Sand Tray Therapy Class: Bridge Assignment - Jonathan V., Mercer Univ. Student, Summer 2013

by Jonathan
(Lawrenceville, GA)

Sand Tray Therapy Class: Bridge Assignment - Jonathan V., Mercer Univ. Student, Summer 2013

Sand Tray Therapy Class: Bridge Assignment - Jonathan V., Mercer Univ. Student, Summer 2013

Sand Tray Therapy Class: Bridge Assignment - Jonathan V., Mercer Univ. Student, Summer 2013 Sand Tray Therapy Class: Bridge Assignment - Jonathan V., Mercer Univ. Student, Summer 2013. Page 2 Sand Tray Therapy Class: Bridge Assignment - Jonathan V., Mercer Univ. Student, Summer 2013, picture 3 Sand Tray Therapy Class: Bridge Assignment - Jonathan V., Mercer Univ. Student, Summer 2013, picture 4

First of all, I have to confess that I cheated a bit in constructing the sand tray therapy bridge. I found trying to build it out of toothpicks too frustrating, so I ended up using matchsticks which have the virtue of being bigger and therefore easier to glue. Sadly, my bridge is no less raggedy for this cheat, but it will serve for now.

I sat down with my sand tray to complete the bridge activity after a day working at camp. I started by creating a space to place the bridge, and so I shifted the sand to create a little stream that separated two sections of the tray. I then placed the bridge in the middle of the stream and turned to my miniatures. I tried to be very instinctual in my choices of miniatures and placement, as I did not want to over think things. I notice that I have created two major centers of activity in the tray. On what is the southern shore in the picture, there’s an area that seems to exemplify some kind of conflict. Iron Man, a man in armor like a knight, a warrior figure maybe, is in the middle. On one side there is a tiger, a powerful predator, staring at him, and on the other side is an angry clown. The other shore is a bit friendlier, at least close to the bridge, with a fireman, and a very friendly Woody. Next to them is a stegosaurus, which I suppose some might respond to as a kind of monster or threat, but I’ve always felt warmly to this particular dinosaur, so I just can’t see it as a fearful image, though the relationship to the past or obsolescence might be relevant, based on the line of thinking I’ve just started going down as I write. The frog I’m a little mystified by, but I do feel warmly toward it, so it fits the
theme for me. Farther off on this side of the tray is an ant. The ant can be a symbol of industriousness, but my response to it is as a monstrous or threatening image. Maybe some kind of looming threat in the distance. In the stream I have a paper boat, which can symbolize a voyage, which seems appropriate based on where my mind is going as I look at the tray. On the other side of the bridge, still in the water, is a whale. The whale can be a symbol of mystery or uncertainty, which again, seems to fit where I’m going with my reading of the tray. Finally I come to the elephant on the bridge. The more I look at the tray, the more I find myself identifying the most with the elephant miniature. I wasn’t thinking of the elephant as a representation of myself when I picked the miniature, but that’s how it feels as I look at it there on the bridge. I see the elephant as big, maybe a little slow, but also a peaceful creature (which may not be an accurate perception, but I’m not a zoologist). For better or worse, I think these qualities could be attributed to me. More interesting is the elephant’s orientation on the bridge. He seems to be hesitant to chose a direction, but he is leaning toward the more difficult side. Now, maybe this reading is a little too pat, when trying to interpret symbols I always worry about trying to hard to make things fit. I’m seeing this tray as representing some of the journey I am currently on and the transition from a comforting past situation that I will have to move on from soon, and a future that is scary and challenging. It is something that has been on my mind recently, so I imagine it did color my choices. At the same time, it feels like an imperfect reading. I am missing something, and I think that is where talking about it with another person rather than being totally in my own head would help. However, I imagine whatever it is will probably keep coming up, so I’ll figure it out eventually.

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