*Individual* Sand Work Session
*Individual* Sand Work Session
50-minute Individual Sand Work Session
It is almost impossible to describe the power of Sand Work. When clients place their chosen miniatures into the sand, it is a representation of their inner world. As a witness to their process, I am able to make observations, ask questions, and sit with the silence that often takes place while creating a sandtray. It is a beautiful process to witness.
“Sandtray provides felt safety and therapeutic distance through the powerful use of metaphor.” – Marshall Lyles, LPC-S, LMFT-S, RPT-S
How It Helps
Sand Work can be used with adults when success with verbal therapies is stifled, or when a therapeutic modality that allows more access to innate creativity is desired. An excellent use for the sand tray can be with grief or trauma, when words are difficult to utter or fully process. When clients touch the sand, it can be very soothing to the psyche, offering a healing beyond what we can visibly understand.
There are several components of Sand Work that make it effective for many people, including:
The design of the sand tray environment is a safe, contained world that is fully controlled by the client, and can be manipulated or changed by adding, subtracting, or moving figurines within the scene.
It does not require any artistic skill to have a satisfying sand tray experience—only selecting and placing objects.
Physically moving representational objects within the sandtray container has a beneficial effect on the body, especially in people who have undergone traumatic experiences—more so than simply talking about memories or ideas.
Who Benefits from Sand Work?
Adults and Adolescents
Sand Work is a creative method that does not feel “childish.” Sand Work provides access to a deeper level of consciousness and allows clients to “play out” their fears, hopes, dreams, experiences, and traumas. Clients are simply invited to create a world in the sand. Through the process of creating their world, they can make connections, apply problem-solving skills, and create new insights.
Not only is sand tray an effective method for children, but it is fun! The miniatures and sand are often appealing to children, and Sand Work provides an effective and safe way for children to share their inner world. It helps children express themselves when they may not have the words or ability to adequately express their thoughts and feelings. Children can freely play out their experiences and resolve life challenges from everyday stress to grief and traumatic events.
What To Expect
In a session using Sand Work, the facilitator will typically begin by encouraging the client to explore the sensory experience of the sandtray itself. Many clients may spend a few minutes just experiencing the cool, smooth sand on their fingers.
The client can leave the sand smooth and flat or create a landscape by shifting the sand in the tray. Then the facilitator will explain how to choose figurines in order to create a world or scene in the sand tray. The facilitator will instruct the client to choose several figurines that elicit a strong reaction, either positive or negative, and reassure the client that it’s OK not to “know” what each figure represents. Then the client will decide where to place each object in the sand landscape. The scene may be static, or it may evolve over the course of the session. The facilitator will encourage the client to observe what has happened in the world of the sand tray and discuss the meaning that the client sees in this experience. A photograph of the scene may be taken in order to keep a record of the session.