Sandtray Therapy is an expressive and projective therapy involving play, which is the language of childhood. It is flexible and adaptive, and therefore is suitable for people of all ages from 4 to adults. It integrates a wide variety of therapeutic approaches such as psychoanalysis, CBT, EMDR, etc., bringing out the unconscious into the conscious. Using the sand-tray, sand and miniature toys, Sandtray Therapy empowers self-directed expression of issues that are deeply emotional and difficult to verbalised. With the combined sensory experience of the client, and the therapist’s non-conditional care and acceptance, the dynamics of Sandtray Therapy provides a safe avenue for the client to reattach, regulate and restore (heal).
When the client is invited to engage in Sandtray Therapy, he or she is introduced to the elements of
- Sand – the most basic compound on Earth, which forms the foundation of nurture.
- Tray with blue bottom – a containment space representing the deep inner self, with the blue representing water or sky.
- Toys – representatives of all parts of the client’s life and fantasy, the type and quality of the relationships or events.
Sandtray in Counselling
During a counselling session the sandtray approach is a fresh form of communication and expression. The client is invited to pick the toys that are intentionally arranged and displayed on the open shelves. The toys of the client’s choosing are based on what is evoked in their childhood memories, or representations of their unspoken voices and circumstances. The client is then gently invited to recreate the targeted inner world with the chosen toys in a playful and observant fashion. This therapeutic journey that empowers non-verbal expression allows for client to be seen, heard and understood.
Sandtray and EMDR Therapy
Sandtray and EMDR Therapy is the ideal combination of making the unconscious conscious in a safe way by supporting the imagery, bilateral stimulation, adaptive shifts, cognitions, regulatory techniques, and more. It creates a distance between the client and the targeted disturbing material being addressed, making it safer and easier for the client to arrive at a more adaptive resolution with the desensitisation and reprocessing phase of EMDR Therapy. As the approach is targeted, this results in a more complete resolution and healing of the underlying traumatic experience. This approach is usually used by trained and experienced EMDR Clinicians who have minimally attained their basic certification in EMDR Therapy.