Technique for Sand Tray Therapy: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Sandtray Therapy Example

by Sand Tray Therapy Student

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Sandtray Therapy Example #1

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Sandtray Therapy Example #1

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Sandtray Therapy Example #1 Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Sandtray Therapy Example #2  Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Sandtray Therapy Example #3  Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Sandtray Therapy Example #4

The hierarchy of needs extended sand tray for sand tray therapy class was different from the previous sand trays because I spent multiple days thinking of what I might want to place in the sand tray and what I might be missing.

In the end, I followed my instincts included the things that inspired me most. This experience allowed me to be thankful for the life I am living.

As I was thinking about many of the levels of the hierarchy, I realized that my needs have been met throughout my life and therefore I have been able to move up the hierarchy with relative ease. I thought of many of the children and families that

I have encountered throughout my career and how these children were lacking the safety and physiological needs that I have always taken for granted. Sometimes you get so involved in your own life and its relative struggles that you don’t stop to think about how fortunate you are in so many ways.

I did not have many miniatures to place in the physiological needs section of my sand tray so I had to get creative. I included pasta to represent nourishment and then I added gems to represent money. I added a water hole on the last day and although the house started in this section, I ended up moving it to the middle between the physiological needs and the safety needs because I thought it belonged in both.

The safety section had few miniatures and it remained the same throughout the week. The “ti amo” magnet represented my boyfriend who makes me feel safe. I also added the soldiers because they reminded me of my childhood. I grew up in or around military bases because my father was in the Navy. Therefore, I always had a sense of safety.

The love and belonging section of my sand tray was quite crowded and also remained the same from beginning to end. I chose to add a diversity of animals to represent the many important people in my life. The horses represented my family and the owl represented my boyfriend.

I currently have and have always had a great support system of individuals that have made me feel loved and included.

The self-esteem section of my sand tray also remained basically the same throughout the week. I moved the sun from the self-actualization section to this section because I just thought it belonged here more.

In this section, I was thinking about my education, represented by the school bus, and my career, represented by the magnet. I also placed motivational stickers in the tray because I tend to motivate myself but I also like to hear encouragement from others.

This section also included a sand tray therapy bridge leading to the next section. I was thinking that when I feel good about myself, I also tend to feel more fulfilled so the two areas are somewhat related. I have always been proud of my achievements in school and am now proud of the career I am creating for myself, even though I am not making the big bucks!

The final section of the sand tray for sand tray therapy was all about self-actualization. The first miniatures I placed in this section were the trees. I was thinking of the deep roots that trees possess and how they grow through the seasons and stand tall despite life’s challenges.

I also placed a key in the section because I felt it belonged. I feel that I possess the key to my life and that I am in control of what happens to me. I can choose to live the life I love. I also chose to add a peace sign and a ying yang symbol towards the end of the week.

I was trying to figure out a way to represent my beliefs and settled on creating symbols. For me, the ying yang represents a balance that I strive to achieve in many aspects of my life. The peace sign was also meaningful to me because I try to live as peaceful a life as I can.

Lastly, the sea shells were placed in this section because they wanted to be there. Even though I separated each of the sections of my hierarchy with popsicle sticks, I also made a point to leave space between them to give the sand tray therapy a more fluid feel. I enjoyed making this one!

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Disclaimer: This website and its content is intended for trained licensed mental health professionals and school certified mental health professionals to use for their clients / students at their own discretion.

*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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