The Satir Journal, Volume 1 No 3
ISSN - (print) 1718-2050
ISSN – (online) 1718-2069
Satir in the Sand Tray: Facilitating Peace Within
Susan Ford, M.S.W., R.S.W.
Certified Trauma Specialist
"Counselling for Change" - Ottawa, Canada
This paper describes how the Parts Party, one of the therapeutic techniques developed by Virginia Satir, was integrated with DeDomenico’s Sandtray-Worldplay Therapy to help a client resolve intrapsychic conflict. The emotional distress of unmet childhood biopsychological needs creates intrapsychic conflict that can be difficult to resolve. Satir defined intrapsychic conflict as non-congruence, or an absence of harmony, clarity and emotional honesty. Sandtray-Worldplay Therapy (ST-WP) is a phenomenological method of sandplay that pre-supposes that the unconscious is used to pathologizing real experience and to undermine the freedom of creative expression. This Integrative Method is an effective tool for resolving intrapsychic conflict because the two methods are compatible on a number of levels. Each is experiential, providing an opportunity for multi-dimensional application and interpretation. Each operates from a strength-based approach and assumes that individuals have within them the key to the potential transformation and resolution of their problems.
Both the Satir Model and Sandtray-Worldplay allow the therapist to tailor the healing journey to fit the client, rather than trying to fit the client into a particular school of psychotherapy. Both methods require the therapist to possess a high degree of self-awareness. In addition, both methods use an externalization and symbolization process to help individuals work on what is often hard to articulate and to make contact with, namely, their intrapsychic processes and conflicts.
As therapeutically powerful as the traditional Parts Party method is, moving this from a two-dimensional to a three-dimensional medium, using figures that the client can choose, hold, and move, can strengthen the anchoring aspect of the therapeutic process. Like the Parts Party, sand tray play helps clients identify and acknowledge their inner resources and strengths, thus facilitating change. This Integrative Method provides a clear path to congruence because of the power of the creative intrapsychic housecleaning that the client uses.
About the contributor
Susan Ford is a Satir practitioner in the Ottawa area and member of the Satir Learning Centre.
e- mail: Susan Ford
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