Learning Sand Tray Therapy: The Zen Sand Tray Garden Reflection - My Very First Sand Tray Therapy Warm Up Project

(Sand Tray Therapy Student, Atlanta, GA)

Sand Tray Therapy Zen Garden - Full Pic

Sand Tray Therapy Zen Garden - Full Pic

As one who tends to hoard and attempts to display everything within reach, I had a difficult time with the minimalist approach of the Sand Tray Therapy Japanese Zen Garden at first. I wanted my garden to include everything as I felt there was so much to be represented. After exercising some self-discipline and editing my elements, I realized that less really is more.

Each of the stones, shells, and pieces of coral I chose to include in my garden contained such a great deal of life, meaning, and beauty, that my garden was as full as it could possibly be though there was a bit of space left for the sand to surface. Upon reflecting on my garden, I realized that each of the elements was of the earth and therefore encompassed one another. One piece of coral even resembled a miniature log.

Each item was from some place or person holding special meaning in my life. The final element, a broken piece of coral, came from our fish tank at home and carried the life of that environment into my sand tray therapy zen garden.

Finally, many of the elements I chose were what most would consider broken or eroded in some sense. However, in my perspective, this gave them all the more meaning as like us, the elements have a long life in which they are exposed to many environmental circumstances, several of which wear on them resulting in cracks, breaks, and a gradual erosion of the surface.

However, I view these aspects of the elements as telling their story, showing the journeys they have traveled, and the lessons they bring with them to my garden. Just like humans, there are no perfect natural elements and I consider it a futile attempt to search for such perfection.

The more valuable aspect, in my opinion, is to learn from the journeys we and our elements have traveled, to appreciate the lessons available to us, to look for the hidden beauty that represents our truest, deepest selves and actually gives life rather than detracting from it as some might think at first glance. This is my goal as a student, counselor in training, and person in the world and I am grateful to my sand tray therapy garden for restoring such perspective.

More Ideas for Play Therapy Link:

More Ideas on Play Therapy

How to Use The Sand Tray for Sand Tray Therapy Link:

More Ideas on 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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