Sand Tray Therapy at Aspen Therapy

Sand tray therapy (sandplay) helps children work out their feelings of anger, sadness and fears. In addition it helps children resolve developmental issues, and helps them individuate.

The objects provided for sandplay are carefully selected, miniature objects, which children can use to create aspects of their inner or outer worlds in a bin of sand. The objects are like words for them and their play is their language. Children thus construct their sandtray, expressing themselves.

The miniature objects may be houses, castles, fire stations, rocks, shells, and figurine characters of folklore, fantasy and ordinary people.

What It Is Used For

Sandplay has helped with the following issues:

  • • The acting out of angry and aggressive behavior
  • • Unexplained anxiety and fears
  • • Nightmares or scary dreams
  • • Panic attacks
  • • Frequent crying
  • • Lack of motivation, poor school performance when the child is capable
  • • Child being bullied at school
  • • Sibling rivalry
  • • Known sexual abuse of child
  • • Bedwetting
  • • Nail biting

Sandplay gives children the opportunity to express their feeling life in movement, sound, symbols and images. Sometimes words will accompany the expression. If not the children will be invited to tell the story of their sandplay or give it a title, which often captures the essence of the emotional content of the sandplay.

Sometimes it is beneficial to discuss what has been created and other times what has been created simply but powerfully makes a statement of its own.


When adults use sandplay they soon realize that they are not being asked to "play like a child," but rather to use a powerful therapeutic technique that puts them totally in control of their own healing process. They learn to use this as a tool of self-expression, one that they have been denied by the growing up process.

Sandplay lets one’s subconscious guide one and the end result is a very meaningful representation of what is happening just underneath the surface.

The process helps one resolve many underlying psychic conflicts. Through therapy, the use of sandplay is an excellent use of projection that allows you to express things non-verbally.

Asperger Syndrome

Sandtray has been successful with those who are not verbally oriented. It has been very successful with people diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, an Autistic Spectrum disorder. It also helps adults who have experienced some trauma and are unable to talk about it.

Physical Abuse

People who have been physically abused sometimes become distanced from their bodies, and the tactile dimension of sandplay can restore an awareness of their physical being.

Complicated Grief

Sandtray therapy provides the perfect climate for clients to explore and express feelings of loss and receive the support they need.

Additional information on sandtray therapy here.