Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sand Tray Themes

I created this chart in Pages.  You just check off what themes you see in each sand tray your client does.  This chart helps you to create a great visual of your client’s progress in therapy.  Initially, check-marks are usually all clustered on the left, but as time goes one more and more drift over to the right.  It is great to see.
Themes That Suggest Wounding
  • Chaotic: Haphazard, fragmented, or formless arrangement; e.g., objects’ flung into the tray; boundaries of outer reality disregarded; items carefully placed but overall appearance is jumbled or disconnected.
  • Empty: Reticence to use figures or lifeless feeling with lack of energy and curiosity; e.g., a nearly empty tray with only a dead tree placed in a corner.
  • Split: Parts of tray appear separated or detached; e.g., river, fence, or elephants placed from bottom to top of tray seem to divide tray
  • Confined: Figure or groups normally free are entrapped or caged; e.g. an agonized figure is placed in a cage; a sand wall is built around an old woman.
  • Neglected: Figure is isolated from possible support; e.g., a baby in a high chair while mother is sleeping in the nextroom.
  • Hidden: Figures buried or hidden from view; e.g., a gun hidden behind a house; a witch buried in the sand under a tree.
  • Prone: Figures normally upright are intentionally placed in a reclining, fallen position; e.g., a standing pregnant woman placed face down in the sand.
  • Injured: Figures with injuries or in the process of being injured; e.g., a bandaged man lying on a stretcher; a cowboy placed in the mouth of a dinosaur.
  • Threatened: Menacing or frightening events and the inability of the endangered figure(s) to escape the experience; e.g., aggressive animals surrounding small child.
  • Hindered: Possibility of new growth and development is impeded or hindered; e.g. a boat moving into new waters, while under siege by an army.
Themes That Suggest Movement Towards Healing, Wholeness, and Transformation.
  • Bridging: Connection between elements, joining of opposites; e.g., a ladder joins earth and tall trees; a bridge links an angel and devil.
  • Journeying: Movement along a path or around a center; e.g., a knight follows a trail, someone paddles a canoe down a stream.
  • Energy: Alive, vital, intense energy is visible; e.g., organic growth present, construction machines work on a task, airplanes take off from a runway.
  • Going Deeper: Discovery of a deeper dimension; e.g, a clearing is made, a treasure unearthed, a well dug, a lake explored.
  • Birthing: Emergence of new development; e.g., a baby is born, a flower opens, a bird lays eggs.         
  • Nurturing: Nourishment or help are provided to support growth and development; e.g, a mother feeding babies, supportive family groups, nurse helps a patient, presence of food.
  • Changed: Sand and/or objects are creatively changed or used; e.g., sand is contoured to build a land bridge; sand is moved/stacked as an essential part of a lunar compound; a house is built from twigs picked up on walk to school.
  • Spiritual: Religious & spiritual symbols present, such as supernatural beings, worshiping figures or numinous items; e.g., Buddha overlooking a couple.
  • Centered: In center of tray, elements are aesthetically balanced or a union of opposites occurs; e.g., a man and woman married; mandala centered in the tray.
  • Integrated: Congruent organized idea encompasses entire tray; unity of expression; e.g., day at the zoo, baseball game, abstract construction unifying whole tray.j


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