Sand Tray Play Therapy

Sand tray play therapy is used for individuals who have experienced a traumatic event. This type of therapy is often used with children, but it can be used by adults and teens as well. Sand tray play therapy is a nonverbal, therapeutic practice that uses a sandbox, toy figures, and sometimes water, to create scenes of miniature worlds that reflect a person’s inner thoughts, struggles, and concerns. This form of play therapy is practiced along with talk therapy, using the sandbox and figures as communication tools.

What to expect.

Sand tray play therapy uses a holistic approach to treating the individual. Through creative expression, a person in therapy is able to express things in sand they might not be able to vocalize or address in traditional talk therapy.

Sand play therapy is often used with children who have suffered from trauma, neglect, or abuse. The sand used is contained in a box referred to as a sand tray. The client chooses from a large collection of toys and builds a scenario or world in the tray that reflects what is going on in their lives. The therapist observes the choice of toys and their arrangement, while allowing the child or individual to express themselves freely. After the sand world is completed, the client and therapist analyze and discuss the client’s toy choices, their arrangement pattern in the sand, and their symbolic or metaphoric meanings. By making changes in their make-believe world, clients are often empowered to make similar changes in their real world. Sand play therapy may consist of a single session or last as long as several years.

What are the benefits of Sand Tray Play Therapy? 

When utilizing this therapy, therapists use sand trays to assess, diagnose, or treat a variety of mental illnesses. Research shows that sand tray therapy can increase emotional expression while reducing the psychological distress which can come from discussing traumatic events or experiences. This treatment is beneficial to clients in a number of different ways. First, it allows children a way to communicate when verbalizing words becomes too difficult, due to trauma. Processing their emotions through play oftentimes helps children communicate more effectively. Additionally, the tactile feel of the sand has also proven to be soothing and beneficial to clients. This type of therapy creates a safe place for clients to explore their lives and feelings in a creative, individualistic way.

This service is available in the following locations:


  • Augusta
  • Rockland

For more information, to enroll in services or to make a referral call our intake team at (207) 626-3448.

We are required to bill for our services. MaineCare and private insurance will pay for many of our services. Low or no-cost treatment may be available to qualified individuals.

Not sure which treatment is right for you?
Call our intake team at (207) 626-3448.

They will answer your questions, provide information, and help you make an appointment for an initial assessment, where we can learn more about you and your specific needs.