chapter  2
11 Pages

Literature review

Jung had to follow a painful path in order to confront his unconscious (Jung, 1961). After he parted from Freud in 1912, Jung said, “a period of inner uncertainty began for me. It would be no exaggeration to call it a state of disorientation. I felt totally suspended in mid-air, for I had not yet found my own footing” (p. 170). In the midst of his despair, he consciously decided to submit himself to “the impulse of the unconscious” (p. 178). As he was guided by his unconscious, he reluctantly yielded to its command that he build little houses, castles, a village, as well as a church and an altar with the stones he found on the shores of Lake Zurich. This building game became a ritual for him and led to his eventual transformation. In addition to his building, Jung also engaged in active imagination, dream analysis, painting, and stone sculpturing as means of confronting his unconscious. In the end, Jung (1961) concluded:

The years when I was pursuing my inner images were the most important in my life . . . in them everything essential was decided. It all began then; the later details are only supplements and clarifications of the material that burst forth from the unconscious, and at first swamped me. It was the primer material for a lifetime’s work. (p. 199)

For Dora Maria Kalff, 1904-1990, the founder of the International Society for Sandplay Therapy, the key to opening the unconscious was sandplay therapy. After spending one year studying at the Lowenfeld’s Institute of Child Psychology in London and upon being encouraged by Jung, Kalff synthesized the Lowenfeld approach with a symbolic and archetypal orientation, and she founded Sandspiel or sandplay (Friedman and Mitchell, 1991). These authors stated:

Kalff viewed the sandplay process as a natural therapeutic modality that facilitated the expression of the archetypal, symbolic, and intrapersonal

world, as well as everyday alter reality. She believed that the expression of this reality, within a free and protective space created by the therapist, promoted images of wholeness, offering the opportunity for the manifestation of self. Kalff maintained that the manifestation of the self in the tray is necessary, for it serves as a base for the development and strengthening of the ego. When the ego-self connection has been established, the person functions in a more balanced and congruent manner. Through Kalff’s many years of observing the process, she realized that the manifestation of the self could be activated by using sandplay with adults as well as with children in an ongoing therapeutic process. (p. 20)

Kalff herself stated (Kalff, 1991):

The client is given the possibility, by means of figures and by the arrangement of the sand within the area bounded by the sand tray, to set up a world corresponding to his or her inner state. In this manner, through free, creative play, unconscious processes are made visible in a three-dimensional form and in a pictorial world that is comparable to the dream experience. Through a series of images that take shape in this way, the process of individuation, as described by C. G. Jung, is stimulated and brought to fruition. (p. 9)

Kalff ’s many successful therapeutic examples were illustrated in her book, Sandplay: A psychotherapeutic approach to the psyche (Kalff, 1980). What stood out the most about her was her patience, her empathy, her immediate presence, and her wisdom-all of which occurred while she was treating her clients.