Sandtray Therapy

Darlene Kirtley, M.S. LPC


Sand tray therapy is a form of play therapy under the umbrella of expressive arts therapy. It originated with psychologist Carl Jung and was further developed by several notable therapists.  Sand tray therapy consists of using a tub of sand and several miniatures from many different categories, such as people, land animals, sea animals, natural objects, religious/spiritual symbols, transportation, building, etc. The therapist may be general and ask the client to "create a sandtray" using any of the miniatures available. Or the therapist may be more directive and ask the client to build a tray about a specific issue such as "Build a tray showing how you feel in this relationship."

Sandtray is an enjoyable and creative complement to traditional talk therapy for people of all ages. It provides many benefits, including serving as a visual, tactile, and symbolic representation of one's state of being. 

If I feel that sandtray therapy would be beneficial for you, I will offer the option, or you may request to do sand-tray at any time. No one has to do sand-tray if they choose not to.  It is completely optional.

What to expect:

The process of building the tray is usually rather quiet and contemplative. Relaxing background music or nature sounds may be played while you choose your miniatures and build your tray. There are many miniatures to choose from and you will be given plenty of time to make your selections. I will sit nearby while you build your tray but usually you will do the actual building alone.

After you have finished your tray, together we will look at what is there and discuss the symbols and dynamics that are represented. This is called "processing" the tray. Once we have processed your tray, I will ask you to give your creation a name and, with your permission, we will take a photograph of it for your future reference. You are also welcome to take your own photo. At your subsequent appointments we may decide to continue using the sandtray every time or intermittently at various points in your therapy. At some point, we will look back over your sandtray photos and review your journey.


Oasis Counseling & Enrichment

201 Main Suite 9

Parkville, MO 64152

(816) 651-1868

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