Sometimes, talking is just not enough. When faced with a problem or crossroad in life, it is helpful to be able to stand back and view a situation from different angles. As a Mental Health Counselor and Play Therapist my goal is to help my clients achieve this.
Sandtray Therapy uses hundreds of different miniatures including mythical symbols, people, shells, buildings, religious figures, animals, fairy-tale figures gems and stones, etc. Clients may use these figures, to create a scene on a tray.
The symbols chosen represent our inner selves, as they do in stories and dreams. Symbols uncover our deeper emotions, the same way a smell or song might trigger feelings and memories your logical brain was unaware of at the moment. A sand tray is a full sensory experience. It allows one “turn off” the logical brain, and create freely, expressing feelings and thoughts that may not be communicated thought words alone.
Creativity in the sand tray isn’t necessary. There is no right or wrong way to build a world in the sand. Often, the less thought put into a tray, the more insightful the it will be.
Through discussion and reflective observation with a trained therapist the creator can change or even just recognize obstacles preventing them from moving forward.
When stories are told in pretend, it offers a safe psychological distance from problems. It is powerful and empowering in a way that can only be experienced.
Sand trays can be especially effective for people who tend to rely too much on their intellect, or who have difficulty expressing emotion. They’ve also proven to be very helpful for those struggling with perfectionism.
Combined with talk therapy, obstacles can be brought to the surface, explored and surpassed. Sometimes, we just don’t know how to verbally express the REAL problem. Logic and emotion are most helpful when we allow them to work together.