Play Therapy

Sand Therapy

This picture is an example of sand therapy with a teenage girl.  Look carefully at the picture to the left and you will see a teen who is the primary caretaker for her siblings.  Her siblings can be nice or little bears. A guardian in jail. A mother disengaged due to substance abuse.  The client depicted a clock to indicate her truancy and running late for school.  When looking behind the shield you will see the client’s emotion of anger (volcano) and her way of coping with her family stress by using alcohol.  All this client was asked to do by the therapist was to put whatever she wanted in the rice and create her own “sand world.”

Sand Therapy allows the client’s inner and outer worlds to come together by use of miniatures in sand or rice to depict how he or she is feeling. It taps into the unconscious in adults and children to visually show their concerns. After a client tells his or her story the therapist will ask questions, we are able to better understand and see what the issues are by looking together in the sand world.

Sand world on hoarding, grief, and loss, abuse, transitional issues, looking back on one’s life, children witnessing substance abuse, anxiety, bullying, concentration issues, and relationship issues are among a few of the sand worlds that have been made in sessions.

Process of Making a Sand World

  1. The client is asked to make whatever he or she wants in the rice or sand to let the therapist know what is going on in his or her world.
  2. After the sand world is made the therapist will ask the client to tell the story of his or her sand world.
  3. Then after the story telling is over the therapy begins with asking therapeutic questions to work through client issues.  Sample questions may be “Are you in the sand world?” “Is there anyone else you know in it?” “What happened before this story?” “Are you a good guy or a bad guy?”
  4. The client will then begins to incorporate his or her feelings, trauma, and stressors in the original story so the therapist is able to understand the client’s world.

After the story is told and therapeutic questions are asked the therapist then together the therapist and client are able to work through his or her issues and reduce the client’s trauma, fear, identify emotions, address abuse, and client’s desire for safety and security along with discussing positive coping skills.