Creative Therapy - Sandtray

Liz Bunting, Psychotherapist With SandtraySandtray is used as a tool for exploration and expression, creating a ‘world’ or scene in the sand using miniatures, objects and figures which is guided by imagination and often reflects the unconscious or inner world. Using symbolism and metaphor facilitates safe exploration for the client and together client and therapist explore the relationship between the world created in the sand and the client’s inner world.

Sandtray is a natural area of relaxation and the level of interaction makes it an effective tool for clients who are in a highly anxious state or find verbal expression difficult. This is particularly relevant for teenagers who may experience non verbal communication as less anxiety provoking. Sandtray is a technique that enables young people to convey their thoughts and feelings without words, often feeling more at ease when they do talk while creating a sandtray world because they are relaxed and not feeling pressured to talk.

Adolescents can re-enact an event or symbolically represent a dream or nightmare they have found difficult and this helps them makes sense of what has happened and to realise the choices they have or power they have to change a situation. As a young person uses sandtray and at times may talk, psychotherapy enables them to come to an understanding of themselves and their experiences. By creating a scene in the sandtray reflecting a client’s life with obstacles or challenges, things buried or hidden depicted by symbols, figures and animals – themes can arise that really shift a person’s perspective or understanding of a situation or relationship. The young person is then able to work through this problem, easing their anxiety and increasing self confidence.

Issues Worked With

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Boundaries
  • Decision Making
  • Depression or Low Mood
  • Difficulties with friendships & relationships
  • Effective communication
  • Stress
  • Grief & loss
  • Low mood, Self esteem/Confidence
  • Motivation
  • Problems with School
  • Resilience
  • Trust
  • Transitions