DATE: Monday, November 4, 2013
TIME: 10:00 a.m
PLACE: Studio, Lambert Road campus
CANDIDATE: Marion Anderson
DISSERTATION TITLE: "Working With the Pieces of the Analyst: The Relationship of the Sandplay Therapist to the Sandplay Miniature Collection"
PROGRAM-TRACK/YEAR: PhD-O; 2009
CHAIR: Dr. Paul Gabrinetti
READER: Dr. Lisa Sloan
EXTERNAL READER: Dr. Maria Chiaia
Anderson, M. (2013). Working With the Pieces of the Analyst: The Relationship of the Sandplay Therapist to the Sandplay Miniature Collection (Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2013)
This heuristic inquiry examines the specific place, role, and meaning of the miniature collection for the sandplay® therapist in sandplay therapy. Experienced sandplay therapists were interviewed about their lived experience of collecting sandplay figures for their professional miniature collections and using these items in their clinical work with clients. In sandplay® therapy the items of the sandplay collection are chosen by the therapist according to personal taste and liking and therefore allow, in concrete form, conscious and unconscious aspects of the therapist into the therapeutic dyad in sandplay therapy. Along with the aspect of collecting, the interviews explored the possible consequences of the use of this personalized collection on the transference relationship.
The selection, purchase, and display of figures are the therapist’s personal choice and therefore bring up questions referring to transference issues, self-disclosure, and unconscious dynamics. This research was an attempt to understand the symbolism and personal meaning the sandplay therapists consciously and unconsciously attach to the miniature collection for the sandplay therapist on a conscious and unconscious level and is intended to increase the therapist’s awareness of the personalized energy that is active on the nonverbal level in sandplay therapy.
The co-researchers felt personal connections to their collections and had invested much time, money, and energy in choosing and collecting the pieces, arranging them, cleaning them, and fixing broken parts. The results of the study indicate that the personal relationship, history, and attachment of the therapist to many pieces influence the transference relationship.
The study shows that the co-researchers, despite their high level of training, had been mostly unaware of the personal energy transmitted through the figures to their clients. All agreed, once suggested, that an unconscious bond through the figures in the relationship was perceived. No theoretical conclusions could be drawn from the study regarding this phenomenon and further inquiry is suggested.
Keywords: Sandplay therapy, miniature collection, transference, countertransference, co-transference, C. G. Jung, symbol, collecting, autobiographical miniatures, energy field of figures.