My Very First Sand Tray Therapy Experience

by Sand Tray Therapy Student

My very first sand tray therapy experience

My very first sand tray therapy experience

This was my first introduction to using a sand tray therapy. I did not google prior to the class to better understand the process and I am glad I did not. Being able to witness in person a session using sand tray for sand tray therapy was the optimal learning experience for me. Allowing the client to re-create what is going on in their world via the sand tray quickly allowed both the client and the therapist identify the critical areas that needed to be addressed and processed. As stated in one of the videos, the sand tray really does act as a therapist. The “live” therapist simply facilities the process for the client. Considering the push by many insurance companies for short, brief therapy interventions, the use of a sand tray can be very beneficial in helping therapist quickly get into the client’s world.
The sand tray I created in my attempt of self therapy depicts a woman looking at a lighthouse. Before here are three straws which represent three options that she is facing. At the end of each option, there is a different miniature representing something happy. With approximately 100 days before graduation, I am optimistic about my next steps but there are many options. Though all the options are positive, I am faced with a bit of anxiety about making a choice. The anxiety is increased as my first option is out of my control but dependent on my acceptance into a doctoral program. the angst of waiting is tortuous.
Using the sand tray to depict what is going on in my world. helped me in several ways. First, it allowed me to release what was spinning around in my head. Though it is still on my mind, I had a moment where I was free. After completing my sand tray, I walked around it to view it some several angles. Visually seeing all my options from different perspectives gave me the sense that I can not go wrong, no matter the outcome. Even choosing the miniature that I placed at the end of the option was therapeutic. All of them represented something fun and nothing ambiguous, scary or mean. That helped release some of the fear associated with each choice.
After observing the session in class, working with my partner and then working with myself, I am a fan of the sand tray. Though I originally viewed the miniatures as a bit immature, it is just a symbol of the things that we are faced with in our lives. Because I am wanting to work more with adults than children, my challenge will be to get the client to relax and reframe their perception of working with a “toy.” Establishing a therapeutic environment complete with trust and unconditional positive regard would help facilitate this process.

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