Sand Tray Therapy, Maslow Heirarchy Extended Tray Activity, Student # 2, Martha, Summer 2012

by Martha
(Sand Tray Therapy Student)

Sand Tray Therapy Activity: Maslow's Hierarchy Sand Tray Therapy Photo # 1 or 4

Sand Tray Therapy Activity: Maslow's Hierarchy Sand Tray Therapy Photo # 1 or 4

Sand Tray Therapy Activity: Maslow's Hierarchy Sand Tray Therapy Photo # 1 or 4 Sand Tray Therapy Activity: Maslow's Hierarchy Sand Tray Therapy Photo # 2 of 4 Sand Tray Therapy Activity: Maslow's Hierarchy Sand Tray Photo # 3 of 4 Sand Tray Therapy Technique: Maslow's Hierarchy Sand Tray Therapy Photo # 4 of 4

Sand Tray Therapy Technique, Maslow's Heirarchy Extended Tray, Student #2, Martha
Martha’s Maslow's Heirarchy Extended Sand Tray

Maslow, who is considered to be the father of humanistic psychology, created a hierarchy of needs to highlight what he believed are different levels of needs that must be met before we are able to reach self-actualization—the innate desire he claimed all humans have to reach their potential and capacity for spirituality.

The first level in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is composed of our physiological needs, such as having food and shelter. Sand Tray Therapy Photo # 1 shows a fruit basket and a cut-out paper house from a magazine to illustrate how my basic need for both food and shelter were met when I was growing up.

The second level up refers to our need for safety, such as stability, and predictability. Sand Tray Therapy Photo # 2 shows a miniature bride in the left hand side of the display representing my low sense of safety during my unpredictable 29-year marriage, which was a mirror of the low sense of security I sensed growing up.

Opposite to the bride, in the right hand side, I have spelled the word friends showing a stark contrast—these are my fellow travelers who have helped me through the recovery process of divorce and beyond.

The third level up refers to our need to be loved. Sand Tray Therapy Photo # 3 shows a photo of my grandchildren in the center of the display representing how my need to be loved is being met through my relationship with them.

The fourth level up refers to our need for self-esteem, which includes feeling competent and being recognized by others. Sand Tray THerapy Photo # 4 is a cut-out image of Oglethorpe University, my alma mater, which I pulled from one of our alumni newsletters. This image represents a glimpse of how that need was met when I graduated with honors after returning to school 32 years after I had quit school to get married.

The fifth and final level in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is about self-actualization, which is only reached after all of our basic needs have been already met. I am symbolizing reaching this level by the presence of a miniature angel that a friend gave me after my divorce, a flower my granddaughter gave me to build my sand tray, and a rock representing endurance.

I will keep the sand tray therapy technique Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in mind as I continue this journey we call life.

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*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.

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