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Culbert-Koehn, J. (2005). Cunningham, Linda. ‘Relational fields in sandplay therapy’, Journal of Sandplay Therapy, 2004, 13, 2, pp. 115-30.. J. Anal. Psychol., 50(4):558-560.

(2005). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 50(4):558-560

Cunningham, Linda. ‘Relational fields in sandplay therapy’, Journal of Sandplay Therapy, 2004, 13, 2, pp. 115-30.

Review by:
JoAnn Culbert-Koehn

It is a pleasure to review Linda Cunningham's article. Traditionally the world of sandplay writers and the world of transference/countertransference writers were separated. In the last four or five years a literature has begun to emerge in which practitioners of sandplay therapy write in depth about their use of countertransference feelings and their verbal communication in their work with sandplay. Linda Cunningham's article is an outstanding example of this recent development.

Cunningham writes: ‘The more difficult clinical experiences that bewilder and trouble the clinician have always aroused my curiosity’ (p. 115). She sets out to understand sandplay cases where apparently symbolic movement was blocked or unintelligible to entire sandtray consultation groups. Observing such sandtrays evoked ‘disturbing or confusing countertransference experience in the therapist, such as boredom, agitation or despair’ (p. 115). Cunningham undertook an investigation of Jungian sandplay therapists' subjective experience of their therapeutic relationship, which resulted in a dissertation in 2003.

She identifies four relational fields in the current article, which are further elaborated in her book, Relational Sandplay Therapy. The four fields include: i) the field of original oneness/merger, 2) the field of twoness/rupture, 3) the field of differentiated oneness/transitional space, and 4) the numinous field of the transcendent function. The author states that each field ‘has a different “feel” to the therapist’ (p.

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