Sandplay: Past, Present, and Future

Sandplay: Past, Present, and Future

Sandplay: Past, Present, and Future

Sandplay: Past, Present, and Future


Sandplay is one of the fastest growing therapies. What are its origins, who were it pioneers, and how have they influenced the current practice of sandplay?What does the future hold?Rie Rogers Mitchell and Harriet S. Friedman have written a unique book that answers all these questions and many more. They give an overview of the historical origins of sandplay, including biographical profiles of the innovators together with discussions of their seminal writings.The five main therapeutic trends are explored, and in a final chapter the future of sandplay is discussed through addressing emerging issues and concerns.A special feature is a comprehensive international bibliography as well as a listing of sandtray videotapes and audiotapes.


I am glad to write a foreword to this book on Sandplay by my friend, Harriet Friedman, and her colleague, Rie Rogers Mitchell. It pays close attention to a subject whose importance cannot be overlooked because of its universality not only in a geographical sense but also historically. In her book Themis, Jane Harrison writes, “A child’s toys in antiquity were apt to be much more than mere playthings. They were charms inductive of good, prophylactic against evil influences.” Thus play is recognized as having a social as well as a personal significance; indeed it can enter into all fields of mental activity, especially those that are creative. I think, however, I can best introduce this volume by considering the great importance that play took on, both in the field of psychotherapy and education during the first half of the present century.

It was Melanie Klein who grasped the significance of play and toys as depicting, referring to or symbolizing small children’s profoundest emotions. It was she, already in 1926, who grasped their significance and introduced play into the psychoanalysis of small children. It was play with toys which revealed the primitive unconscious elements lying at the root of developments both in infancy, childhood and later adult persons as well.

A colleague of Klein, Susan Isaacs, was deeply impressed with her findings and studied children in The Maltinghouse School in Cambridge from Klein’s position. The recordings were not only of children’s play which was, however, given a prominent place in the form of spontaneous behavior, thought and feeling but included play as a part of the educational process. Her work gave impetus to educationists to include it more in their curriculum. Amongst them was Dr Margaret Gardner, a Lecturer in Education at the City of Leeds Training College for Teachers, and I cannot do better than quote from the Preface to her book, The Children’s Play Centre.

When we first opened the Play Centre we could not help feeling some anxiety lest we could never do anything worth while for the children in the limited space and very limited time at our disposal. We need have had . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.