by Play Therapy Student
Mandala with Sand tray therapy
Creating my mandala was a therapeutic experience for me for sand tray therapy. I initially had no idea how to approach the task but decided instead of forcing it, to lean into the project. What came out was an issue I had been toiling with for several weeks but was unable to articulate. From the sand tray activity, I created a pictorial view of what is pressing on my mind. Though the activity brought the issue to the forefront, I was still unable to articulate the factors that created the anxiety.
I decided to create an affirmation mandala. On the left side, I listed the three emotions I feel when looking at my sand tray. When looking at the various options I face post graduation, I feel fear, uncertainty and lack of control. Until this activity, I was unable to give a name to the emotions other than saying I was experiencing anxiety. This was particularly hard to comprehend as all of my options have positive outcomes. I colored the left side black to represent negativity. On the right sight, I listed a positive affirmation to reframe my thoughts and eliminate the negative emotions. I colored this side green for growth.
I found the mandala to be a great tool to use in therapy. I can envision assigning it as a homework assignment to a client because it requires an exploration of both thought and feeling. I would not want the client to feel rushed to complete in a 50 minute session. Though my mandala is simple, it took about 2.5 hours to complete as I had to dig deep. It helped to use my sand tray to begin the process to identify the emotions associated.
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*If you ignore the disclaimer above are using these techniques on yourself and you feel any discomfort or upset it is highly suggested that you seek out a licensed mental health professional immediately.
"Beyond Art Therapy" is the concept from Dr. Stangline that combines all creative fields in therapy. It is not the traditional "art therapy" but goes beyond to include sand tray therapy, play therapy, mindfulness, meditation, color therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a vast majority of other therapies.
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