Sand tray therapy is a type of play therapy that uses a sand tray to help people, both children and adults, to communicate and express themselves. A therapist who specializes in sand tray therapy will be equipped with a tray filled with sand and, often, a large collection of small things (like toys or figurines) that can be arranged in the sand.
The client is encouraged to organize the sand tray however they want, positioning objects or simply creating patterns in the sand. This form of therapy provides a safe space for individuals to act out their fantasies and express their feelings and thoughts, without having to rely on words.
How Sand Tray therapy can help
Children are often unable to discuss or describe their emotional states, especially if there has been an experience of trauma, neglect, or abuse. As this form of therapy is non-verbal that gives children a sense of security and being within their comfort zone. The therapist gives little instructions and then allows the child to play freely in order to give space for expression of his or her own experiences of situations. When children have a sense of independent play they start to make creative decisions and express themselves through behaviour without instruction from the therapist. This form of therapy is a valuable, powerful and a very incredibly way of gaining an insight into potentially traumatic experiences.