Contents:

  1. Brief history of ISTA
  2. Brief History of Sandplay
  3. History of ISTA
  4. Historical Timeline

1.Brief History of The Israeli Sandplay Therapists Association [ISTA]

Though formally established as a non-profit association in 1993, the seeds of ISTA began thirteen years earlier, accelerated after four Israeli psychologists met Dora Kalff in Switzerland in 1983, actually Sandplay Therapy began its development in Israel in 1980. With the support of Joel Ryce Menuchin from London, and Kaye Bradway, from California, Ms. Rina Porat, and Dr. Bert Meltzer (both also ISST members since 1993) co-founded the ISTA to teach and train Sandplay therapists throughout Israel. Their focus was to use this technique with children and in particular to victims of violence (terrorism, trauma, etc.). One of our earliest ISTA member, Rivka Perry, as part of an emergency response team in the 1991 Gulf War, used Sandplay Therapy to treat PTSD with significant effectiveness, it both confirmed and paved the way for ISTA to give priority to the use of this technique with traumatized populations. Ahuva Arnon took ISTA further into deeper clinical ground with her use of Sandplay therapy with terminally ill children in her work in Hadassah Hospital. Overall, throughout the clinical work of ISTA members we have been uniquely innovative in bringing this tool be a significant part of treatment for more severely disturbed clinical populations than the literature has generally believed that Sandplay could be effective. In 1993 ISTA became an official non-profit educational and training institution. Its membership expanded to include , Lenore Steinhardt (ISST 1998) and Michal Troudart (ISST 2000). Bert Meltzer and Rina Porat continued to teach and train Sandplay, and Ms Steinhardt brought her Sandplay knowledge and skills to the Seminar Kibbutz college and in 2003, became the founder and Director of a two year training program for Art Therapists in the use of Sandplay Therapy.

 

2.Brief history of Sandplay

The origins of contemporary Sandplay Therapy begins with the inherent impulse to create and play manifest in cave paintings of prehistoric man, or Japanese sand paintings. More recently, working in sand with objects and miniature figures as a therapeutic activity began with the works of H.G. Wells (1912). Defying the Victorian image of the remote father figure, common to his times, he created new norms by actually playing with his son. He published a description of these father-son interaction in “Floor Games” he described the game of concretized his sons’ fantasies by actually constructing and creating them in miniature.

Later, Margaret Lowenfeld (1939), as part of a new wave in her time, of applying psychoanalytical theory to actual work with children, took Wells ideas and redefined it as a therapeutic technique which she called the “World Technique.” Dora Kalff and Violet Oaklander were two intuitive and creative people who glimpsed the potential of the World Technique. Oaklander, a Gestalt Therapist, with its emphasis on “experiencing and doing” in preference to reflection or interpretation, saw the potential of Sandplay as an expressive therapy technique, and described her work with it, along with many other techniques, in her book “Windows to Our Children (1978). Dora Kalff’s Sandplay Therapy (1980) understood the potential of the technique to produce images that connect to both personal and transpersonal aspects of the Unconscious. She expanded the power of the tool as an instrument for healing, growth, and transformation. In deviating from Lowenfeld, she called her non-verbal and non-interpretative variation: “Sandplay Therapy.” She appreciated the technique not only as a tool for bringing up Unconscious contents that could become conscious through interpretation, (in the way Lowenfeld taught), but in the spirit of the teachings of Carl Jung, worked well with the self-regulating principles of the Unconscious that Jung described, in which, without interpretation, growth and transformation could be facilitated by Sandplay activities as part of the self-regulation of psych toward individuation.

Dora Kalff (1980) was an acquaintance of Jung. He had described in his autobiography “Memories, Dreams, and Reflections” (1962), how, in a painful and confused inner state after his break with Freud, he happened upon a healing form of play. He experienced that “the small boy (in him) is still around and possesses a creative life which I lack… I had no choice but to return to it and take up once more that child life with its childish games” (p.174). Day after day he played seriously with earth and stones. “Naturally I thought about the significance of what I was doing… I had no answer to my questions, only the inner certainty that I was on the way to discover my own myth” (p.175). Jung’s support and endorsement of Dora Kalff’s Sandplay Therapy approach opened the door for Jungian therapists to embrace Ms. Kalff’s approach to the psyche and individuation. Sandplay therapy spread throughout the worldwide Jungian community. Jungian therapists from America, Europe, and Asia came to study with Ms. Kalff , embraced her technique, and became her founding group for the International Organization of Sandplay Therapy (ISST.)

 

3.History of ISTA

In 1980, working together in a Psychological Clinic in Israel, Dr. Irwin Shaw (who died in 1995), Ms. Rina Porat, and Dr. Bert Meltzer found a convergent interest in Sandplay. They began using Sandplay to work with children with learning and behavior problems. Excited by initial results, and finding their knowledge and understanding limited, they sought to develop this resource more deeply. Toward this end they enlisted the assistance of Ms. Marian Badran, a leading Jungian analyst in Israel, and the director of Neveh Tzalem, a residential treatment center she helped to create. Her knowledge about Sandplay and her ability as a superb diagnostician of children and adolescents, she was able to give inspiring supervision for several years.

In 1983, they traveled to Davos, Switzerland to meet Mrs. Kalff at a Transpersonal Psychology conference (joined with Naomi Shaw who had begun using Sandplay therapy with special needs children.) Their interest stimulated by this contact with Dora Kalff and several of her original students, they began in earnest to develop a Sandplay Therapy project in their clinic. They expanded their teaching and training activities in Israel. This received a boost when Ms. Porat became Director of an Educational Psychology Clinic. By the late 1980’s she had engineered this clinic to have five Sandplay therapy rooms, and between 15 and 20 people doing Sandplay therapy at any one time. Supervision and training were provided by Dr. Bert Meltzer, Dr. Irwin Shaw, and Mrs. Rina Porat. Combining Dr. Meltzer’s interest in experiential learning, and Ms. Porat’s in Jungian theory, they teamed up to give Sandplay therapy workshops, presentations, and seminars throughout the country and outside of Israel as well.

The trip to Davos opened the door to make connection to the international community of Sandplay therapists. One of these contacts was Joel Ryce-Menhuin. Traveling to London they received invaluable supervision, support and consultation from Joel Ryce-Menhuin, a founding member of ISST. Made to feel part of the Menhuin household, between sessions they were nourished with attention and conversation also by his wife Yaltah. Encouraged by Ryce-Menhuin, the fledgling Israeli Sandplay Therapists Association became an affiliated member of the British and Irish Sandplay Society. He remained a backbone of support for ISTA until his death.

Through the link with Joel, they became involved with the International Association of Sandplay Therapy which Dora Kalff had founded, the British and Irish Sandplay Society, and then with the STA (Sandplay Therapists of America). In 1988, Dr. Meltzer participated in the Sandplay Conference in Minneapolis, Minn.., and then, Ms. Porat and Dr. Meltzer contacted Kay Bradway, another founding member of ISST and perhaps the current surviving mother figure of Sandplay in the world. They participated in workshops with her and were fortunate to receive individual and group supervision sessions in her home in California. She was a bridge for the Israeli group to developments and personalities in the American Sandplay scene.

ISTA became affiliated with the British and Irish Sandplay Society as Porat and Meltzer became associate members. In 1993, they qualified as teaching membership in I.S.S.T.

In 1993, Dr. Meltzer and Mrs. Porat formally established the Israeli Sandplay Therapists Association as a legal non-profit educational and training “amuta”. In 1997 they received a teaching and training grant to teach and supervise Sandplay Therapy and to expand the use of Sandplay in hospitals, and clinics as a therapy for trauma and loss to institutions throughout Israel. Over the following six years there were five ongoing groups with over 70 participants from twenty different institutions including:

  1. Hadassah Hospital, Jerusalem, Ein Kerem
  2. Kfar-Shaul Mental Hospital, Jerusalem
  3. Eitanim Mental Hospital, Jerusalem
  4. The clinics of Talbia Psychiatric Hospital, Jerusalem
  5. The psychiatric clinic for adolescents, Kiryat-Yovel, Jerusalem
  6. Shalvata psychiatric Hospital, Hod-Hasharon
  7. Ness-Ziona Psychiatric Hospital and clinics
  8. lchilov Hospital, Tel-Aviv – The psychiatric unit for children and adolescents
  9. Gehah Hospital – The psychiatric clinic for children and adolescents
  10. Beer-Yaakov, psychiatric Hospital
  11. Barzilai Hospital, Ashkelon – The psychiatric unit for children & adolescents
  12. Beit Levinshtein rehabilitation Hospital, Ra’anana
  13. “Ha’arbaa st.”, Tel-Aviv – The psychiatric clinic for children, adolescents and families
  14. The psychiatric center Ramat-Chen, Tel-Aviv
  15. Mevasseret Zion Clinic
  16. Beer-Tuvia Clinic
  17. Shafir Clinc
  18. After school care programs, Ministry of Education, Southern region
  19. “Kedma” Youth Village: residential treatment center for delinquent youth
  20. Neveh Tse’elim: residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed children and adolescents

By 1998 students completed training and began to become certified Sandplay Therapists and thus the membership of ISTA and ISST began to grow. Ms. Lenore Steinhardt was the first student to become a full member of ISST, and was followed by Ms. Michal Troudart, Ms. Rivka Peri, and Ms. Ahuva Arnon-Yavin. More recently Dr. Galit Ben Amity and Ruti Frank completed their training and became members of ISTA.

Ms. Steinhardt established a Sandplay training program in the Seminar Kibbutz College for Art Therapists. Her first training group was accepted to the Two-Year Jungian Sandplay Training Program in 2003. Every two years a new group of sandplay students is accepted. The groups from 2005, 2007 and 2009 have since completed their theoretical studies. A new two-year group will begin in November 2011. Six of the program graduates have completed their sandplay certification requirements (CST): Hana Eker, Liela Abramovich, Tehila Dektor Shoham, Yonat Fischer, Yael Bruno and Edna Schori.

This development has practically doubled the number of professionals formally participating in Sandplay therapy training. More recently two branches of training: those trained by Ms. Rina Porat, Michal Troudart, Dr. Galit Ben-Amiti, Rivka Peri, and Dr. Bert Meltzer, have combined with those trained through Seminar Hakibbutzim, by Ms. Lenore Steinhardt to create an expanded integrated Israeli Sandplay Therapist Association. By 2010 there has been thirteen mental health professionals that have become both ISST and ISTA members. This expanded group with additional ISST members qualified ISTA to be a full national member of the International Society of Sandplay Therapists.

 

4.Historical Timeline

A perspective on the History and Developments of the Israeli Sandplay Therapists Association begins in 1980.

DATE EVENT DESCRIPTION
1980 Began doing Sandplay in “Shefi” clinic in Ashkelon Rina Porat, Itzkach Shaw, and Bert Meltzer, began using Sandplay to work with children with learning and behavior problems
1981-1984 Added external supervision to peer supervision Marian Badran, Director of Neveh Tzalem became groups Sandplay Supervisor
1983 Davos, SW; Transpersonal Psyology Conference Met with Dora Kalff and associates in first meeting with the international world of Sandplay therapy
1983-present Beginning of Teaching SP Rina Porat and Bert Meltzer began offering training courses in Sandplay (within clinic in Ashkelon) and private courses
1984 Supervision & Training expanded with Joel Ryce Menuchin Began working toward credation and certification of ISST through supervision & training with Joel Ryce Menuchin (of BISS), and began affiliation with BISS (British-Irish Sandplay Society)
1985 Kay Bradway added as additional supervisor and trainer Kaye Bradway (ISST founding member) for personal and group supervision, and training seminars
1991 Rivka Perry innovative use of SP Rivka Perry (ISST-2004) Use of Sandplay as part of emergency response team responding to First Gulf War victims in Kfar Machabia center
1991-present Expanded use of SP as tool for victims of terrorism – mobile sandplay materials Rina Porat and Bert Meltzer initiated training seminars across the country: from Eilat to Jerusalem, to Kiriat Shimona with the development and use of a mobile Sandplay therapy unit
1993 Israeli membership in ISST Rina Porat and Bert Meltzer become ISST members under the auspices of BISS
1996 ISTA becomes a legal non-profit educational organization Israeli Sandplay Therapists Association receives official status as a “non-profit” educational and service entity
1997 Establishment of website ISTA becomes the first Sandplay Therapy program to have an Internet website
1997-2004 Rich-Doron Foundation Granted ISTA Training Grant Six year training grant to expand the use of Sandplay in hospitals, and clinics:
Among the hospitals and clinics represented were:

  1. Hadassah Hospital, Jerusalem, En Kerem
  2. Kfar-Shaul Mental Hospital, Jerusalem
  3. Eitanim Mental Hospital, Jerusalem
  4. The clinics of Talbia Psychiatric Hospital, Jerusalem
  5. The psychiatric clinic for adolescents, Kiriat-Yovel, Jerusalem
  6. Shalvata psychiatric Hospital, Hod-Hasharon
  7. Ness-Ziona Psychiatric Hospital and clinics
  8. lchilov Hospital, Tel-Aviv – The psychiatric unit for children and adolescents
  9. Gehah Hospital – The psychiatric clinic for children and adolescents
  10. Beer-Yackov, psychiatric Hospital
  11. Barzilai Hospital, Ashkelon – The psychiatric unit for children & adolescents
  12. Beit Levinshtein rehabilitation Hospital, Raanana
  13. “Haarbaa st.”, Tel-Aviv – The psychiatric clinic for children, adolescents and families
  14. The psychiatric center Ramt-Chen, Tel-Aviv
  15. Mevasseret Zion Clinic
  16. Beer-Tuvia Clinic
  17. Shafir Clinc
  18. After school care programs, Ministry of Education, Southern region
  19. “Kedma” Youth Village: residential treatment center for delinquent youth
  20. Neveh Tsalim: residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed chidlren and adolescents
2003 Lenore Steinhardt establishes a Sandplay Therapy Training program in Kibbutz College Lenore Steinhardt co-founded and became director of a post-graduate art therapy – Jungian Sandplay Therapy training program at The Kibbutzim Seminar in Tel Aviv
2009 Formation of Integrated ISTA Two training streams combine to create a new integrated ISTA including psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric social workers, and Art Therapists
2010 ISTA becomes a National Organization within ISST Currently there are fourteen (14) registered members