About The Opengate Institute
Honouring the Two women who developed Sand Play Therapy – Dr Margaret Lowenfeld (paediatrician) and Dora Kalff
“We use toys, as does everyone who plays with children, or children who play with themselves. My own endeavour in my work with children is to devise an instrument with which a child can demonstrate his own emotional and mental state without the necessary intervention of an adult either by transference or interpretation, and which will allow of a record being made of such a demonstration.
My objective is to help children to produce something which will stand by itself and be independent of any theory as to its nature. The central task of psychotherapy is that of making contact with the whole of the patient’s mind, not only by intuition but by direct and conscious knowledge and understanding of the laws of mind. There are certain points about the nature of children’s thought that make this task particularly difficult.
A child does not think linearly as the adult is capable of doing: thought, feeling, sensations, concept and memory are all inextricably interwoven. A child’s thought is fluid and movement can take place on several planes at once. A child’s feeling is absolute in that any emotion, while it is present, holds the whole field of consciousness”.
Dr Margaret Lowenfeld
The security that results from this primary relationship is the basis of the third phase. During this phase, which begins around the end of the second year of life, the centre of the Self is stabilized in the unconscious of the child and begins to manifest itself in symbols of wholeness. During this time, the child plays or speaks in symbols of wholeness, using the same language of symbols that man has used consciously or unconsciously to express his wholeness throughout the ages and in all cultures.
The symbol plays a great role in Sandplay therapy, which I have expanded from the Lowenfeld World Technique. Hundreds of small figures of every conceivable type are provided. The child arranges any figure he chooses in the sand. The sand picture that is produced by the child can be understood as a three-dimensional representation of some aspect of his psychic situation”.