About some of the processes

About Sandplay Therapy


Sandplay is a holistic approach to counselling. By choosing miniature objects as they are called to you and placing them in the tray of sand, you will clearly display your inner world. This is to help you understand what is beneath the current situation or fear that you are facing at the time. Each session is different. Your sub-conscious or inner wisdom reveals unspoken issues and helps bring solutions. Sandplay Therapy is for all ages.

With children or adults who have suffered trauma, Sandplay helps to initially communicate without words in a safe environment and they often play out what is worrying them by creating their inner world in the tray, thereby unconsciously releasing stress and helping them to resolve issues or concerns. Sandplay is very good for children who have suffered great change and trauma. Many times children will spontaneously start talking about what is worrying them as they draw their picture in the sand, or immediately afterwards.

Another benefit is that for a teen or adult who seeks guidance on going in a particular direction or making a decision, Sandplay helps you reveal the answer to yourself. It is not magical, but it can feel magical.

In the studio are rows of miniature objects and a tray on wheels, filled with beautiful sand. The sand helps us connect to our heart and subconscious whilst a beautiful piece of music is played. At the same time, whatever objects are calling to you are placed in the tray, one at a time. As you are working subconsciously, the objects choose you rather than you choosing the objects.  The subconscious thus has permission to express exactly what it wants you to look at that session. I then guide you to look deeply within to find out what the real issues of the day are, and how to allow inner changes to happen. It is transpersonal because it involves the body, emotions, the soul and the vibrational formations that make us who we are. This explores our inner knowing and from this inner territory, healing happens.

Sandplay is the most effective tool for self discovery and is really helpful also to professionals who come to me so that they can let go of their load and reduce the prospect of burnout.

Origins of Sandplay

Sandplay was developed and introduced to the world in 1928 by Margaret Lowenfeld, a paediatrician, with an interest in how children think and feel.

One of Margaret Lowenfeld's discoveries was that of “pre-verbal language” in children. She called the sandtray a “living language” of non-verbal words, which uses symbols and miniatures to speak. 


Dora Kalff was a Jungian Analyst. She had completed training as a Jungian analyst, but because she did not have a traditional college degree she was not permitted to practice. Carl Jung encouraged her to work with a child therapist in London, named Margaret Lowenfeld. This is where Dora first worked with children and sand. When Dora returned to Switzerland, Margaret agreed she could develop her own method of sandtray therapy and Dora began Sandplay in Zurich, Switzerland in the 1950s where it has continued to develop into such an effective therapy for all ages including adults.

Art Therapy

ART IN THERAPY versus Art AS Therapy

You may know, or have heard of, Art Therapy as being related to painting, colouring in etc - and indeed, it can be a personal therapy for you. Art as Therapy can be a very satisfying and creative form of free self-expression. In this way it is therapeutic.

However, Art in Therapy is a diagnostic psychotherapy tool like Sandplay Therapy, that is very good for individuals who need time to go more slowly. The images then evolve on the page and the inner world is reflected in the drawing as the client taps into their inner wisdom. We often use music or visualisation meditation to quiet the mind and body. However, a longer time appointment is required for this.

Karen uses both Sandplay Therapy and Art in Therapy as transpersonal processes, combined with music, visualisation journeying, writing and more.
Each person is an individual and each session is catered for that individual, no matter what age they are.

Some Q&A about the work I do

If you wonder why work with me? I share a little here ...
I am truly passionate about helping those who come to me for holistic counsel to transform from the inside out in a way that is so empowering.

Why Holistic Counsel can help your own mental wellbeing and normal day-to-day life

What ages can it help?
It is an honour working with any age. The youngest has been 2-1/2 years. The oldest in their late eighties.

How do young children work?
A young child cannot articulate what is distressing them, but working in the sand, for example, they create a picture that helps them process the confusing parts of their world and find a way of being present. There are many reasons a child may benefit. They could be suffering the effects of ... a parent being ill and often away; a family separation or death; school issues; sexual abuse; physical abuse; bullying; lack of self confidence; nightmares; bedwetting and so on.
To witness a child working so naturally and deeply in the sand, or with paint, creating a picture of their inner world, then finding solutions of their own as they create - is utterly beautiful and life affirming.

Is this really counselling?
I remember the delight of a ten year old child who said to me, 'this isn't normal counselling!"  She was so delighted that we used gentle creative processes that she was able to spontaneously share her inner world and worries easily - and her life changed for the better.

What about teens?
A teen may be at a turning point and has a desire to be seen as to who they really were. For we have to accept ourselves before others will accept us. Or they may lack confidence in themselves. These gentle processes help them gain confidence.

What about trauma?
The earlier trauma is worked with, the better. So children find the processes a safe way to work through trauma and fears. 
Or, an adult may be ready to let go of the past. Eg a woman who has hidden childhood trauma from herself and everyone else, is now wanting to be free of the struggle to be herself without the effects of fear from the old stories. She could be suffering nightmares and health issues that are related to the trauma that has not been addressed until now.

Why creativity?
You need no experience to do this.I believe our creativity is innate and that we all benefit from using creative processes to find the solutions and inner healing that we seek. I therefore intuitively guide you as to what is best for you during the session. It is about the process, not the end product.

What if I don't know if I have a real problem? I just want to know what to do as the next step in my life.
You do not have to present with an actual problem to have a session with me. You might just want some clarity to go forward.And that's the beauty of holistic counsel - you reveal the answers and wisdom gently from within to yourself. It is so empowering.

What are some benefits?
You will go away changed, knowing something deep about yourself.
Everyone experiences something worthwhile.
How wonderful to improve your own mental wellbeing this way!
How wonderful to let go of the old stories and to be empowered to go forward.


I am a professional, manager, teacher etc. I already have a coach. But I feel stuck.
The little video below explains that sometimes it is good to connect with Karen for a session or two to get through the stuck issue and move on, or with, your own coaching or practice. It can be very helpful for your own focus and mental well-being. 

Are your services coaching?
No, they are all for your own personal mental well-being and inner journey. Often inner healing is involved and you become more empowered in whatever your career is and gain personal clarity from within.

Contact Karen here



Holistic Therapists Australia Inc


As a resident of the beautiful Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia I acknowledge the Darug and the Gundungurra Nations as the traditional custodians of this beautiful land in which we live.

ARTWORK, ILLUSTRATION and PHOTOGRAPHY on this website is copyright Karen Curran, Australia - PO Box 388 Springwood NSW 2777 Australia
Website © updated 2020 Karen Curran - Australia

trading as Karen Curran | The Heart of Us | Inner Healing Heart and Soul Therapy | Art Therapy Blue Mountains | ABN 47 146 520 628

www.karencurran.com.au | www.theheartofus.com.au



DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this website is intended to inspire you to reflect on your own personal journey to wellness. It is not intended to replace care best provided by qualified professionals, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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