BROADWAY TREATMENT CENTER

The Unique Effectiveness Of Sand Tray Therapy

Posted on: August 3rd, 2015 by


In recent years, addiction treatment has evolved as more and more research and studies have been carried out to understand this increasingly common, destructive and deadly disease. New types of addiction therapy have been developed, and established therapies have been adapted to fit into addiction treatment.

Addiction is complicated, and has genetic, neurological and environmental causes. In addition, early childhood experiences, trauma, illness and family systems all weave their way into the mix, making it difficult to pinpoint one cause or one “cure” that applies to everyone.

While there are many similarities experienced by addicts, and certain therapies that are widely accepted, each individual is different. It has become increasingly clear that treatment programs that make a wide variety of therapies available to their clients and take an individualized approach to treatment have better outcomes.

About Sand Tray Therapy

Sand tray therapy is used to help adult, adolescents and children to facilitate healing through use of a specially proportioned sand tray. In addition to the sand, there is also water and a variety of miniature figurines. While on the surface, it may seem nothing more than play, sand tray therapy is widely used in therapy to help people access deep-seated feelings, communicate and express thoughts, feelings and memories that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to.

Sand tray therapy was first utilized in London in the 1920’s by Margaret Lowenfield, although it was initially developed by Carl Jung. Many people think of children’s therapy when they think of sand tray therapy, probably because the use of miniatures and figurines and the use of sand makes it look more like play than therapy. It is true that the therapy is often used with children. Especially for young children who may not have the verbal skills to express their feelings or relay their experiences.

The fact that talking is not necessary to make progress with this therapy is part of what makes it so useful.

The reality is that sand tray therapy is a highly effective technique that can often make progress where other types of therapy have fallen short.

What Happens In A Sand Therapy Session?

Sand tray sessions last about an hour. Participants are able to utilize the sand, tray and figurines however they wish. They may choose to only use the sand, without the figurines, and may incorporate water in order to sculpt the sand. Participants can create scenarios of all types, patterns or pretty much anything they can think of using the sand, water and miniatures. Talking during the session is optional. For this reason, sand therapy is very non-intrusive. The participant is free to manipulate the sand, miniatures and water without having to answer questions or give explanations. Afterward, there may be discussion about what the participant has created, and the therapist may photograph the finished sand tray for future reference.

Sand tray therapy is relaxing. Participants may even enter a somewhat meditative state while in session.

For people who have experienced trauma, the non-verbal, symbolic nature of the sand tray provides an ideal medium for expression and exploration. Participants are often able to access deep-seated emotions, memories and experiences, and work through them in a manner that is less disruptive.

For addicts, trauma is a common problem. It isn’t unusual for addicts to arrive in treatment suffering from PTSD, depression and anxiety or other mental health issues. These issues can hinder addiction treatment if they are not addressed. Sand tray therapy in conjunction with other types of addiction therapy is extremely effective.

Treatment is often limited to just a few months. Talk therapy can take years. Utilizing sand tray therapy can significantly speed up progress so that healing can take place.

Get Help For Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Broadway Treatment Center can help. Our program offers a variety of therapies as well as 12 step integration to provide a comprehensive treatment strategy that is highly individualized.

Recovery from addiction is possible. You don’t have to wait for things to get worse before getting help. Contact Broadway Treatment Center today at 714-443-8218 to get started.

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