Sand Tray Therapy

What is Sand Tray Therapy?

Sand tray therapy is based on the principles of dynamic expressive play therapy. As such, it is client-centered and non-confrontational. It can be used by individuals, groups, adults, children, adolescents, couples or families who avail themselves of an extensive collection of miniatures, different colors of sand and water. The miniatures are symbols for feelings, situations or even people. they can be used to tell a story about relationships, challenges or hopes and dreams. There is no right or wrong way to use this therapeutic method. Some people create worlds; some make patterns in the sand. It can be done inside or outdoors.

Often there comes an “a-ha” moment when the storyteller has a new understanding; sometimes there are tears. Each storyteller is encouraged to trust her/himself. My collection includes trays of colored sands, images, flowers, trees and seashells. Sand tray can be used instead of talk therapy, in addition to talk therapy, or not at all. But it is always available.

Charlene Manchester Barton, LADC LSW