Grief is a natural response to loss, and it can manifest in a variety of ways, including sadness, anger, guilt, and depression. Grief can be difficult to cope with and may require professional help for some people. Sand play therapy is a form of expressive therapy that can be used to help individuals process and cope with grief.
What is Sand Play Therapy?
Sand play therapy is a form of expressive therapy that uses miniature figures, and sand to create symbolic representations of emotions and experiences. The therapist creates a sandbox in the therapy room and the client uses the materials to create a scene that represents their current emotional state. The therapist then uses this scene to help the client understand and process their emotions.
How Does Sand Play Therapy Help with Grief?
Sand play therapy can be used to help individuals with grief in several ways. First, it allows the client to create a visual representation of their grief, which can help them understand and make sense of their emotions. This can be especially helpful for individuals who have difficulty expressing their feelings verbally.
Second, sand play therapy allows the client to explore their grief in a safe and non-judgmental environment. The therapist does not interpret the client’s scene but instead encourages the client to explore their own emotions and to come to their own understanding of what the scene represents.
Third, sand play therapy can also be used to help individuals with grief find closure. The client can use the sand tray to represent the end of the grieving process and to symbolize a new beginning.
A woman’s primary care physician suggested sand play treatment after she began showing signs of despair and anxiety after the death of her husband. Twelve sessions were scheduled over the course of three months, during which time she was seen. The therapist gave the woman a sand tray and some little figurines and other props to use in her scene every session. Next, the therapist would guide the patient through some introspection, interpretation, and conversation.
The woman’s depictions of her sadness in the sand tray changed as she progressed through therapy. Many of her early works featured bleak, empty settings with minimal characters or symbols. However, as time progressed, the woman used more characters and symbols to reflect her connections, memories, and hopes for the future, making the settings more colorful and full of life.
Through the sand play process, the woman was able to explore and express her sorrow in a safe and supportive environment, and as a result, she felt a stronger bond with her husband and was better equipped to move on with her life.
Sand play therapy is a form of expressive therapy that can be used to help individuals with grief. It allows the client to create a visual representation of their grief, explore their emotions in a safe and non-judgmental environment, and find closure. It can be a powerful tool for helping individuals cope with the pain and sadness of grief.
Shapiro, F. (1993). The use of sandplay therapy in the treatment of grief: A case study. Journal of Sandplay Therapy, 2(2), 79-84.
Webber, J. M., & Mascari, J. B. (2008, June). Sand tray therapy and the healing process in trauma and grief counseling. In Based on a program presented at the ACA Annual Conference & Exhibition, Honolulu, HI. Retrieved June (Vol. 27, p. 2008).