The Magic of Sand Tray

When I completed graduate school in counseling and still didn’t know who I was and what I was meant to do, I began my counseling practice because I had to. I had a big student loan.

One first clue that I was in the wrong profession is that I got bored with cognitive therapy. My clients were very wounded and barely coping. Many had suffered horrible abuse in child hood and they were still stuck there. 

Although I was very empathetic and supportive and my clients loved me, tI wanted to help them to move forward. Many of them were still holding on to their story.

This was one first awareness about who I was. I launched fully into art therapy as my first degree was in art and this was me. I thought combining art with therapy would make it work for me.

I wanted to help people be more empowered in the present and I was not so interested in re-hashing the past or doing things to keep them stuck there. 

I ended up in Jungian training and had my first experience with sand tray. I was agog! I loved it. It fed my soul like nothing I had ever done before. So I ended up doing a year long training and started using it with even my most challenged clients.

I saw people transform in the process of seeing themselves and their story in a whole new perspective. Plus it was engaging for me, and when using the sand tray I felt alive and connected.

Of course your past story is a part of who you are, but the sand tray helps you stay in the present with it and to glean power and awareness in the now. Not all of my therapy clients wanted to do this. 

I ended up teaching sand tray therapy to counselors all over New Zealand and of course I then realized how much I loved teaching and working with counselors instead of my clients. Another aha awareness about who I was.

The sand tray process is magical and can be used to create rituals that help a person shift deeply on the soul level. It is powerful beyond anything I had experienced to that point. It can be shamanic and soulful. 

Symbols hold memories, past lives, beliefs, judgments, power, fear, joy and every emotion. They become real people from your life story. They are medicines, antidotes, Wisdom, support, everything you need to survive and flourish. They hold energy from your own psyche. In some way every symbol in your tray is some aspect of you in that moment.

Building a sand tray is a ritualistic process and the minute your hands touch the sand, smooth it out, dig holes,  and move it around, the energy begins to move too.

When you add the first symbol it becomes your world in that moment. Often the first symbol is you and where you put it can reveal a lot to you.

I never analyze anyone else’s sand tray. I only ask questions and help people go deeper into it to learn more about themselves, what is holding them back, what they need to move forward, who is there to help and so on. The questions are intuitive and I rely on my own inner sight. I do see things and they can be significant. I mainly help you see yourself more fully in your world and often moving one symbol can be transformative.

I now use the bones of this process and have found ways to translate it into ways to help my coaching clients via private sessions on Skype and in workshops.

Follow the directions for creating your Wisdom World on page 93. Notice what comes up for you and accept the insight and power be given to you.

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