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Sandtray and Sandplay Therapy

A combination of Art Therapy and Play Therapy

What is Sandplay?

Jungian-based Sandplay Therapy is a psychodynamic approach, developed by Jungian analyst Dora Klaff.

The sandtray enables creative and imagination, and more importantly, the psyche to express itself through symbols, allowing for healing, self-discovery and exploration in the free and protect space, where the sacred process is held witnessed.


Sandplay and Sandtray

Sandplay Therapy is a non-directive Psychodynamic approach that enables unconscious content become more accessible.

This is done by making three-dimensional images/worlds through symbols by placing miniatures into a wooden tray specifically measuring 28.5" x 19.5 " x 3".

The bottom and sides are painted blue to present water and sky. Both dry and wet sand can be used in sandtrays. 
Sandplay does not involve directives while Sandtray Therapy does. "Sandtray Therapy" is often used as an umbrella term. 

The Therapeutic Powers of Sandtray 

A non-verbal, creative modality that is...

  • Allowing for non-verbal expression. requiring no artistic skill at all.

  • Involving the use of metaphors and symbols through miniatures and figurines, which provides a bridge to the subconscious to allow unconscious contents to emerge

Suitable for children and adults.

  • Sandtray is a combination of Art Therapy and Play Therapy suitable for ALL ages, for individuals and groups.

  • The sandtray provides safety and containment, creating a free and protected space for play and imagination which are both crucial for healing and growth.

A holistic and tactile approach

  • The use of sand engages the kinesthetic senses (which activates the brain stem, lower brain, limbic system), calming the nervous system through touch.

  • Touch as a less dominant sense can stimulate regression to preverbal and pre-trauma states of 'well being'.

  • Working with sand increases communication between the right and left brain, and enables self-regulation and healing of the psyche.

that is evidence-based to:

  • Decrease anxiety and traumatic stress, effects of trauma and grief as an evidence-based intervention

  • Boost creativity, resilience, self-esteem, emotional expression and release

About sandtray in working with trauma

  • The invitation to play or create in the sandtray is safe and non-threatening. As trauma damages the capacity for imagination, the sandtray offers a safe space for re-connection, healing and growth. 

Process of Sandplay Therapy

  • As traumatic memories can remain inaccessible, or be too overwhelming for the conscious mind to process, Sandplay Therapy as a psychodynamic approach aims to make unconscious content (i.e. memories and experiences) accessible.

  • The process of Sandplay Therapy is self-regulating and based on the premise "the psyche knows best what it needs at each moment".

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