Using sand tray in the therapy room
Sand tray therapy uses sand and a variety of objects such as shells stones and small figures and toys to create stories that represent a person’s inner world. These help the person become aware of unknown past or current challenges in life.
The free, non structured, and protective space of sand therapy offers a way for people to heal through the therapeutic process.
It creates a safe environment that allows people to release their feelings, conflicts, and emotions and bring unconscious fears, thoughts, and memories into their conscious awareness.
Through sand tray therapy, a person can return to past experiences in a safe and contained environment and become an active agent in the experience.
Sand tray therapy is an expressive therapy that has the unique and impressive quality of being quite adaptive and flexible. It can incorporate a wide variety of theoretical and technical psychotherapeutic approaches. It can be directive or non-directive, fully non-verbal, or verbally assisted. It can also integrate techniques from a wide spectrum of counselling approaches. This makes sand tray therapy a truly cross-theoretical intervention. Sand tray therapy has numerous applications and possibilities as a psychotherapeutic intervention. It can be used as a primary or secondary counselling tool and can be applied within all personality and counselling theoretical models. It can be an adjunct to verbal therapy, or be entirely expressive and projective. Sand tray therapy can be directive or non-directive, and it can also be fun.
The figures in the sand can tell a story and represent different parts of self or perhaps represent different key figures in your life. The story can unfold and change creatively in the sand and can be added to and built on over a few sessions.
Sand tray pictures can be reflective, self-expressive and represent many aspects of life such as people, ideas, situations, and feelings. They can also symbolise a person’s “inner world”. People can become more aware of their unconscious and of any current difficulties in their life.
Previously unknown thoughts and feelings may emerge and become visible through the imagery and symbolic approach that is applied. This can make sessions feel very deep and powerful.
Sand tray work in counselling like all things is an invitation. It can be adapted to be used in the way that works best for you. It is a tool another way at looking at past and present and future too.