First Experience with Sand Tray Therapy

by Sand Tray Therapy Graduate Student
(Atlanta, Ga.)

First Experience with Sand Tray Therapy

First Experience with Sand Tray Therapy

It's difficult to understand how miniature characters that are stuck in sand in a sand tray can be so powerful. It wasn't until I saw Dr. S work with one of my fellow graduate students on a sand tray and then completed my own that I started to understand.

In the days leading up to creating my own sand tray, I thought about how it would look and what story my tray would tell. I had some very specific feelings and thoughts that I wanted to express in my sand tray surrounding a situation I have been dealing with for about four months now, so that is what I did.

I carefully selected some mini's and others I just selected because they made me smile or in two cases made me feel slightly angry. I put my sand tray together in a way it depicted the story I wanted to tell, however the more I sat there and looked at, the more I realized this picture actually could tell a few stories of my life. I selected a turtle and a penguin to represent myself- the turtle because it had the hard protective shell on it's back and the penguin because it's arms were wide open and welcoming. Although I selected these two minis with specific reason in mind for this sand tray therapy idea, I began to realize that it's not just this particular situation where I have this hard shell and open loving arms, it's a lot of situations. My life journey is what has developed the yearning to accept people with open arms, but also hesitate and keep my protective shell.

This is just one small example of what i learned from my first sand tray experience, but I could add so much more. It truly was an eye opening experience and a learning experience about how powerful of a tool sand tray therapy can be!

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"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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