Zen Garden Sand Tray Therapy

Sand Tray Therapy Warm-Up: Great for getting your client warmed up for therapy!

sand tray therapy

A Zen Garden is a special garden meant for meditation and reflection from Japan. It is also a helpful way to allow the client to discover sand tray therapy.

Natural elements in the Zen garden create a tranquil environment for your desk or backyard space.

The materials used in this unique garden are rocks, sand, a rake, shells, stone lanterns, bridges or pathways, Torrii (gate) and bits of greenery.

The idea is to rake the sand in the garden daily as this creates the impression of rippling water.

The sand symbolizes the ocean and the rocks symbolize the island of Japan. The symmetry of the Zen garden creates a soothing environment.

Stones are of the utmost importance in the Zen garden as they represent eternity.

The Zen garden reflects the minimalism attitude of the Japanese people. This concept is seen in Japanese art, decor, and beauty.

The Zen garden is not only meant to be viewed but deeply sensed by the viewer.

I often begin my sand tray therapy introduction using my Zen garden.

Clients and students can start to feel the soothing components of the sand and rake as they begin this journey. My Zen garden is accessible to my clients in my office.

If they chose to play in the Zen garden I suggest they may wish to try out the sand tray and begin sand tray therapy. Remember, some clients do not like to touch or work with sand. This is okay.

However, if they are drawn to the Zen garden I know that the sand does not repulse them and they may be open to the opportunities in the sand tray with sand tray therapy.

Materials to make your Japanese Zen Garden:

A round deep pie plate, ash tray with a deep base, small shadow box, or a terracotta pot base.

Also bring in clean play sand to fill up your base, a small rake buy or make), shells, rocks, and other natural materials. Sand Rake Stones Small container base rocks sparse greenery.


1. Find a base that you like. Add the sand and the other objects.

2. Rake the sand daily in a ripple pattern (circular or other).

3. Relax and enjoy your new creation and move towards sand tray therapy.

Bonus: You may wish to create your Zen garden in a drawing. Use the worksheet below to draw your own Zen garden.

Zen Garden Drawing

Zen Sand Tray Therapy Garden to Sand Tray Therapy

Zen Garden Sand Tray Therapy to Creative Counseling 101 Home

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.

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Creative Counseling eBooks for Sale:

Creative Counseling 101 eBook: Our Best Seller!

Creative Counseling ebook

Learn how to be a more Creative Counselor / Therapist with the book that started it all!

Learn step by step therapy with over fifty-five creative counseling and therapy techniques and activities. Includes full color reproducible worksheets with most activities.

Winner of the Counselor Writer of the Year Award, 2011, Georgia Regional Award, 2012

Download Your Copy Today Only $39.95
The Creative Counseling 101

Get ALL FOUR Creative Counseling eBooks for Only $98.95


Get your complete set of the Creative Counseling 101.com eBooks by Dr. Michelle Stangline for only $98.95, that's only $25.00 per eBook (Regular Price is $39.95).

Your complete set includes: Creative Counseling 101 Creative Group Counseling 101 Creative Play Therapy 101 Creative Sand Tray Therapy 101

Order Your Complete eBook Set Today by Clicking The Link Below:

Only $98.95 for all four eBooks

See Complete Set of ALL eBooks For Sale

BRAND NEW: Warm and Fuzzy School Counselor Classroom Guidance Lessons eBook

Get a year's worth of school counselor's guidance lessons, character education words, and social stories! Complete with lesson plans and behavior incentives.

school counselor guidance lessons eBook

Warm & Fuzzy School Counselor Guidance Lessons eBook

The Creative Small Group Counseling 101 eBook

This ebook includes 252 pages of step by step group therapy ideas for school counselors and professional therapists.

Group topics include grief, anger management, friendship, self-esteem, positive behavior, and stress management with colorful, reproducible worksheets.

Download Your Copy Today (See Below Link):

Only $39.95
Creative Small Group Counseling 101 eBook

The Creative Sand Tray Therapy 101 eBook

sand tray information book

Learn about the creative sand tray therapy process. This is an exact replica of the graduate sand tray therapy class I teach at a major university in Atlanta. You get 147 pages of creative ways to do sand tray therapy. Also included are colorful, reproducible worksheets for your clients to use and take home.

Buy it today for only $39.95

Sand Tray Therapy eBook Information and Order Form

Creative Play Therapy 101 eBook

play therapy e book and play therapy class

You can now learn everything I teach to graduate counseling students with this Creative Play Therapy eBook. The eBook has 25 sessions (181 pages) with step by step colored lesson plans and reproducible worksheets. Learn how to use the play therapy doll house, puppets, miniatures, miniature worlds, the sand tray, and more! If you work with children or teens then this book is a must have item for your practice.

Download your Play Therapy 101 eBook today!
eBook Play Therapy Book only $39.99

More Information for the Play Therapy eBook & Order Form

Bullying Prevention Coping Skill Card Set

Learn how to deal with bullies and mean teasers the emotionally intelligent way! Click the link below for more information:

bully prevention coping skill card set

Bully Prevention Coping Skills Card Set