Dirt Sand Tray Therapy Experience--Student #2

by Sand Tray Therapy Student
(Atlanta, Ga.)

Dirt Sand Tray Therapy Experience--Student #2

Dirt Sand Tray Therapy Experience--Student #2

What a rainy week! The most difficult part of completing the dirt sand tray therapy traywas finding time to be outside without getting drenched! As I took my dog for her daily walk, I “scoped out” an area where I wanted to create my “world” in the tray. It was important for me to find a place that was flat and secluded from people but not too far in the woods that I had to be scared of seeing a snake!

As I walked to the area to create my sand tray for sand tray therapy, I picked up interesting items like pine cones, acorns, berries, flower blooms on the ground, sticks, rocks, seeds, “weeds,” and wildflowers. I was looking for lots of color and anything unique. For the first time, I became intrigued by the variety of leaves which were so different in their shape, size, and color and made a collection. I noticed wonderful scents as I walked by the crepe myrtle trees and picked up the blooms on the ground, broke the stalks of various wild plants, and enjoyed smelling the pine, honeysuckle, and wonderful scents from the seeds.

When I arrived at the wooded area, I spotted an adorable small tree about one foot tall with red on the leave tips and right away, decided that the tree would be part of my 2’ x 3’ area. Throughout the area, there were a few other unique items like clover, rock, and small weeds. I thought these added character and an amount of realism so I left them but removed all of the small random sticks. I looked for a 4-leaf clover but couldn’t find one. The small tree occupied the right rear corner. I chose unique, tall weeds to outline the size of the tray.

I had collected four different colorful mushrooms that I wanted to use in my tray. The tree was the perfect support so that my mushrooms could stand upright. I had also found some other very interesting weeds that looked like adorable trees about 9 inches tall. They needed a way to stand upright. I put them in the left back corner and used beautiful rocks to hold those up at the base. I laid a variety of seeds that were prickly, black, and green around the rocks.

I placed my collection of amazing leaves in the center of my dirt sand tray for sand tray therapy and created a “picture frame” with pine cones at the corners to showcase the various leaves. I created a path with an exposed root in the ground and outlined the path with purple flowers and added a unique purple bloom near the start of the path. I pictured myself being a small creature and walking up the path. I wanted my tray to have balance so I divided the leaves I had collected into two piles and placed them in the front corners. I sprinkled red holly berries throughout the various hot spots.

I enjoyed this project because I love being outdoors. The experience became a way for me to connect with God. I was in awe of the beauty, color, designs, and uniqueness of creation. Being more mindful of my senses as I searched for items and created my dirt tray helped calm my spirit which was a nice treat because usually when I am outside walking, I do not take time to notice the variety of items in nature. I returned home happy and energized.

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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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