303 – Aaron

Course 303 ~ Sandplay Case Lesson Material
  1. Download & print the test to structure your study of the Sandplay case
  2. Read about the case study & print the study guidelines
  3. Review each sand tray in the case, using the study guidelines to answer the test questions
Remember to keep your answers brief and to the point

 Sandplay Case Lessons – Individuation

Guidelines for Examination of Relationships in Sandplay

The Case of Aaron

To help us better understand individuation in Sandplay, we will examine the Case of Aaron, which is well-documented in The Handbook of Sandplay Therapy. We will approach this study by tracking the various qualities of relationship within each tray, and the changes in relationships between trays.

Print a Copy of the Course Test & Answer the Questions on the Study Guidelines (below) Maximum length = 15 pages including questions. Keep answers very short. No need for complete sentences.

When you are ready, attach your questions & answers as a Word Document to Dr. Turner

Review – Individuation has to do with aligning the ego with the Self. As we recall, the shadow consists of psychic material that has been in the domain of consciousness, but has been repressed, because it is intolerable to the ego. Individuation comes about by bringing shadow material in to consciousness, a process known as integrating. As the ego integrates, or accepts these formerly cast off qualities of the personality, it grows in to greater alignment with the wholeness of the Self.

Individuation is not necessarily clearly discernable in the sandplay process, and it is not a discrete event. Rather, individuation occurs in bits and pieces over the course of the Sandplay process, as shadow material is integrated. By paying close attention to the changes in relatedness, my hope is that we will become more aware of the individuation process. In any case, expanding awareness of the nature and changes in relationships in the Sandplay process is an invaluable skill for the therapist, as it strengthens his or her capacity to hold and contain the process.

Use the Test Materials to structure your study of the fifteen trays in Aaron’s Sandplay case, examining each tray for evidence of relationship between figures, sand, tray, client, water, and so on. Then, take a close look at any repetitions and/or changes in relationships between trays, and over the course of the whole process.

 Use the reading material as a resource, and remember to draw from the index in the Handbook to supplement your understanding. I strongly encourage you to use The Handbook to supplement your understanding of Aaron’s work. Doing so will broaden and deepen your understanding of many other dimensions of Sandplay, as well as support your study of relationships in the trays.

 Use the following Guidelines for Examination of Relationships in Sandplay, and feel free to add any other observations you make during your study.

Study Guidelines

The intent of this exercise is to become aware of relationships in Sandplay, to notice qualities and changes in relationship over the process, and to discern how these symbolic configurations carry psychic change, strengthening the ego-Self axis in the individual process. This exercise is designed to help you develop a beginning awareness of some of the innumerable dimensions in the sandplay process. Be kind to yourself. This is a discovery process, and there are no hard fast rights or wrongs.

 Have fun!

Use these general guidelines to track the nature and changes of relatedness, and the shadow elements in Aaron’s sandplay work. Examine each tray in the Case of Aaron and make notes about the following. Keep your responses brief. These are suggested dimensions of relationship in sandplay. Please add any others you observe.

 Identify the Major Relationships in the Sandplay

This has to do with what is in relationship.

Some possible elements of relationship in sandplay are:

The relationship of figures to one another (Are figures next to each other, doing things together, etc.?)

The relationship of groups or clusters of figures within group (Are figures grouped, how?)

The relationship of groups or clusters of figures to other groupings (Do clusters relate to other clusters?)

The relationship of client to figures (Does client like, hate a figure, find it repulsive?)

The relationship of client to sand (Does client touch or work the sand?)

The relationship of figures to sand (Do figures have some meaningful relationship to the sand/ground? Do they stand firmly, fall over, are they buried, etc.?)

The relationship of connectors (Are there paths through the woods, to the house? Are land masses connected with bridges? Are there barriers between figures?)

 For example, you might see a circle of trees. The trees are related by virtue of their placement in a circle. You might see a cluster of people, or animals fighting with each other. These are related by their interaction. You might see a king and queen in a walled castle. They are not in direct relationship to what is outside the walls. How does that feel? What might be the significance of this separation?)

 Identify Possible Shadow Elements in the Sandplay

Here we look for psychic qualities that are unacceptable to the ego

They may appear as dark figures (less conscious)

They may be ugly or foreboding (repulsive to ego)

They may be frightening (unknown and threatening)

They may be hidden (not in conscious awareness)

 Describe the Extent of Relationships in Sandplay

Degree of Relationship : High – None/chaos

Felt Quality of Relationship: Fluid/warm – Rigid/cold

Significance of Relationship: Meaningful/makes sense – Strange/out of place

Overall Association of Relationships Between Items in the Tray as a Whole/Parts: Connectors – Barriers

Quality of client’s relationship to sand: Active/comfortable – untouched

Examine Relationships Between Trays

This has to do with any changes in symbolic construction observed through the relationships from one tray to the next, and between trays in the overall process.

What relationships, or qualities of relationships remain the same between the trays?

For example, what relationships in Tray 2 are similar to those in Tray 1? How are they similar? If we see a golden rock in the center of a village in Tray 1, and in Tray 2 we see a golden temple in the center of a city, we might observe that the central position of the golden figures remains the same, and the gold rock has become a gold temple.

What relationships, or qualities of relationships are different between the trays?

In the example above, the rock is emerging, or taking form as a holy place. The entire sandplay may appear to be different from prior trays. In such a case we ask ourselves what this might be about.

What relationships, or qualities of relationships are similar, or different between trays in the series?

For example, there might be something in Tray 7 that is very like a relationship we saw before in Tray How is it similar or changed?

What shadow elements appear similar or changed between trays and over the course of the process?

 Are shadow qualities are being integrated in to greater consciousness?

How might this change be carried in the changes in the relationships in the Sandplay?

What might the similarities and changes indicate in terms of Aaron’s individuation process?

Is the ego aligning with the Self? How is this carried in the changes in the relationships in the Sandplay?

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The Sandplay Case of Aaron


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