Play Therapy- Sand Tray Therapy Experience from a School Counselor: Finding My Happy Place

by School Counselor
(Atlanta, Ga.)

Play Therapy- Sand Tray Therapy Experience from a School Counselor

Play Therapy- Sand Tray Therapy Experience from a School Counselor

Creating this sand tray for sand tray therapy and play therapy has been an enlightening experience. It amazes me that the things that we add have a hidden meaning that we don’t even realize until we look up the meaning. My sand tray therapy example is expressing the happy feelings that I am currently experiencing as a school counselor.

The princess that I added to the tray represents me and how I’m feeling. I feel like I am on the verge of greatness. When I looked up the meaning of princess, it symbolized that I am realizing my full potential, but there is still some growing that I need to do.

This is exactly how I am feeling right now. I added flowers to my tray because I recently started a garden in by background. The castle represents my home and the male action figure in the background represents me eventually wanting to find someone special in my life. He’s in the background because I know that right now I really don’t have time for a relationship, so that part of me on the backburner.

I chose the bunny because he appealed to me when I was adding things to the sand tray therapy process. Upon more research, I discovered that the rabbit is a sign of luck and success.

I put a river in my sand tray because I feel that everything is flowing right now in my life. I am learning to relax and just go with the flow. I added a dolphin to my river and he is swimming towards me because I see dolphins and happy animals and I feel that happiness is approaching me. Dolphins symbolize that my conscious and subconscious are becoming more unified.

I chose a horse because I see myself as a powerful and strong person and I am starting to come into that inner strength that I didn’t know I had, especially as a school counselor. I chose a turtle because I feel that for a while I have been hiding in a shell and not allowing my true self to come out.

My turtle is coming out of the sand because she is no longer afraid to come out of her shell. That is how I’m feeling today. I am coming out of my shell and discovering who the true "me" is.

I can use this type of activity to help my students who are having issues with self esteem. I plan to use this in school counseling.

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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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