The Japanese Association of Sandplay Therapy Japanese
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What is the Japan Association of Sandplay Therapy?
Our association was founded in July 1987 as the one and only academic society in the field of sandplay therapy in Japan. Ever since, it has been active in accomplishing our mission to support our members, as they cultivate their mutual development in both clinical and research activities, by providing opportunities to present theoretical discussions of clinical cases concerning the fundamental tasks and principles of sandplay therapy.

Sandplay therapy is a psychotherapeutic technique which has been applied to such professional fields of clinical psychologists as psychological counseling, clinical practice in judicial institutions; such medical domains as psychiatric and pediatric departments, school counseling. On its tenth anniversary, our journal, Archives of Sandplay Therapy, has come to accept research articles not only of sandplay but also of other techniques which demand deep commitment to imagery, such as dreams and in picture drawing. Now our journal takes a central role in encouraging research on a wider variety of psychotherapy dealing with images, in addition to promote the researches on sandplay therapy.

For clinical psychologists this fundamental research on imagery is urgent and indispensable. Therefore our association has both promoted basic academic research related to imagery and also provided support for clinical psychologists to learn theories and to improve their clinical ability and a place for mutual exchange. Our main activities are as follows:

  To hold the annual national conference consisting of the general assembly and the presentation of research papers
  To hold the biannual nationwide training sessions
  To hold the annual regional training sessions in every 6 region of the whole Japan
To publish “ARCHIVES OF SANDPLAY THERAPY” biannually

The History of The Japan Association of Sandplay Therapy
Sandplay therapy was first introduced into Japan by Prof. Dr. Hayao Kawai in 1965. In July 1987, the Japan Association of Sandplay Therapy was founded, and the first annual national conference took place in Kyoto. In October of the same year, the International Society for Sandplay Therapy had its sixth international congress in Kyoto, as well.

According to Prof. Dr. Yasuhiro Yamanaka, the ex-president of our association, who was a secretary-general at that time, these twenty years from the introduction of sandplay therapy into Japan to the establishment of our association were the period for waiting for the penetration of “the therapeutic attitude to protect the flow of clients’ inner images by therapists’ presence without the propensity for its interpretation.” Concurrently with the above-mentioned movement on our side, the Japanese Certification Board for Clinical Psychologists started the certification of clinical psychologist in 1988. With the growing need for the education and training of clinical psychologists, the number of members of our association has been increasing from year to year. We now have 1981 domestic members and 14 members abroad as of 1st April 2008.

Since 1990, the publication of our journals has become biannual. Moreover, in 2000 the Ministry of Health and Welfare introduced sandplay therapy into children’s welfare centers all over Japan to treat victims of child abuse. Responding to this decision, we started up the Sandplay Training Seminar Project in order to provide opportunities to understand and to practice sandplay therapy not only for our members but also including non-members, those who are not familiar with it. We have held continuously biannual nationwide training sessions and the annual regional training sessions in every 6 region in the nation which include experiential practice. In addition we edit and publish our journals regularly, and we have also provided the funds for encouraging voluntary independent in which training sessions the members plan to enrich their training environment.

The development of sandplay therapy in Japan has been highly appreciated in the international societies. In 2001, our association started supporting the activities of the Japan Association of Sandplay Therapists, which was founded as a regional branch of the International Society for Sandplay Therapy (ISST). Subsequently we took responsibility for contributing to the development of sandplay therapy in neighboring countries.
  KAWAI, Hayao, Ph.D
‹Successive president›

  KAWAI, Hayao, Ph.D
  YAMANAKA, Yasuhiro, M.D
  OKADA., Yasunobu, Ph.D
  HIRONAKA, Masayoshi, Ph.D
07/1987 - 03/1996
04/1996 - 03/2004
04/2004 - 06/2015
07/2015 - present

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