Academic journal article International Education Studies

Moral Education through Play Therapy

Academic journal article International Education Studies

Moral Education through Play Therapy

Article excerpt


This paper will discuss on how sand therapy (as one type of play therapies) can be applied as an additional technique or approach in counseling. The research questions for this study are to see what are the development, challenges faced by the therapist during the sessions given and how sand therapy can aid to the progress of the client. It is a single case design where one student from one of the secondary schools in Brunei Darussalam was involved as a client. The client was having family problems which led to various problems. Researcher used four methods of collecting data namely; interview, recording, photos and sand tray. Data was analysed through the techniques of sharing, exploring of issues through the organisation of objects in the sand tray. Results showed that the clients can be helped through several sessions of sand therapy in addition to individual counseling sessions.

Keywords: play therapy, Brunei Darussalam, secondary schools, moral education

1. Introduction

Sand therapy is one type of play therapy and it was introduced by Dora Marie Kalff based on the Personality Theory by Carl Jung. Kalff believed that the interpretation of stories slowly can provide space for client to experience intense transformation in psyche. Based on Jungian's concept, psyche has the tendency to work towards wholeness and sand therapy is able to activate this process in the inner self of the client despite the fact that the therapist being quiet. According to Boik and Goodwin (2000), Kalff viewed the sandtray as a location for clients to express their interpersonal world, in symbolic form. Kalff believed that when clients are given the chance to construct concrete images of themselves in a safe environment, they would reconcile disconnected aspects of their inner and outer selves and achieve a new wholeness marked by balance, congruence and integration of the conscious and unconscious.

Sand therapy is an approach wherby images are created in a tray filled with wet or dry sand as the therapist sits quietly nearby. Sometimes the client talks about his/her life issues or problems and the therapist responds; other times both remain silent. Over the course of therapy, a process of development and healing may be seen and sometimes up to a certain level, understanding of the issues happened. In sand therapy, imagination of the client is needed and the therapist would wait for the wisdom of the client's psyche to unfold in the series of sand pictures. The image seems to beg for relationship, to be received and appreciated by someone. Hence, the therapist serves as a midwife for these images by receiving them just as they are, allowing them their own pace for emerging into the outer world.

Meanwhile, in Japan, sand therapy is also used as one of the tools to counsel children and adults. It is known as "Hakaniwa" or "box garden", where the clients work with sand and a variety of figurines and objects within the dimensions of a large, shallow sandtray to reflect their personal worlds. Sandtray approach as mentioned by Enns and Kasai (2003), can convey significant artistic and spiritual values and are often used to depict the beauty of the larger world within a symbolic microcosm.

During the session, there are times where both parties (therapist and client) are in silence. It seems that silent, respectful acceptance of the images created during the sand therapy process allows the client to feel increasingly safe and free. As this happens the images seem to come less from the ego and personal unconscious, and more from the deeper levels of the human psyche, or the collective unconscious. If, as Jung believed, the human psyche has the ability to regulate its own path towards wholeness, healing comes from this deep level of the psyche rather from outside.

The essentials of sand therapy are a specially proportioned sandtray, a source of water, shelves of miniatures variety; people, animals, buildings, bridges, vehicles, furniture, rocks and the list goes on and an emphatic therapist who provides the freedom and the protection that encourages children (or adults) to experience their inner, often unrealised, selves in a safe and non-judgemental space. …

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