Dora Kalff on sandplay work with children (directed by Peter Ammann)

The great Dora Kalff talking about her work with children.

Fascinating bit at the end on client Mark’s tray from the beginning of therapy.

We have two sand trays here, and see clients derive huge benefit from working with them.

Palace Gate Counselling Service

Here are some further resources – this is the reading list one of our therapists provided for a recent workshop she offered on this subject (so reflects her views and tastes). Not much that’s specifically person-centred on this theme, but there’s quite a lot of interesting material around. Lots that’s Jungian, unsurprisingly.


Sandplay, A Psychotherapeutic Approach to the Psyche: Dora Kalff (liked this a lot)
January 1, 1986

‘Review: The republication of Sandplay: A Psychotherapeutic Approach to the Psyche is an especially important contribution to the field of sandplay. This seminal, classic book had been out of print for several years and sorely missed.

The 2003 edition by Temenos press opens with a new and riveting foreword by Dr. Martin Kalff about the life of his mother, Dora M. Kalff. His “experience near” delivery of thought and feeling brings to the reader a special intimacy with Dora Kalff’s personal and professional life experiences.

Temenos is scrupulous in retaining Dora Kalff’s original words, but has added useful material which makes it possible to use Sandplay: A Psychotherapeutic Approach to the Psyche as a reference book: a detailed new table of illustrations where chapters, pages and captions are clearly cross referenced, a table of works cited which is also “user friendly,” and finally an excellent index.

In chapter 1, Sandplay: A Pathway to the Psyche, Dora Kalff lays out the phases fo psychic development. The reader is immediately struck by her teaching style, an by the generous number of illustrations. Chapters 2 through 10 are case histories. To me these chapters read not only like clinical case histories but also like biographical vignettes that happen to be “clinical.” One not only understands but gets the “feel” of how Kalff worked. Some of the chapters are : Kim, a 12-year old- with learning problems; James, a 16-year-old who experienced early trauma; Dede, a 5-year-old with a speech block; Ursula, a young woman suffering from depression; and Eric, a man with a blushing problem. Other chapters deal with issues of anxiety, enuresis, passivity, and isolation. The book’s conclusion confirms Kalff’s related wisdom.’ (reviewer on Amazon: Joyce Cunningham)

Sandplay, Past, Present & Future: Harriet Friedman & Rie Rogers Mitchell Didn’t especially warm to this book, but it is hugely informative as an overview and good on the history.
Publication Date: 10 Feb 1994 | ISBN-10: 0415101379 | ISBN-13: 978-0415101370

Sandplay: Silent Workshop of the Psyche: Kay Bradway, Barbara McCoard Interesting book by Kay Bradway (humanistic, Jungian), including quite a few client studies. Found this more readable and more in tune with PCA than some. Good intro.
Publication Date: 2 Jan 1997 | ISBN-10: 0415150752 | ISBN-13: 978-0415150750

Review ‘This book is informative and reader friendly. It examines the origins, theory and practice of sandplay therapy. The book is well organised and is divided into three distinct sections that encompass and explore many aspects of this type of therapy. Part one which is entitled “backgrounds and reflections” focuses on the overview of the whole area of sandplay as a therapy. Part two “symbol study” looks at a number of frequently used symbols used in sandplay. In the final part of the book the author talks about 10 of her own individual cases which include adults and children.’ (reviewer on Amazon: thejewel)

Healing & Transformation in Sandplay: Creative Processes made visible: Ruth Ammann (Jungian, studied with Dora Kalff, talks about dreams, archetypes, myths, stories/tales too – and lots of practical stuff)
Publication Date: 1 Dec 1991 | ISBN-10: 0812691415 | ISBN-13: 978-0812691412

Images of the Self: The Sandplay Therapy Process: Estelle Weinrib (Jungian, studied with Dora Kalff – interesting book and quite readable)

Review ‘Within the context of the study of sandplay therapy IMAGES OF THE SELF is a classic and in my opinion a must for any psychotherapist who owns a sand tray. It is a text that will interest and inform both the beginner and the experienced psychotherapist. Weinrib is masterful in describing this non-verbal modality. Her skill along with lots of photos of patients’ sandplays afford the reader an in-depth understanding of sandplay therapy. In Part One of the book the author describes sandplay and its analytic underpinnings. Some chapter titles included are: A Free and Protected Space, A Comparison of Verbal Analysis and Sandplay, Resistance and A Safe Outlet for Aggression. Part Two consists of a riveting case presentation of a man in his twenties. Sandplay photos found on nearly every other page make the case presentation flow smoothly. IMAGES OF THE SELF is excellent!’ (Amazon review – anon)

Jungian Sandplay: The Wonderful Therapy: Joel Ryce-Menuhin (Jungian, studied with Dora Kalff – also readable and interesting, with good case study material)
Publication Date: November 20, 1991 | ISBN-10: 0415047765 | ISBN-13: 978-0415047760

Review ‘Jungian Sandplay is a valuable contribution to the sandplay therapy literature. It is a very readable book and accesible to both the beginner and the experienced psychotherapist. Ryce-Menunin describes sandplay therapy while also sharing with the reader his opinions and clinical experience. The author does not limit himself to Jungian references. Quotes from Jung and Winnicott help bridge analytic and psychoanalytic perspectives in service of healing and development. This one hundred and twenty page book focuses on what is essential. Through word and image Ryce-Menuhin shows the reader how this non-verbal technique “can help patients express beyond words and before words the deepest archetypal images projected from the unconscious.” Ryce-Menuhin surprises the reader by starting the book with an account of his first experience with sandplay. He tells that he was a depressed analysand when he “reluctantly entered the sandplay room and made the first sandplay with painstaking effort.” The author also closes the book with a personal experience. The inclusion of this personal material helps the reader locate the author in the context of the short history of Sandplay. The second and third chapters are informative and I find them to be a good teaching resource. At the heart of the book are four case studies accompanied by thirty-three color photographs of sandplay scenes. The Story of Agnes describes the case of an adolescent girl who entered puberty when her parents divorced. Marie’s case is about a woman grieving her sister’s death. The Story of Clive is about a man with a history of traumatic childhood ego damage. The third section of the book includes the author’s “controversial theory of the psyche as it maps into the sand.” Diagrams of these “mappings” illustrate the author’s findings. Through this theoretically and clinically sophisticated book, Ryce-Menuhin has made a valuable contribution to the study and clinical practice of sandplay therapy.’ (Amazon review – anon)

Sandtray Therapy: A Practical Manual: Linda E. Homeyer, Daniel S. Sweeney
Publication Date: December 16, 2010 | ISBN-10: 0415883342 | ISBN-13: 978-0415883344 | Edition: 2

Reviews: ‘I have purchased many therapy books which would be presented as practical manuals only to get quickly lost in theory, thus leaving the reader wondering how this technique is actually supposed to be implemented in clinical practice. This book, on the other hand, is exactly what it is presented as, that is, a practical manual for sand therapy.’ (Amazon review by Italy 78)

‘Linda Homeyer has done an outstanding job of presenting the nuts and bolts of sandtray therapy with this book. If you have to choose one book to purchase on this topic, this would be it. Well-organized and information and worth the price.’ (Amazon review by A Morris)

Emergence: Essays on the process of individuation through sand tray therapy, art forms, and dreams: Jeannette Pruyn Reed 1980


There’s quite a bit of interesting resource on You Tube – here are a few starting points….

A Child-centred demo session with Jodi Ann Mullen and her 6 year old son:-

Dora Kalff on sandplay work with children (directed by Peter Ammann). Fascinating bit at the end on client Mark’s tray from the beginning of therapy:-

Barbara Turner talking through a Jungian way of working with sand (bit directive/medical model/prone to generalizations for my tastes, but lot of interesting content):-

Jennifer Kerner and Jill Weadick doing filmed session from their ‘Introduction to Sand Tray & Play Therapy’ training (annoying and noisy fan for a while from about 5 mins in!):-

Jill Weadick on working with a specific adult client:-

This entry was posted in clients' perspective, creativity, Dora Kalff, Jung, Palace Gate Counselling Service, person centred, physical being, relationship, sandtray / sandplay, therapeutic growth, therapeutic relationship, working with clients and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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