Student #4 Nature Tray for Sand Tray Therapy Class

by Student 4 ? Summer 2014
(Atlanta, GA)

Nature Outdoor Sand Tray Therapy Student #4

Nature Outdoor Sand Tray Therapy Student #4

This sand tray for my sand tray therapy class was very moving to me. I am very much a nature girl so I was very excited to do this tray. I went to a spot that I used to go to frequently in high school with my friends, there is a big lake there and on the beach of that lake is where I chose to do my sand tray. On the walk there I found three little mushrooms and then one more away from them, I love the way mushrooms look so I decided to take them with me. Unfortunately when I picked one the stem broke but I chose to keep it anyway. I found pretty purple and white flowers when I was at the spot and I began my tray with the mushrooms and flowers first. As I worked I found more and more things to put in my circle, I almost couldn't stop. I starting thinking about what the things I was putting in there would mean. The mushrooms represent me and my parents and my boyfriend. My parents are not placed close together but my boyfriend and I are, I did this part unconsciously. My boyfriend is also the broken mushroom, he is not broken to me but sometimes he sees himself that way. I surrounded them with tiny white flowers to show that they are sacred and close to my heart. Next I started thinking about my best friend and how important she is to me, we made up a story about an island where it was just me and her, her husband, and my boyfriend living together and it was the perfect world to us. I found four beautiful white flowers two were opened two were not. The two opened ones we my friend and her husband because they have been together for so long, the two closed ones are me and my boyfriend. We are long distance and though we have known each other since we were kids, our relationship is still blooming. I put a seed in the middle and then I found a bigger melon looking thing and put it next to it. These two represent my growth where I have started and where I am now, still growing but a little more developed than when I started. I also included a white shape that looked like an exoskeleton of a creature, I found another thing that looked like the exoskeleton of a bug. I put these two next to each other as these represent the eerie darker side of me. I put a large reed over them to kind of shelter them as this is not a side I share with everyone. I also put fluffy reeds and a large stem with tiny white flowers at the top and a green leaf. I am not sure what these symbols represent, but they looked like they would fit perfectly in my tray. I also found some beautiful black berries and couldn't resist putting them in there. These represent the people close to me, my two best friends, my friend from earlier and my boyfriend as well. We are all connected at the center of the stem and this represents my heart.

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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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