Barbara Turner, PhD
My first introduction to Sandplay was in the mid 1980’s when I witnessed a client undergo a life-changing experience by doing just one sand tray. From that point I had a passion to understand what Sandplay is, how it works, why we must have a witness to the process, etc.. I was fortunate to train with Dora Kalff in Switzerland in 1989, during which I did a series of three trays with her. Again, it was a life-changing experience, wherein Mrs. Kalff pointed me in the right direction and set me on the career path I enjoy today.
I am dedicated to a few fundamental principals in Sandplay, which if bypassed, interfere with our work and our personal development as individuals:
We do not possess the power of Sandplay; rather we are the channels through which this power flows. Our job is to keep the channel open and clear.
We must practice Sandplay with clarity, loving kindness and humility. To do otherwise is to do disservice to the method, the clients and ourselves.
Dora Kalff, Margaret Lowenfeld, and many other clinicians pioneered this wonderful work with a tray of sand and miniature figures. We must remember that Sandplay is a therapeutic method. No one owns it, or has purchase over it. No one way of using these tools is right or wrong. All methods serve different purposes. I practice and teach the Jungian approach taught by Dora Kalff, because I feel that it facilitates a deep exploration of the psyche and moves the psyche to conditions of greater development and alignment with the Self.
In 2015, I founded The Association for Sandplay Therapy to uphold these principles.
My passion to understand how Sandplay appears to work such clinical wonders led me to write The Handbook of Sandplay Therapy, a 7-year endeavor that culminated with its publication in 2005. During this time I also edited and returned the classic works in Sandplay to print. This includes Dora Kalff’s Sandplay: A Psychotherapeutic Approach to the Psyche; Estelle Weinrib’s Images of the Self: The Sandplay Therapy Process; and H.G. Wells’ Floor Games. Subsequently I have written and co-authored several books: Sandplay and Storytelling: The Impact of Imaginative Thinking on Children’s Learning and Development, with Kristín Unnsteinsdóttir, PhD; also with Dr. Unnsteinsdóttir, Sandtray Play in Education; and The Teachings of Dora Kalff.
I worked with children and adults in clinical practice for over 25 years and now focus my attention on teaching other clinicians. I developed a Core Curriculum in Sandplay, that starts at the beginning, assuming that we know nothing about Sandplay. Then step by step in a theoretically sound way, the knowledge and understanding builds upon itself through lectures, abundant illustrations and examples, and personal experience. I do this in a free and protected environment, where people feel comfortable to ask questions, to laugh, and to participate in the learning experience. This is unlike most training in Sandplay that consists of case presentations, focused on a particular topic. My trainings are also designed upon principles of transformative learning, wherein the participants undergo personal transformation as they learn.
I offer trainings in person and also have an online curriculum, covering the classics in Sandplay and the application of Jungian theory to our casework.