As I write this I am in Arkansas, honing my skills as a Sandtray Therapist. I remember when I first went to Sandtray training a few years ago, I was reluctant. I thought that Sandtray was for kids only and I could just see the sand flying everywhere….and I would be the one to clean it up. I somewhat reluctantly went to the training and on the first day, she talked about Sandtray with adults. I am so glad she did. Also glad she had us make our own Sandtray as well because that is when it clicked!
Our brains love metaphors. Metaphors allow us go integrate the creative parts of our brain with the language and rational part of our brain. Sandtray is a gentle yet powerful way to access the metaphors in our psyche. Through Sandtray, you can access emotions and information stored within you. You can make connections and insight. You can have fun!
The picture above is a tray I did here in Arkansas, at this training. I was directed to just see what miniatures I was drawn to and not think too much about it. Some of the pieces in my tray, I still haven’t quite figured why my brain chose them. I think the hippo with her mouth open is an inner part of me being critical. I think Fozzy Bear is the comical part of me, the silly and dry sense of humor that I have. I think Gloria (the hippo from Madagascar) is the part of me embracing body positivity. Determining why my brain chose things for this tray may be a work in progress for a few days or weeks
I think the one that surprised me the most was the Disney World Castle. What could that be for? My children are grown. I just allowed myself to be open. It could be something from my childhood, something about the innocence of childhood, something about fantasy…
Later that day, one of the other therapists at the training talked about how she had gone to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. She shared that it was such a great experience for her. Being a big fan of Harry Potter myself, I decided the Disney World Castle in my Sandtray represents me, AS AN ADULT, going to Harry Potter World in the near future. It’s gonna happen, too. I texted my husband to say we were going, he said, “Okay, sounds good” and he included a lightning strike emoji.
An important point here is that the symbols we choose for the Sandtray are whatever we need them to be. It doesn’t even matter what they “really” are. Our brains will go where they need to go to heal and to grow. Our brain will find something that fits what it needs to fit. It’s really smart like that (winky face).
Start paying attention to the metaphors in your life. It truly is a whole brain process. Notice what you notice and see what it could mean. It feels good when you make that connection. If you are able to get some Sandtray Therapy, then that makes metaphors double awesome for you!