Sand Tray / Sand Play Therapy Reflection Paper #6

by Student #6
(Mercer University)

Reflection Paper/Sand Tray Therapy

After watching those videos, I have learned so many new things about Sand Tray Therapy. Sand Tray/Play therapy transcends cultures. Play is a natural part of life and development. Its very simply put if people don’t play they don’t learn. I really liked it when Dr. Turner said it suspends a hold on the conscious-cross cultural healing a step deeper. Allows viewer to go into play state beyond ordinary unconsciousness and they will know when they are done working. Our collective conscious allows us to pick pieces of miniatures that the psyche needs. Process of change can only happened when one has completed a series of trays.
Sand tray therapy is a form of therapy that was first created for children since they are limited with words and can sometimes have a difficult time communicating with adults. In time therapist have since used this type of therapy with adults as well and have been equally successful. This type of therapy allows both children and adult clients the opportunity to portray, rather than verbalize, feelings and experiences often inaccessible and/or difficult to express in words. Sand tray therapy also provides a balance to the extraverted, verbal, and outer-focused everyday world.
I also learned different individual’s views on the differences between sand play and sand tray therapy. Sand play therapy is often confused with sand tray, which is a generic term describing how boxes of sand are used with small toys as part of a child’s play therapy program. The underlying principles and therapeutic use of sand play and sand tray are quite distinct, although symbolic images and sand trays are used in both modalities. Sand plays are created in a free and protected space, where the therapist does not interpret, interfere with, or direct the client’s symbolic expression. The sand play therapist maintains an attitude of receptivity and acceptance, so the client can bring unconscious material into consciousness without censure. It follows the principles of Carl Rogers’ client-centered therapy and allows the psyche to develop into a natural and fundamental state of wholeness. Sand play is like a dream and its 3-d version is shared with the therapist. The therapist is considered to be the container because he or she would be well prepared and trained to handle anything that comes up out of result of the client working with the sand tray. A common theme in all of the videos is that it is very important for the client to follow their psyche and not try to figure their sand tray out pre maturely or in their mind.
The focus is placed on the client choosing miniatures or pieces that attracts them and knowing that they don’t have to use every thing that they choose form the shelves. When the client is finished with their sand tray it is extremely important for the therapist to not impose on the clients world by coming up with their own interpretations of what they see. The client may make comments about the scene and it is ok for the therapist to ask open-ended questions to the client in effort to understand the world. It is important that the unconscious can continue to be accessed without the client being concerned about what the therapist has said or will say about the sand picture. I’m very excited that I have much more to learn about sand tray therapy!

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