Sand Tray Therapy: My Experience

(Mercer Atlanta Play Therapy Student)

My home sand tray for sand tray therapy

My home sand tray for sand tray therapy

This is the first time I have ever seen sand tray therapy. It makes a lot of sense to me because it is less intimidating than talking to a therapist.

I have gone to counseling and found myself feeling nervous and trying to fill the silence. Sand tray therapy gives me a way to fill that silence without having to talk.

It is almost like permission to think a lot which I do all the time.

In class as I watched Dr. Stangline perform sand tray therapy on my classmate, I was amazed at how much she learned about the student’s life in less than ten minutes.

And technically a few minutes of that was the student creating her scene with no talking. I found it interesting that the front of the sand tray was at the forefront of our mind. It was important to know, but I wondered if it influenced how I set up my own scene.

My first scene I created in class was about my life in general. I made conscious decisions on which miniatures stood for which people in my life.

I made sure that my immediate family and myself were in the front of the tray. It was easy to explain which was good for my partner who was interpreting it. The sand tray scene I made at home was not so easy.

In fact I am not sure why I put a lot of the miniatures in there and where they are was not a conscious decision either.

I tried to just play and make a pretty scene. I would be really interested to have this scene interpreted by a therapist. I think this would be a good way to self explore.

When I interpreted my partner’s scene, I was intrigued by how easy the questions came to me.

I think I actually helped her with some of the anxiety she was having about time management. I also was able to learn a lot about her and her childhood.

This just seems like a great way to get a lot of information quickly especially with children and adolescents because it is so much less intimidating!

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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.

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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