What is Sand Tray?
Sand tray is a therapy that uses sand contained in a tray (approximately 20”X24”). The cool sand itself is a therapeutic medium with it awakening the senses of sight, touch, and smell, and perhaps evoking in adults memories of childhood. The participant is encouraged to select from an assortment of miniature figures of numerous varieties and to create or build their world in the tray. Through this experience the participant addresses therapeutic issues for which they might not be consciously aware. This is accomplished as the unconscious guides the builder to select significant miniatures and to place them in the sand in a certain way. The therapist serves as a witness and helps the builder process their world. Photos are taken of the completed tray and maintained in a confidential folder. At the conclusion the builder is asked if they would like to take the world apart themselves, have the therapist help them take it apart, or even leave it to be disassembled after session.
“The process is a journey.”
Dr. Atchison currently offers sand tray opportunity for individuals, families, and couples either as the sole therapy or as a complement to more traditional therapy. She has attended numerous workshops with well known present-day sand tray authorities and most recently with Dr. Gisela De Domenico, a former student of Dora Kalff. By participating in her own sand tray experience over several years, Dr. Atchison is both personally and professionally aware of how the sand tray comes alive during the journey.
“Even though I’ve participated in workshops and understand the sand tray process, it always amazes me when I begin constructing my own tray. My unconscious takes over. Without any thought to it I select figures that attract my attention, figures that will represent a significant meaning in my sand tray world.” ~ Dr. Atchison
Who Can Benefit from Sand Tray Therapy?
Almost everyone can. For example:
- Couples exploring premarital issues
- Couples that are empty nesters
- Individuals going through a new developmental phase of life
- Individuals searching for meaning in their life
- Children and adolescents