Clients are encouraged to use miniature toys, figurines and objects in the sand in any way they choose. The design of the sand tray is guided by their imagination and their subconscious. The result is a microcosm of their inner world. The world within the sand tray is expressed through symbolism and metaphor; it may not make immediate sense to the client. But aided by the therapist, a client, even a child, can begin to recognise the relationship between the creation in the sand and their inner world. There are those who have described sandtray as comparable to a “waking
dream”. Meaningful images, dilemmas, fears, hopes and dreams can be accessed through the sandtray, allowing conscious and unconscious aspects of the psyche to interact. The therapist neither analyzes nor interprets the sand-world. The meaning of the play emerges as the client experiences it and shares it with the therapist. The outcome is often a feeling of rightness and truth for the client. “This is how it is. This is just what it is like for me.”
Why Use Sandtray Therapy?
Sandtray translates personal experience into a concrete, three-dimensional form. As a picture can say more than a thousand words, a figure or scene can express feelings, emotions and conflicts that previously had no verbal language. Hence, the sand-worlds that are created offer a rich and
highly personalized vocabulary for pre-verbal or non-verbal experience. Without having to depend on words, clients can increase their capacity for expression through the tray. Self-awareness and communication are enhanced by this process.