The World in the Sand Tray or the World the client creates is a very powerful and healing area that is created in sand play. So what do those sandtray miniatures mean that we use in sandtray therapy? And how do they interact with the clients they serve to convey a message? How are these powerful sandtray miniatures to be interpreted, and what are the children communicating the sand play?
Animals in sandtray therapy are quite fascinating symbols, and can represent a wide variety of areas in sand tray therapy. From Animals such as a unicorn and a dragon, a dove and a hawk, or a black horse and a white horse may be used to symbolize good and evil. Dinosaurs may represent rage. Birds on the other hand fly and often are seen as carrying spirits. A butterfly can represent change or transformation. A dolphin can be viewed as a savior and can be seen to represent intelligence. A dove sandtray miniature can be a symbol of innocence and purity. White doves may also represent an awakening spirit.
Animals such as a bear can symbolize wisdom strength. Bears represent a positive side of mother love, and are very protective of their cubs. Frogs are a very powerful sandtray miniature as they can also be seen as very transformative, changing from a tab pole, to frog to even a prince. A giraffe can represent being above the drama or rising above the situation in which the client faces. A gorilla can represent a large and powerful animal that expresses relationship aggression and instincts and aggression.
An owl of course represents wisdom and and protection, but may represent death as well. A peacock similarly may represent all seeing as the eyes on the feathers. A turtle can symbolize abandonment. A large turtle leaves and babies must make the journey back to sea b themselves. Turtles may also symbolize survival in unwelcoming environment, such as a bad home environment. A spider can represent a creator (who spins thread of life). A spider can also be a terrible mother figure (especially black widow).
As you can see animals can be a very wide and encompassing area in sand tray therapy. Moving on from animals, we are going to cover other areas that are used in sand tray therapy symbolically.
A flag for example is used as a symbol of identity. A baby can represent a smaller or past self, of part of the past. A bridge is a symbol of connection bridges may indicate an attempt to make connections between different personalities. A castle or cave represents a place of safety and refuge. A diver can suggest diving into the unknown. An egg represents a new beginning. Fences may be used to indicate efforts to bring some structure to life. May provide either limits or protection. Presence in trays may suggest a felt need for control or either an increasing ability to set boundaries or restrictions in connection with instincts.
Fire is a powerful sandtray miniature that can symbolize either cleansing or destruction, fire is sometimes a symbol of sexual energies. Flower signal rebirth and transformation. A key symbolizes unlocking something – future or past. A lamp signals bringing light to the dark or unconscious. A road symbolizes a journey or a goal. Signs symbolize contentment and a need for direction.