Sandplay Therapy in Petaluma

Jungian Psychotherapy in Petaluma, CA

What Is Sandplay Therapy?

Sandplay therapy is a psychotherapy approach developed by Jungian analyst, Dora Kalff. The process of sandplay therapy involves the creation of scenes out of small figures in a box of sand of a specified size. The sand may be wet or dry, depending on the client’s preference, and the client is permitted to be as creative as he or she would like, using as many figures in whatever manner is preferred. The idea behind sandplay therapy is that, within the context of the therapeutic relationship, the sandtray becomes a “free and protected space” in which the contents of the client’s psyche may emerge in symbolic form. The client and therapist attend to these images without interpreting them, allowing the psyche to unfold according to its own teleology.

Sandplay therapy is considered a non-verbal therapy, meaning that the healing “work” occurs on an unconscious level and does not require verbal expression or explanation. The goal of Jungian-oriented therapy is individuation, or the development of integration and relationship among various parts of the psyche. When clients engage in sandplay therapy in my practice, they find that their dream lives tend to “come alive.” Many clients use sandplay over the course of our time together as a way to integrate different threads of the work we have done. Clients with anxiety find working in the sand to be soothing, while clients with histories of trauma find it to be a powerful method of healing past injuries without having to confront traumatic material directly. I like to think of the sandtray as a container that gives psyche a safe place to be manifested and attended to in the world. Sil Machado, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in Santa Rosa, CA. He works extensively with individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, and trauma-related issues.  Dr. Machado takes an integrative approach in which he blends depth and experiential psychotherapies, such as sandplay therapy, with evidece-based, cutting edge practices, such as CBT/DBT and neurofeedback, in a manner suited to the unique needs of each client.