Janet Muehe-Hayward LCSW #23749   (916) 708-0927


Carl Jung 

What is Sand Tray Therapy?

Sand tray therapy involves the use of miniatures which are placed in a specially designed tray. It is largely a non-verbal expressive process during which the miniatures are used to tell a story or create a scene. 

As an adult or adolescent, I may invite you to engage in the sand tray process. As you create your sand world you may notice that it represents something from your past, present or future. You may become aware of thoughts, feelings, experiences and/or relational issues which have been held in your sub-conscious. You will know when your sand world is complete and at that time I will help you to process what you have created. As you honor the images you have used to create your sand world and give permission to your sub-conscious mind to speak to you, it is likely powerful insights will come to you. This may come in the first sand world creation you make or it may come in subsequent sessions. I will be with you as you create your sand world and together we will process what this world tells you. The sand tray process can be a very powerful for adults and adolescents. Those who have embraced this process have told me that their sand worlds held insights and powerful images that took them by surprise. As the sub-conscious becomes conscious great healing and growth takes place.

Sand tray therapy is a treatment for adults, adolescents and children.

As I mentioned on the Play Therapy page, children do not “do therapy” the way adults or adolescents do. Play is their natural language, and therefore the language I must use to help your child.

Children are often drawn to the sand tray process due to their natural curiosity and enjoyment of the figures, as well as the sand itself. The sand tray process takes the pressure off the your child to communicate thoughts and feelings with words. It allows them to use their natural language of play to communicate. Your child’s sand worlds will give me windows into their past experiences, beliefs about themselves, problem behaviors and overwhelming emotions. The process of building a sand tray itself can be very stabilizing. 

Often the thoughts, feelings, memories, experiences, traumas and/or beliefs about themselves, have fueled their tantrums, aggressive behavior, isolation and/or other concerning behaviors. Holding these things inside takes a lot of energy from your child, energy which they could use to learn new skills. Once your child has learned that they can experience and express what they have been holding tight within themselves, and still be accepted and safe, they will have the energy needed to learn the necessary skills to manage their emotions and behaviors.

children and sand tray therapy

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