Sand tray therapy is a form of expressive therapy, typically used in session with children. However, it can be used with all ages. Sand tray therapy involves a tray of sand and figurines that can be placed inside of the tray to allow them to reflect on different prompts that are given from the therapist. Sand tray can be used to help the individual better understand themselves and the feelings that they may be experiencing in their life. (Good Therapy, 2020)
I remember when I started therapy when I was 10 years old and I walked into my first session with my therapist. As a 10 year old, I really had no expectations or any clue about what therapy was all about. I vividly remember going into the room and my therapist giving me options for what we could do for our first session to get to know each other. One of the options she gave me was playing in a sand tray. I remember feeling a lot less anxious as the session went on because it was relaxing to play and talk to her. As I am starting my journey as a therapist now, it has been really awesome to look back on that memory and recognize what my therapist was trying to do in that session. She was using the sand to make me feel more comfortable while processing my emotions and worries. That is one of the greatest benefits of using sand in therapy. Going into my internship, I knew I wanted to work with kids. I am grateful that my caseload has many kiddo clients that give me the opportunity to try new techniques, such as sand tray, to process emotions with them. I have learned that using a sand tray in sessions does not always work with all of my kiddo clients. Each child has a preference on what they like to engage in during sessions to make them feel more comfortable. I have found that my artistic clients benefit greatly from sand tray therapy. I have seen amazing moments take place in the office when using a sand tray with my clients. It fills me with joy to see a technique like this help another kiddo like it helped me when I was younger and just starting therapy.
There are many benefits to sand tray therapy. It allows the clients to express themselves in a different way than talk therapy. It can help the client dig deeper into their emotions and depict what they are feeling as they process a difficult time in their life. It is a good technique to use for clients that may be struggling to find words to explain how they are feeling in the moment. It allows the client to feel like they have control in the session, aside from the therapist giving the client the prompt to depict in their tray. It also gives them the freedom to bring out their creative side!
Overall, I have seen eye opening moments with my clients and sand tray therapy. I have seen the progress they have made when it comes to opening up in their session. Children are so bright and I enjoy sitting with them and learning how they experience and process their emotions. If you are a therapist that is thinking about using sand tray therapy with their clients, I would highly recommend asking your client if they are interested in trying it out and integrating it into their next session. You may be surprised to see what comes to light when using this technique. I look forward to introducing sand tray therapy to new clients that are interested in using it to discover more about themselves and process the hard things in life.
GoodTherapy. (2020, May 3). Sand Tray therapy. GoodTherapy. Retrieved December 13, 2022.