In 2013, a small group of friends, comprising of social workers, counsellors and art therapists, went on a “Holding and Being Held” retreat in Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia. Under the care of facilitator Mrs Eunice Stagg, we molded clay, painted, wrote our journals and enjoyed the refreshing atmosphere at this haven.
We returned the subsequent year for another retreat. This time, Eunice brought a whole suitcase of figurines. Mr Tan, the caretaker of Aubyn House, our home in Fraser’s Hill, helped us prepare 5 sandboxes and filled them up with sand. For many, it was a first encounter with the sandbox and the wide array of little toys. Oh, yes, we still did some drawing, did our journaling and took in the fresh cool air and were nourished by the delicious meals prepared by the Caretaker’s wife, Anne, in this quiet old town.
Fast forward to 2019.
We will be having our 7th retreat in October. This time we are staying in Singapore, at Montfort Retreat Center. By now, 9 of these retreatants have undergone Sandplay Training, and are working towards becoming AST Registered Sandplay Therapists soon.
Beyond the training, the personal therapy, case consultations and the retreats, we are also hosting our first ever, Jungian Sandplay Symposium in SINGAPORE in October 2019. Eunice will be here. This time, she brings not the suitcase of figurines, but her entire AST Council and colleagues, Barbara Turner, Rose Harriet and Celia van Wyk.
What is the draw, you may ask?
Here are 3 stories to give you some insights:
“Sandplay therapy helped me when I found it hard to find words to express my thoughts. Touching the sand in the tray reminded me of times of play as a child. The carefree feeling of endless times of running my fingers through the sand and making pictures in the tray. To just play! The figures helped to provide the creative language to work on expanding my awareness of who I am.” CSM
“Sandplay! I fell in love with it at first sight! Just running my hands through the sand brings me to childhood and my inner world – spontaneity, space, connection. The heart speaks, the hand places the chosen figures; the unconscious moves; the unknown becomes known” Song
“In my very first encounter with sandplay, I felt a deep connection with an inner pain which I had not given voice to previously. My wounded soul surfaced and in the room full of other fellow practitioners, my tears flowed ceaselessly. It was as if the flood gates had opened. There was nothing I could do to stop them. In spite of the vulnerable situation I was in, I felt so safe! There was no narrative needed. There were no reflective statements urging me to tell more. The story that played out in the box was mine and mine to see and know (or not). Except for the tears, which gave exposure and clue to my pain, but my privacy was shielded. “ LYB