Sand tray therapy is a safe and non-threatening way to build self esteem, manage feelings, and improve communication for children, teens and adults. Since it is fun and playful, participants learn and internalize coping strategies while they play.
At GroundWork Counseling in Orlando, sand tray therapy provides a method of communication and discovery that is beneficial to those children that do not respond to more traditional forms of therapy, or for young children who process best by play-based approaches. By creating a story in the sand, the child is able to release emotions, feelings, and conflicts that are affecting them without having to verbalize. The sand tray provides a safe and fun environment to bring about self-awareness.
During sand tray therapy, the therapist becomes a silent observer watching the creation and listening to the creator’s story and acts as a facilitator to guide the process. Most people, especially children, enjoy sand play, as they cancreate and tell their own stories in a supportive and secure environment. With assistance by the sand tray therapist, a child can begin to recognize the relationship between the creation in the sand and their own inner world.
Many children are unable to vocalize their emotional state as a result of trauma, or because of their age and limited verbal skills. Often children will remain silent because they do not have the verbal ability to voice their feelings or struggles. Utilizing the familiar medium of the sand allows a child to instantly relax and achieve a sense of comfort and security to help the child verbalize internal feelings.
Since the brain processes images first and then attaches language to it, sand tray therapy is able to work around the defenses people may put up in the more cognitive part of the brain. This sand tray method of therapy serves as an
effective and powerful outlet for children and offers an insightful method of gaining access to their traumatic experiences in order to move toward healing.
At Groundwork Counseling, child counselor Courtney Rodrigue specializes in helping children find solutions to their struggles, fears and concerns utilizing play-based therapy, sand tray therapy, talk-therapy, and cognitive behavioral interventions.
Courtney is highly skilled in sand tray therapy with children, and also provides behaviorally based treatment plans for parents when needed. As co-founder of GroundWork Counseling in Maitland, Florida, Courtney has completed levels one and two of Sand Tray Therapy courses at The Institute of Playful Healing, affiliated with the Institute of Sand Tray Therapy of New Mexico and is continuing her training in this area.