How are miniatures and sand used for therapy?
The sandbox contains sand representing the earth; the blue of the box base, water and the blue sides of the box, the air. Two trays are offered : one with dry sand, one with damp. A comprehensive collection of miniatures including people, animals, landscape features, natural objects, buildings, structures and abstract objects have the potential to create scenes expressing and resolving inner conflict.

Is Sandplay only for children?
Sandplay is effective with adults and adolescents as well as children. Practitioners working with these age groups also have training in child and adolescent development. Some Sandplay practitioners work solely with adults.  Practitioners typically have additional trainings with specific client groups and presentations e.g. couples / family / disability / mental health issues.

Can any child do Sandtray?
Most children can enjoy and benefit from Sandplay. Young / immature / developmentally delayed children may need to engage with play or sensory therapy initially or additionally. There are practitioners who are trained in these areas as well as Sandplay.


Is the training advertised through Sandplay Aotearoa NZQA approved?
No, it is not. It has, however, wide acceptance as Professional Development by NZ counselling and therapy bodies.

Is the training advertised through Sandplay Aotearoa approved by ISST or STANZA?
Yes,  Carina Conradie CST-T and Jean Parkinson CST-T are ISST Certified Sandplay Therapists and Teaching Members.  Both are members of STANZA, Sandplay Therapy Association, NZ and Australia, approved by ISST in 2023. The programmes are based on the practices of Sandplay Therapy developed by Dora Kalff.

What is the difference between Sandtray and Sandplay?
SANDTRAY is a generic term referring to the technique of using miniatures in a shallow box partly filled with sand. Sandtray is taught in Level 1 By Carina and Jean.

SANDPLAY is the term created by Dora Kalff to differentiate her Jungian-oriented technique from Margaret Lowenfeld’s ‘World Technique’. Sandplay: Past, Present and Future (2006). p.xv. Sandplay is taught in Levels 2-4 by Carina and Jean

Is Sandplay Therapy supported by empirical research?
The authors of Sandplay: Past, Present and Future (2006) p.87 note that since 1970 studies (in English) have ‘used a variety of investigative approaches that range from

  • those that are empirically based with large sample size
  • surveys assessing how Sandplay is used currently
  • idiosynchratic case studies that have been approved for inclusion in the ISST archives’.
  • Research by Lorraine Freedle PhD, CST-T; Paediatric Neuropsychologist. Dr Freedle has published  numerous professional journal articles and chapters in the areas of sandplay, neuropsychology and trauma. Research Editor for the Journal of Sandplay Therapy

There continues to be considerable research undertaken, some in other languages, notably Italian and Japanese.

Are there any client groups for whom Sandplay Therapy is not suitable?
In general, Sandplay Therapy is inadvisable

  • if the practitioner has not experienced a personal, in depth process with a qualified Sandplay Therapist in order to have first-hand knowledge of the power of the technique. Sandplay: Past, Present and Future (2006). p.82
  • if the practitioner and supervisor are not skilled with specific client groups or depth psychology
  • Strong resistance to sandplay
  • Insufficiently developed maturational level
  • Excessive emotional energy
  • Poor ego strength, as in psychotic, severely dissociated, or border-line clients
  • Obsessive-compulsive ritualistic behaviour and thinking

Bradway, K. & McCoard, B. (1999). Sandplay: Silent workshop of the psyche. NY: Routledge

Why is it recommended to engage in your own process of Sandplay before learning about it?
The Practice of Sandplay Therapy
Dora Kalff: Founder of Sandplay Therapy

“In the hands of a properly prepared therapist, sandplay is a powerful, invaluable modality. The operative word is “powerful”. To the extent that any method can heal, so can it do harm.

Therefore, I urgently advise that even a psychotherapist experienced in other methodologies, who contemplates practicing sandplay, should have had a deep personal experience doing a sandplay process as a patient. This should be undertaken with a qualified sandplay therapist.

Certified sandplay therapists are members of national sandplay organizations and the International Society for Sandplay Therapy. All sandplay therapists must undertake an extended period of training and careful supervision with a certified sandplay therapist. To attempt to do sandplay any other way is irresponsible”.

Kalff, D. ( Reprint  2003). Sandplay: a psychotherapeutic approach to the psyche. USA: Temenos Press