To create a dialogue with interested persons in the technique of Sandplay Therapy and to make available some historical information on Dr. Margaret Lowenfeld, the author of this method, the Lowenfeld Mosaic Test, Kaleidoblocks and Poleidoblocks, as well as other Play Therapy techniques. Articles will be posted on this site on the use of Sandplay and other therapeutic tool used with children and families.
Sandplay, Sand Tray Therapy, The World Technique are all names given to a non-verbal therapeutic tool developed by Dr. Margaret Lowenfeld in London, England in the 1920’s. Today the term Sandplay is most widely used to denote this method of the use of sand and water in a tray in which toys or miniatures are placed. The scene or “world” gives both the maker and therapist a sense of what is going on intra-psychically. Lowenfeld began her training as a pediatrician and while engaged in research on infant feeding and the problems of child care she began to make observations which led her to recognize the significance of children’s play. In 1928 she founded a Children’s Clinic for the treatment and Study of Nervous and Difficult Children. It was here that Lowenfeld developed a research and therapeutically oriented approach to child psychiatry and to develop “toys for reading a child’s mind” or The World Technique. The story is told that Lowenfeld placed a sample of toys before a child client who cried out in excitement, “Caw Mam, it’s a whole world to play with”.
In 1931 Lowenfeld’s clinic moved to a new premises in order to accommodate the ever increasing demand for child psychiatry and its name was changed to the Institute of Child Psychology. By 1935 she and her colleagues had opened the first child psychotherapy training program in England. Also that year Lowenfeld published her theoretical ideas on play entitled, “Play In Childhood”, still considered a classic text on the subject. Lowenfeld saw in her unique therapy technique that play is a cognitive process which gives the therapist access to the ways in which children think.
“It is generally agreed that before the age of seven children are not able to express their thoughts and feelings in constructive language, although those aspects of mental functioning which register feeling and thought are present in very small children. In what way do children think, register and group their experience?”
The Transpersonal Sandplay Therapy Center is an independent counseling center for children and families in Greenwich, CT. For the past 16 years the Center has been providing therapy for children and families in the Tri-State area.