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What is Sandplay Therapy?


Using sand as a healing modality has been seen in many cultures historically such as the Navajo Indians.


Sandplay therapy can be used by both adults and children and consists of creating scenes or pictures in the sand that involve body, soul, and spirit. What objects a person chooses to put into the sand can be on an unconscious level, and can be more about a feeling versus a concrete action. 


Using sand can give an outlet to non-verbalized emotional issues. It creates a safe distance to processing issues as items can be metaphorical or symbolic. It is a way for someone to express themselves without directly talking about an issue and gives them a sense of control and empowerment. 


For children, there are other benefits of using sandplay such as helping them meet developmental milestones. Pouring, burying, making mounds, and digging in sand is a natural sensory experience that can help with regulation. 


Play therapists are trained to pull out themes in sandplay and ask inquiry questions to help foster the process and help the child on their healing journey. 




Jacqueline Van Starkenburg, MACP is experienced in the areas of youth and families, plus many more. For more information on Jacqueline and her work, click here to link to her full bio page.