Sandplay

I’ve just read about 140 pages of “Sandplay Therapy” by Barbara Labovitz Boik and Anna Goodwin. It’s a down-to-earth manual with step by step instructions about how to use this technique in clinical contexts. It’s not a theoretically ambitious book. Yet the technique does impress me as very interesting and powerful; the book offers very clear guidelines and I’m sure I will start using it in my private practice.

I am surprised by how Jungian the authors are. They are focused on producing meanings, actually in making each patient saturate her or his sand tray with images loaded with meanings. In theory this is the opposite to what Lacanian analysts do; the latter are supposed to concentrate on the signifier, the symbolic relations, and to patiently wait for meanings to erupt at certain specific points  when discourse breaks up-for instance in Freudian slips, memory lapses, etc. Also, this strain of Jungians seems not to interpret what patients say, because they believe that the unconscious does all the healing by itself. The psychologist is just a witness that “holds” the patient’s work.

Of course, in spite of how analysts describe their practice, they end up doing more or less the same, no matter which theory they adhere to.

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