Sandplay

Frank Adair, MD

Psychiatrist & Psychotherapist located in Palo Alto, CA

Sandplay is one of the Jungian techniques that psychiatrist and psychotherapist Frank Adair, MD, integrates into his practice in Palo Alto, California. Dr. Adair is both a certified sandplay therapist and a sandplay therapy teacher (CST-T) through the Sandplay Therapists of America® and the International Society of Sandplay Therapists. He welcomes adult patients age 25 and above. To learn more about sandplay, call the office today.

Sandplay Q & A

What is sandplay therapy?

Sandplay therapy is a hands-on technique that allows you to express unconscious concerns, struggles, and thoughts without using words. 

During sandplay, you create images and scenes in a sand tray by molding the sand and positioning an array of miniature figurines. You may use the sand tray and figurines as communication tools along with talk therapy.

Dr. Adair is a certified sandplay therapist who is trained in  the method of Dora Kalff, a Jungian analyst trained by Carl Jung. Dr. Kalff developed her own sandplay technique in the late 1950s. In addition to using sandplay as a form of therapy with patients, Dr. Adair is also certified to train aspiring sandplay therapists.

What is sandplay therapy used for?

If you feel the need to express something, but can’t put it into words, sandplay may be right for you. The psyche naturally expresses itself using symbols and images more than words, which is why the miniature objects are appropriate. 

Sandplay provides a safe and protected and potential space for deep expression to occur in a nonverbal manner. 

How does sandplay therapy work?

Dr. Adair doesn’t require any of his patients to work in the sand, but he welcomes anyone who wishes to use sandplay to do so. If you plan to embark on the sandplay process, he asks that you please refrain from reading any books or other materials about sandplay beforehand. 

In order for the psyche to do its work, it must be unhindered by the intervention of thinking or knowing things. To get the most benefit from sandplay therapy, it’s best to come to the sand naive and follow Dr. Adair’s simple instructions: Do whatever you want in the sand.  

What should I expect from sandplay therapy?

As with all psychotherapy sessions, a typical sandplay session lasts 50 minutes. This leaves enough time to photograph your tray and remove all the figurines to prepare for the next patient. 

There’s a wet tray and a dry tray as well as an array of small figures from which you can choose. Dr. Adair is with you the entire time to witness the process and help you find or create whatever you need. He also ensures a safe and protected experience. 

If you want to explore the benefits of sandplay, call Frank Adair, MD today.