Counter-Transference Tray with Sand Tray Therapy

by #2 Summer 2014
(Mercer University )

Counter Transference Sand Tray Therapy

Counter Transference Sand Tray Therapy

The counter-transference sand tray for my sand tray therapy class is pretty simple. As a counselor there are many times when counter-transference will appear during my work with clients. It is important that I know what all of my trigger points or weak areas or as we say in counseling school “know my stuff” so that I do not harm my clients. One of my passions is working with children and families. I currently coach parents and teach them how to interact with their children while they are in the recovery process. It is difficult to watch these parents when they are oppositional and begin to break the rules and risk either going back to jail or losing custody of their children. Often time this risk comes from the need to have boyfriends; as a counselor I know that having a boyfriend during this critical stage is a distraction and could jeopardize their recovery. I have had to contain my anger that I feel when I see them breaking the rules created by the court because I know how this will affect their children. I also know what it feels like to have your parent choose drugs over being a parent; because my parents made the same choice.

Often I feel like I am stuck in the middle of two fire breathing dragons as depicted in the sand tray. One dragon represents the client and the other dragon represents my frustration with the client and I’m in the middle. The tray also represents the child that is stuck in between the parents and their bad decisions such as negative relationships or continuing to use drugs or operate as a dry addict or someone who does not use but still has the behaviors that accompany using. Sometimes I become angry and I want to become the dragon and release my fire upon them because I am so angry. Counter-transference reminds me that I am human and that I have to constantly work through my own issues. I do this by consulting with my colleagues about issues that trigger me and by journaling and reflecting me feelings and experiences.
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Disclaimer: This website and its content is intended for trained licensed mental health professionals and school certified mental health professionals to use for their clients / students at their own discretion.

*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.

For any other type of mental health emergency call your local 911 / Police Number immediately.

Dr. Stangline does not offer advice / suggestions to anyone who is not a professional mental health provider, or a student who is studying this field and has questions about mental health programs of study.

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