Lisa Shouldice MA, RP, CCP, Psychotherapist
If/When you feel ready to try a Sandtray and make it a part of your healing, you will have already seen me a few times and feel comfortable in our initial connection. The work will have slowly begun.
However, Sandtray can also be used in a few sessions, rather than as a part of longer-term therapy. A few sandtrays can help you get unstuck, aid decision-making and help you feel you are moving forward. You can choose a particular issue ex: Job stress, choosing a new career, making a decision to move to a new city, etc.
If you find you struggle with talking about your feelings, this is a great way to process deeply without having to be so verbal. I suspect it is for this reason that male clients and Aboriginal people gravitate to Sandtray. It is also well loved by clients that find connecting with nature is important to their mental health.
The immediate set up…
Picture it…you walk into a room that has two comfortable chairs and a small table between them. On that small table is a tray or large bowl with sand in it. On a nearby table or placed on shelves are hundreds of tiny figures. These figures are a combination of everyday items that are miniature ex: A house, chairs, animals…these figures also include mythical ones ex: mermaids and unicorns…and small sculptures that are more abstract. Some of these figures will fascinate you and some will feel odd or meaningless.
I will then say something such as, “Get your hands in the sand for a few minutes. When you are ready simply take this small basket and walk around the room, choosing your figures. You choose figures largely based on intuition. So choose the figures you have a strong reaction to, love or hate. Then bring them to the tray and place them in any way you wish to. There is no right or wrong way. And then we are going to chat about what you’ve created.”
I find it can feel odd at first, but once you have had completed one tray I think you will either love it or see the effect it can have on your life, fairly quickly. Other clients are surprised at how fast they start feeling “unstuck” in an area of their lives.