Sand Tray Therapy

Sand tray therapy is a type of therapy used often with children, but adults can benefit, as well.

It was developed by Margaret Lowenfield, Dora Kaliff, Goesta Harding, Charlotte Buhler, Hedda Bolgar, Lisolotte Fischer, and Ruth Bowyer. Sand tray therapy allows clients to create their own world using various types of figures, miniature toys, and colored sand. This world reflects the person’s own life, experiences, and thoughts. It gives the individual the avenue to process unresolved conflicts, traumas, obstacles, and gain clarity into aspects of their life.

This type of therapy allows for concerns to be processed in a safe environment, giving the client control of their world and its construction. The therapist will observe and process within the person’s work in the sand. They are actively involved in helping the client process emotions in the moment and facilitate growth through the experience.

“Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.”

– Carl Jung

Often, It is hard for children to talk about their emotions, especially when they have experienced trauma, neglect, or abuse. Sand tray therapy allows them the ability to process these experiences in a non-threatening environment. It allows them to talk about their emotions in their own way through miniature toys. They can construct events in new ways for healthy emotional processing and feel in control of the session.

Sand tray therapy is not just for kids.

Adults can benefit from the individualized experience of sand tray. This modality gives the client the ability to interpret their stressors, conflicts, relationships, and emotions in a new way. For clients that have shown minimal results in prior therapy, this approach may offer another option. The figures used in the sand tray can represent real life situations, events, and people in their lives, giving the client a new dimension of processing in the therapy space.

Sand tray therapists help the client explore aspects of “their world” and provide support, encourage, and guide the client to gain new insights. Therapists who utilize the sand tray approach need to be a licensed therapist through their state. Counselors may also choose to become Internationally Credentialed (ICST) through the International Association for Sand Tray Therapy, but it is not required at this time.