Sand Tray Therapy Warm Up for Clients: My Zen Garden Experience

by Sand Tray Therapy Student

Sand tray therapy warm up:  zen garden

Sand tray therapy warm up: zen garden

This is my Zen sand tray therapy warm up project. I found this sand tray therapy assignment exciting because my supervisors’ offices have Zen garden’s in them and I ‘play’ with them all the time. I was excited to make my own that I could one day put in my own office. I often find myself playing with these whenever I come across one. I looked at several different places for a small empty wooden box appropriate for a Zen garden. My search was fruitless. However, I got the idea while out shopping for a Zen tray that I could possibly use a picture frame, as long as I removed the glass of course.

I thought I had just the one at home, but I thought it appeared to be a little too big after closer inspection. I then turned to a gift I received from play therapy class last semester. A little play pool table looked to be just the right size. I filled it with sand and, viola! Zen garden! Not only did I like the versatility of being able to use it for two purposes, but the bottom was green which I thought was an interesting twist.

I added a few smooth rocks to my sand tray therapy zen garden and made a neat little rake out of toothpicks. I wanted to add some greenery so I set outside to find something that would create the soothing feeling desired from a Zen garden. I looked and could not find anything that really stuck out to me, but then on my way back inside, resigned to just using a rake and rocks, I saw a little patch of clovers.

I was instantly brought back to my childhood. I remembered that I loved to search patches of clovers for what seemed like hours as a child looking for four leafed clovers and usually found one. While I no longer have time to look for a four leafed clover, I still enjoy their simplicity and symmetry. I already know the power of the Sand Tray Therapy Zen garden and look forward to having one of my own on my desk on the future.

While I am a little disappointed that I could not create the Zen garden I wanted, I will keep my eyes peeled for the perfect Zen garden tray. I also really liked Dr. S’s idea of using different rakes, and greenery in the Zen garden.

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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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