Sandtray Therapy Demonstration of a Teenager Transcript

Tammi: Hi. This is Tammi Van Hollander of Main Line Play Therapy and today we're going to do a sand tray demonstration with a teenager. So this is Liz. And how I invite people in terms of the sand tray room, Liz you can see these are all different miniatures. And we really have our conscious mind and unconscious mind that are often the in conflict. And by just placing these miniatures in the sand, they begin to resolve some of those conflicts.

So I don't want you to think too much about it. I'm going to give you a basket. And besides from the shelves, I have things all over the rooms. I have stones here. And I want you to just take some time and just put whatever you want. There could be certain things that you may be like, repulsed by but that you may be drawn to. Even put those things in.

Liz, I see that you picked all these out but first, if you want to just feel the sand. So if you even want to put the basket to the side. And I even have a rake. This is going to be actually the background of your tray. So whether you want to rake it, I know this is funny but it sometimes works as well. And just to feel the sand, put your hands in the sand.

OK. So now, whenever you're ready, you're just going to quietly just place the miniatures in the sand however you want, OK?

OK, so now that you've put these in, do you want to go back? Do you feel like it looks complete or if there's anything that you may want to add now that you seen the tray.

Liz: This is pretty good for me.

Tammi: OK. So normally we would take like three minutes of silence and really spend some time. But we're just going spend a minute or so. I want you to just focus on the picture that you see here, OK?

OK, so Liz do you want to speak about any of these? Talk a little bit about this?

Liz: Yeah, sure. So basically my picture is just representative of my life. This side is more of the good parts and then this side is things that I feel are not very good. This represents all the females in my life because I have a very large family and it's all girls. And I really like them. I love all my family and it's just pretty girl.

This represents my life because I love the beach and it's just like a place that makes me really happy. And I chose this stone that says "you rock" because I feel that I have pretty good self-esteem and it's something that I like about myself.

And then on this side, I chose to put a cigarette. And I put it in the locker because I've grown up around people smoking cigarettes. And I hate it. I really despise it. And it's just something that I don't want to be in my life so I just put it away. This is because I'm really afraid of snakes.

Tammi: Ah, OK.

Liz: And also I put my phone in the middle because I feel that it's kind of something that hinders me. Of course there's good parts about it but at the same time, there's just things that I could do without my phone that would probably benefit my life even more.

Tammi: OK. So that was one of the questions I was going to ask is when you talked about the tray you talked about resources. All these positive things and obstacles. So it seems like the phone, for this story, would be an obstacle for you.

So when you look over here, you have all this positive energy. What are some of the feelings that are associated with this?

Liz: I think about things that—when I look at them I think about the things in my life and they make me feel happy.

Tammi: Mm-hm.

Liz: Small little figurines but just makes me bring up memories and stuff that I like.

Tammi: Right. So you had said some of the questions that I'm asking, some of the processing questions that we would asking in terms of the different parts of you. So it seems like there's a lot of different parts of you. What are some of the ones that you would say are different parts of yourself? You had mentioned you and the beach and the "you rock."

Liz: Yeah so me and beach. It's just a place I like to go to relieve stress and be with my family. And I'm just happy because no school and stuff like that. The rock is I'm just happy that I have the attributes that I'm not a very insecure person.

Tammi: Mm-hm.

Liz: I just admire that about myself. And of course, I don't know why that just represents my family.

Tammi: Uh-huh.

Liz: It's just a very inviting person.

Tammi: When you look over here, what are some of the feelings associated with that?

Liz: They're pretty negative.

Tammi: Mm-hm.

Liz: Like especially the cigarette thing. That's probably the most that bothers me.

Tammi: Mm.

Liz: Because I've grown up around it basically my whole life and it just is disgusting to me.

Tammi: OK. So that's a really big part, that cigarette piece of it. What would it feel like, so we have this, we have the obstacles and the resources. And this is what I often do even at some of my sand tray trainings and that I want to do for Liz. If we're doing a regular process and we're going through a sandtray process and I was seeing Liz every week, her training may change. And it begins to tell a story.

But for today, I really want Liz to have a picture that it's going to look good and just how you want to remember it. So you have it like this now it may feel OK like this right now. But if you want to keep it within the resources, so we often make these safe trays that feel really good in that we can't control the people smoking in our lives. And we can't control so many of these negative things. You can control some of the things with the phone.

Liz: Yeah.

Tammi: Sand tray is really like a representation of our brain. So if you have a lot going on in your brain, there's a lot of miniatures. If there's a little, like some teens who may be depressed may only have one or two miniatures. Because they don't have those resources. And they can't find them. So in order for us to end today, I want the tray to look just how you want it to look. To feel good, for you if you to be able take a picture of it. And even journal it at home. Do you feel comfortable doing that?

Liz: Yeah.

Tammi: OK.

OK, so Liz you went back and selected some new items. You want to place them in the sand? Or do whatever you need to do. Cell phone. The snake is trapped.

OK. Tell me how that feels now.

Liz: A lot better. Everything just needs to be things that put me in a good mood.

Tammi: Hmm. So do you feel like it kind of shifted the whole energy?

Liz: Yeah.

Tammi: Of it?

Liz: Yeah.

Tammi: Can you tell me at all like that even felt like? Of being able to just take miniatures and to change the tray around.

Liz: It was just kind of comforting.

Tammi: Uh-huh.

Liz: Being able to put this over the snake, that's how I like it.

Tammi: Right.

Liz: Just putting achievements over my phone [inaudible]. These are things that I just really like. I enjoy to do.

Tammi: Mm-hm.

Liz: Listening to music or I just like going to the city and stuff.

Tammi: Right. Right.

Liz: Relaxation is really important to me.

Tammi: Mm-hm. So it felt really safe and in control when you were able to put the trap on the snake.

Liz: Mm-hm.

Tammi: So if you were to name this tray, to give it a title, what would you give it?

Liz: Probably my happiness.

Tammi: Your happiness. OK. You did a beautiful job. Thank you, Liz. So Liz did a great job with this. If we were to do more in terms of processing, we may have this person maybe talk to the frog. And what would the frog say? Or what would the snake say? So we would take some of the obstacles and the resources and integrate. So many times we have different parts of ourselves. Some are from different parts of when you were younger and a child. And it's ways of really being able to integrate.

So in terms of this process, I want to thank you so much. Were you surprised by doing this or—?

Liz: Yeah, definitely. I had a different idea coming into it than I do now.

Tammi: What surprised you about it?

Liz: I just didn't think it was actually going to make me feel any different. It just sounded kind of, not strange but a different way of thinking things out.

Tammi: Right. And you could see in terms of there's—you probably feel it in your body. Like there's something within the body and it's very different than a talk therapy. And that's what it does. Sand tray really it opens up that limbic system of the brain, of emotions. And we're able to really focus to a whole deeper level. And that's what makes the sand tray so powerful.

So thank you. And thank you all for checking out sand tray with my wonderful assistant Liz. And stay tuned, check out my website at Main Line Play Therapy. Or my sand tray page Tammi's play therapy and sand tray therapy.