Despite looking like a toy, sand trays are highly therapeutic. Sandpray therapy is also called “sandplay therapy,” with its English name, and is often used with people who have had a traumatic event. It is most commonly used in children, but it can help teens and adults as well.
Psychotherapists can use sand trays to treat a variety of mental illnesses, assess, diagnose or treat their condition. Research shows that sand tray therapy can help increase emotional expression in many people while reducing psychological distress.
Sandplay is a powerful psychospirical method to access the subconscious in a way that creates profound change. This is a safe and effective way to work with preverbal while simultaneously promoting healing and nonverbal trauma is healing. Sandplay therapy is based on the work of Dora Kalff and Carl Jung. Inherent in Sandplay is the idea that the soul given the right circumstances is self-healing.
This therapy is learned through the training provided; In these trainings, therapists learn about Jung’s depth psychotherapy. These courses are designed for therapists who want to start using sandplay in their practice with adults and / or children. Therapists working in verbal modalities or expressive art therapies may find this a useful addition to their repertoire.
What Does Sand Therapy Include?
Sand tray therapy is a combination of play therapy and art therapy. The therapist provides a tray or box filled with sand. Miniature toys are provided to the customer to create a game world. Toys can include anything from farm animals and dinosaurs to people and cars. Trees, fences, gates, gates, and buildings are also common. The person being treated is free to choose which toys to include in the tray, and then the toys are arranged the way the person wishes.
The therapist basically serves as an observer and can rarely be terminated without completion. It is thought that the person receiving this therapy and goal therapy can create a world that represents their inner struggles or conflicts. After the sandplay is complete, the therapist and the person receiving the therapy often discuss what was observed, the toys chosen, how they were arranged, and symbolic or figurative meanings.
The person receiving the therapy can then choose to rearrange the toys based on the discussion. Sand tray therapy may also include verbal therapy, play therapy, art therapy, or other treatments.
How Does Sand Therapy Help?
Sand tray therapy was developed by Dora Kalff and is derived from Margaret Lowenfeld’s Worldtechnik Jungian theory and practices of Buddhist contemplation. It is based on the idea that if a therapist provides a safe space to the person receiving the therapy, that person will use the sand tray to find solutions to their problems on their own. Studies show that sand tray therapy reduces symptoms of many mental health problems and increases flexibility.
Sand tray therapy is not configured. It allows customers to experience improvement throughout the treatment process. It provides clients with the opportunity to deeply cleanse themselves of negative emotions by allowing them to express their own inner thoughts and feel accepted by the therapist. Sandplay or sand therapy can also be an enjoyable sensory experience. It facilitates the natural expression of emotions. It can be used individually, as part of a group or family therapy.
What Does the Research Show About Sand Therapy?
Studies show that sand trays are an effective treatment for various problems and can be used in many different populations. A study of four– and five-year–old children with externalizing behavioral problems showed that children exhibit less aggressive behavior after receiving a 30–minute group sand therapy treatment twice a week for 16 sessions.
Another small study of three children who witnessed domestic violence in Korea found that the supportive music and images combined with sandplay therapy improved emotional and behavioral adaptation after six sessions. Additionally, immigration in KoreaA study of women with men found that group sandplay treatment improved positive self-expression and reduced negative self-expression.
In a study involving men with Asperger syndrome in China, it was found that sandplay therapy, when combined with other forms of treatment, helped improve psychological well-being and interpersonal communication skills. Researchers argue that sandplay therapy can help vulnerable children with verbal trauma and can be made a good strategy for children who are too young to talk about their traumatic experiences.
One study that supports this theory was conducted on a 3-year-old orphan child with HIV, and researchers found that sandplay therapy provided emotional support to the child.
Information on Sand Therapy
When an adult or child participates in sandplay therapy, it is a wonder how using miniature toys in the sand can help them solve problems. If people have questions about the effectiveness of the treatment, it is important for the therapy to be successful, asking the questions and getting answers to the therapist.
When used as part of an assessment, the therapist can provide a sand tray and then look for common themes that indicate insecurities, aggressive behavior or resilience, and positive emotional expression.
If used as part of treatment, sessions can be 30 to 60 minutes long and can be scheduled weekly or biweekly. The therapists usually prepare the necessary materials before participating in the therapy and then present an empty sand tray and miniatures to start working. The Therapist may also ask you to photograph the sand trays so that changes in the scenes you create can be reviewed over time.
It may take time for the therapist to talk about the sand tray profile at the end of each session. For example, what would it mean if pets were caged while more dangerous animals (such as tigers or dinosaurs) roam free? Together, you can find a meaning in the sand tray.
However, very little discussion is possible as well. Instead, the therapist can provide a safe space for the person to work.
While any psychotherapist can provide sandplay therapy, some therapists are specifically certified in sandplay therapy. If you think you or someone you love might benefit from sand tray therapy, it’s important to see a good doctor to get started. The doctor can refer the person to a local therapist.