Even very young children may present at times with issues which require support and guidance from a trained professional. Normal developmental crises may occur in early childhood regarding using the toilet, regulating emotions, sensory integration, separating from parents, becoming independent, and school readiness. Additionally children may suffer from more severe disorders such as attention deficit; hyperactivity; elimination disorders including encopresis and enurisis; anxiety disorders; phobias, specific learning disabilities; communication disorders such as stuttering or selective mutism; pervasive developmental disorders such as Autism or Asperger's Syndrom; tic disorders; eating disorders such as Pica or Rumination Disorder; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; mood disorders such as depression; and sleep disorders including Night Terrors.
Sandplay therapy is a form of psychotherapy that attempts to form a connection with the psyche towards a goal of healing. Its founder was the Swiss therapist Dora Kalff (1904-1990), who based her theories on the principles of Jungian psychology and on the work of Margaret Lowenfeld. Children are naturally drawn to sand as a maleable tactile medium into which they can project their wishes, desires and emotions in symbolic form. The sand lends itself to shape a landscape which can become a child's theater for their imaginary play. Numerous figures and materials are provided from which the child may choose a few or many to represent various aspects of their inner world. Such a creation may be non-verbal or pre-verbal or it may include elements of a coherant verbal narative. The therapist role can vary according to the child's individual process as he witnesses, quietly supports, or actively engages in dialog and play.