bring about healing, insight and empowerment.

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