Sandtray therapy is one of my favorite techniques I use in the clinic. Not only does it give you and the child a chance to relax, have fun, and express creativity, but it also allows you, the therapist, to develop the therapeutic alliance and process through difficult emotions. I believe it’s one of the best tools in our therapeutic toolbox as clinicians. It's so rewarding to see a spark of excitement and interest in my clients when they set their eyes on my sandtray and miniature set up when they first walk into my office.
One of the greatest gifts we have is imagination. Over the years, I've used every creative means possible in therapy for children and adolescents — sandtray therapy being one of my favorites. It's a playful and expressive means in which clients can represent their emotions, both conscious and unconscious, via figurines placed on a tiny "stage" inside a sandbox that resembles a smaller version of our world.
What makes sandtray therapy unique is that there is no pressure to create something specific. A directive can be provided, but it is not necessary. The magic words I use are, "create your world inside the sandtray."
And like that, the child often gets to work. While others may need some reassurance that they are free to create and there is no need to fill any expectation at all other than participating and seeing what comes of the experience.
Sandtray therapy creates an environment where clients can feel safe and contained, explore their feelings, process their experiences, and develop new perspectives.
The purpose of this article is to provide you with great resources and supplies to help spark your curiosity for the awesome intervention!
Here is what you need to get started! Keep in mind it all depends on your budget. You could opt for buying a complete starter kit or slowly acquire figurines that have been gently used or ask family and friends for figures they may like to donate to you.
In addition, buying sand and a sandtray can also be less costly if you think outside the box!
Let's start with the cost-effective supplies.
When I first started, I bought a sandtray from the container store, which was actually a plastic boot storage bin that was a great size for me. I actually still use this since it's easy to store in my small office. This is an excellent option at only $14.99! If you would like the traditional blue color for your sandtray, for a couple of dollars more, you could also purchase a tray at playtherapysupply.com.
You can also buy a 50 lb. bag of play sand at Home Depot for about $4! And lastly, the miniatures! I have the two best websites for getting your miniature collection started. These two websites have bundled starter kits (I will get to that in a second) and have dollar bins where you can buy miniatures for just a dollar each! You can go to Playtherapysupply.com or toyofthetrade.com to browse their selection of miniatures.
Both websites are fantastic, and I love to have options if I cannot find a specific miniature I'm needing. Just a word of caution, it's addicting to collect miniatures; you have been warned!
Also, as an important side note, representation matters! If you are looking for people miniatures, make sure you are keeping in mind that you have a diverse selection!
If you want to go big and have the budget to spend on a starter kit, there are many options! Take a look at the selection of starter kits here at playtherapysupply.com
VIRTUAL SANDTRAY THERAPY:
If you are looking for virtual sandtray therapy resources that are cost-effective, take a look below at these two websites:
Online Sand Tray by Dr. Karen Fried https://onlinesandtray.com/
Simple Sand Play https://simplysandplay.com/
If you are wanting more instruction or even to become certified below are the best places to start!
Training & Certification https://southernsandtray.com/programs/
101 + Sandtray Ideas for Counseling http://jehdnet.com/journals/jehd/Vol_4_No_1_March_2015/6.pdf
Let me know in the comments section if you have any additional resources you are using for sandtray therapy! Be on the lookout subscribers for an email with two freebies! If you haven't subscribed yet, please do so by clicking the banner below!
I would love to hear from you!
What sandtray therapy resources do you use?
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be utilized as a form of self-help, personal clinical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content on this blog is meant for educational purposes and to provide clinical art therapy directives/resources for trained mental health professionals. This information is by no means a substitute for therapy.
Affiliate/Earning Disclaimer: Lauren Graham is an affiliate of the PlayTherapySupply.com. As an affiliate of Play Therapy Supply, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases that are made by clicking on the affiliate links provided in this post. I only recommend products that I believe to be valuable and purchasing through my links is the same as shopping through each site. The only difference is you will be supporting my future work and allowing me to continue creating free quality content for you. Thank you!