What is Sand Tray Therapy?

Sand tray therapy, also known as sandplay therapy, is a nonverbal form of therapy. Miniatures are chosen carefully and placed in a tray of sand. It works in conjunction with traditional talk therapy to help a person heal past trauma and build up resources that are necessary for other parts of life. This type of therapy is known to be helpful for children and adolescents as well as adults, especially beneficial for clients who have been through abusive or traumatic experiences.

Clients are invited to use the toys and miniatures available so they can create a small version of a world that displays something they are living at the moment. The client receives guidance, but they are not interrupted during the process. 

Once the client is done, the therapist, who has been an observer to this point, may decide to ask questions about choices made or the process of how things were put together. The discussion might focus on how the items were arranged and what this could mean for the client, but the therapist never interprets for them. 

Sand tray work is brain-informed and research-based.  Sand tray work uses all of the senses which promotes the brain to be more integrated and form more neurons.  More neurons = better brain function = higher-level skills such as the development of empathy and insight. Sand tray work also allows for the left and right sides of the brain to be better connected, which again aids in the development of a better, integrated brain. Finally, sand tray work is a rich experience and often goes through the “back door” of the mind, escaping the blocks many people put up with their words.  (southernsandtray.com)

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