Extended Sand Tray Therapy: Student # 7: Sandtray Therapy showing 4 aspects of my life

by Student # 7
(Stockbridge, Ga)

Beginning Sand Tray for Extended Sand Tray Therapy

Beginning Sand Tray for Extended Sand Tray Therapy

This particular sandtray therapy activity is called an extended sandtray because I worked on it over the course of a few days. My life consists of many parts, and completing this sandtray required me to look within myself to analyze how those parts come together. Physiologically, I feel that my needs are met. As represented in my sandtray, I have a pack of animals and a house.

The pack of animals represents my family; it is made up of different types of animals because we all have different personalities, but we are still very close. The two animals in the front represent my parents. One is a wolf and the other is a tiger to show that they are very protective.

In my sand tray therapy project, the pack is facing oncoming insects, a snake, and alligator. This is the safety category, and for me I do not always feel safe. I included the die because I feel that life is a gamble, and you just never know what could be around the corner, which affects how I feel about my safety.

However, I have also included a cross and a Bible that is in off to the side because even though there are no guarantees in life, I have come to realize that my faith in God is what is going to get me through any trials that my family and I may face.

In the back of my sandtray, I have a clipart of a turtle. For some reason, turtles have become a symbol of peace for me and I just felt like that was a good representation of my self-esteem. I also have a heart, an egg, a black horse, and piglet.

Piglet is so small and somewhat fragile; also very sweet. The black horse is out in the front and is strong and beautiful. In the back, I have the egg which is like a hidden treasure that has not been opened yet.

In the back of my sandtray, in the center is the self actualization “hot spot”. I have several miniatures that represent my sense of self. The cross and Bible are in between that hot spot and safety because I feel like it is a part of who I am as a Christian. I also have clip art of a church because being a part of a church family is important for me.

The miniature with the one eye represents me; sometimes I feel like I only have singular vision in my life instead of taking into account the full picture of the things that happen in my life and the purpose it has in my life.

The two army men are on opposing sides and that represents my struggle in life to keep being persistent when I want to throw in the towel at times.

The last corner represents belonging.

Due to some of the things I’ve gone through in the past few year, many, but not all, of my friendships are extinct. I now realize that friendships do not always last a lifetime, so I don’t put a lot of trust in friendships. It’s good to have people to talk to, but I don’t depend on them for my happiness.

Sometimes, I feel like I don’t open up enough to people to show the real me; almost like I’m hiding behind a mask; hence the face that is partially buried in the sand.

The first picture shows what the sandtray looked like when I first started; the last two pictures show what it looked like after I completed the sand tray for sand tray therapy.

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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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