Linda Cunningham Ph.D.
is the author of Sandplay and the Clinical Relationship, Relational SandplayTherapy and many articles in the Journal of Sandplay Therapy on the topic of the clinical relationship in sandplay. She gives trainings on the clinical relationship, the therapist’s use of self, Jungian approaches, and sandplay throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in both graduate and postgraduate settings, and for many years, was adjunct faculty at The California Institute of Integral Studies and in the Sonoma State University Depth Psychology Graduate Program. She has recently moved to Gig Harbor, Washington State, where she maintains a private practice, and offers sandplay trainings.
Linda holds a doctorate in East-West Psychology. She has been a psychotherapist for over 25 years, and is in private practice in San Francisco and Corte Madera, California. You may contact Linda at Linda@drlindacunningham.com or 415-346-6363.
Ph.D. East-West Psychology, California Institute of Integral Studies, 2003
M.A. Clinical Psychology, JFK University, Pleasant Hill, CA. 1989
B.S. Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 1982
Contact Linda Cunningham
Please call me at 415-346-6363 to discuss any of my trainings.
Or, you can email me at Linda@drlindacunningham.com.
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The Awe of Sandplay
I have trained therapists in sandplay therapy for almost 20 years. What strikes me most about these trainings is the sense of awe experienced by the participants as they witness the healing power of this method through case material and through their own experience of it. As they dig into the sand, choose meaningful figures and build their own sandtrays–a very important part of the training–they experience the numinous depth of sandplay. It is very difficult to communicate to the naive reader what this is like. As with so many things, you must experience it for yourself. One can get a sense of this deepening by viewing slides of sandplay cases, verbally playing with the possible meanings of the images in the sand, but sandplay is a hands on experience, a visceral, emotional experience of deepening into oneself. To fully appreciate this experience, thus expanding your learning of sandplay, I recommend you find a training that provides you with your own experience of making a tray.
If you find yourself fascinated by your experience with the sand and figures, captivated by the personal, unconscious archetypal story revealed from deepest psyche, the next step is to find a qualified sandplay therapist and begin your own sandplay process. Begin it, and continue with it until you “know” that you are finished. This knowing will come from places inside you other than your thinking mind. It will come from your body, from your intuitive, emotional self, and you will be filled with a sense of completion. You may choose to take part in sandplay trainings as you do your process, but be careful not to learn too much! The left brain can attempt to dominate the right brain in these matters, overriding what your body and deepest unconscious need to express.
If you find yourself reluctant to do a sandplay process, you might ask yourself, “What do I fear?” Remember that it is important to traverse the territory yourself before you are qualified to lead others. Above all, enjoy the play in sandplay. Let your inner child delight in the sand. Bodily memories of the beach or the sandbox in childhood invite our adult selves to surrender to the play in the sand.