In 2021 there are a lot of emerging therapies for people with disability, and those who have experienced traumatic events. One such therapy that is getting a lot of attention is Sandplay Therapy.  It has existed for upwards of thirty years, however it is only in the last five to ten years that it has been popping up around the country. Below we discuss all the details of Sandplay therapy, including what it is, who it is designed for and what the real benefits may be.

What is Sandplay Therapy?

Sandplay therapy is an play centered, expressive approach to therapy which involves sand trays to assist in diagnosing and treating some mental illnesses. It is commonly used for those who have suffered significant, traumatic events such as abuse or an isolated incident. 

How Does it Work?

At the beginning of the session the therapist will give the person a tray of sand. Not only is there sand in the tray but there may be other things such as toys or tools which can assist in creating a world for the client. Much like the session, these toys and tools are client chosen and the led. The therapist will watch, with little to no interrepution of the Sandplay, but both will have a converation at the end of the session talking about what they saw and how the client acted. This therapy model is based off the belief that clients will make a world of their own which may act as a window into their own struggles, experiences and life. Sandtherapy can also include other types of therapy, such as talk or art therapy. It may seem like a therapy method only for children but Sandplay is commonly, and succesfuly, used with adults too. 

Is it for Adults too?

The good news is this type of therapy is for anyone. It may seem like a child based therapy technique on the surface, but it is actually a highly succesful, extensive form of therapy which assists in emotional release. It is a safe environment for emotional expression. Some adults who have experiences past trauma may find a safe environment hard to find, making sand therapy a good choice for those adults. 

What Does it Help With?

Sandplay provides a safe space of expression for those who may not have experienced this before. It assists with allowing the persons experiences and unconscious thought to surface. The thought behind this is if those experiences did not surface, they will not be healed. Allowing a non-verbal space to express themselves is also helpful for those who have experienced trauma and struggle to voice their emotional state. Including sensory play, such as touching and moving sand with ones hand, is a therapy in itself and can also help clients open up and lower anxiety levels.


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