When you hear the word sandplay, the image of children messing about in sand and getting dirty comes to mind. Although this is true, sandplay has now been developed into a successful type of non-verbal intervention therapy.
Although in the beginning it seems juvenile, but this innovative therapy has proven successful for tapping into the subconscious brain and provide a deeper insight to the client’s behavior.
What is Sandplay Therapy
Clients usually afflicted with some sort of trauma or conflict, are provided a tray of sand to explore and build what comes to their mind. The therapist’s job is to sit back, observe and interpret how the mental state and the sandplay relate and explain each other.
Sandplay therapy has been used by therapists since the 1940s, first known as Jungian sandplay, to perform a psychoanalytical expressive therapy. The therapy is now evolved from just building imaginary worlds, to using humanistic or transpersonal backgrounds to generate a deeper understanding if the client’s behavior.
This type of therapy is highly recommended for people of all ages who have suffered a trauma but can’t verbally express and deal their inner conflict. Using sand and figurines, clients build worlds and landscapes, uncovering layers of their subconscious that helps explain their problems without invasive probing.
How Sandplay Therapy Benefits:
With minimum invasion of personal space and freedom to create as they wish, sandplay has proven beneficial for people of all ages who aren’t able to verbalize their problems and confusion.
The most prominent benefit of the therapy is that it eliminates the need to verbalize and forcefully speak of incidents that might trigger anxiety and panic. Most clients develop a type of PTSD after going through a trauma and are not yet ready to discuss what they might be feeling. Through non-verbal sandplay, the therapist can have a glimpse into the client’s mind without being invasive.
The second benefit this therapy provides is through the kinesthetic aspect of the sand. Sand has a sensory quality that allows the client to relax and calm down by manipulating it however they like. Previous studies have shown that adults and children alike, find running their hands through sand, therapeutic. This aspect of sandplay therapy works well with nervous clients who have developed anxiety after a trauma.
What makes sandplay therapy successful with trauma clients is the fact that it is centered on the client without overwhelming them with invasive questioning. The client has free reign of manipulating the sand as they like, expressing their own interpretation of how they feel. The worlds they create, the tools and figurines they use all hold some sort of metaphorical symbolism which the therapist can use to decode and understand the client’s inner state.
With a deeper understanding of the client’s conscious and subconscious mind and how they feel, the therapist can accurately deicide on the way ahead towards coping and dealing with the root cause of the problem.
Aware of all the benefits of sandplay and how effective it is with people of all ages, I provide my patients a safe space to have their own experience and let out their inner confusion on the sand; and then interpret it to help them find the best way to solve and cope with it.
The sandplay intervention technique I use allows the patients to have control over their mind and relay to me what they are feeling without feeling overwhelmed. If you find yourself or your child in a situation where sandplay therapy might seem the right choice, you can schedule an intervention session with me and get the help you deserve. Arnzie Johnson LCSW, RPT email@example.com and https://holistichealing.today/