Sand Tray Therapy Class: Zen Garden Student #1

by Jackie Hornbeck-Wall
(Mercer University)

Sand Tray Therapy Class: Zen Garden Student #1, 5/30

Sand Tray Therapy Class: Zen Garden Student #1, 5/30

My favorite aspect of creating my sand tray therapy zen garden was gathering the items. For my tray, I chose to use my old glue box. This I see as connecting my experience of Montessori philosophy and counseling, order and creativity, art and beauty. The box was simply decorated with purple dragonfly stamps, my favorite color and a symbol that to me represents freedom and lightness. It is neatly organized with a tray for the sand creation and a separate one with small boxes for collecting items. I intentionally chose items from around my home that have been gathered over time by myself and my children, especially on trips to the beach, which is my favorite destination. I also included a candle for light, unity, and peacefulness.

Raking the sand was calming, as was pouring the sand into the tray. Determining a placement to collect in a photograph for the purpose of this assignment was more demanding and took me out of the flow of the moment. I was more aware of the product over the process and made decisions in a more logical rather than creative way, placing shells together, a large rock to the side and beautiful stone in the center of the circular raked motions of the sand, adding three purple incandescent glass stones for highlight.

I was much happier after I had completed the assignment and write up and just allowed myself to be more creative. The second photo is simple and orderly with a collection of beautiful shells and stones sitting amongst the raked sand. While the overall construction is orderly, each artifact is unique and beautiful in it’s own way. By removing the candle and the glass stones, the result includes all objects of nature and therefore more pleasant to me in construction.

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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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