- General therapy
- Neuroscience of therapy
- Play Therapy
- Sandtray Hacks
- Sandtray therapy
- Therapy Techniques
Aggression, Assertiveness, or Passiveness?
Aggression is exerting too much power and passiveness is not exercising enough power. Neither is favorable in the promotion of mental health. A middle road is best but what is it?
It’s called assertiveness.More
Assertiveness is taking action to let others know your feelings without being aggressive. It’s a way to express emotions while maintaining respect for yourself and others. Quality assertiveness is a learned skill.
Instruction is the easy part. Most people can be shown to do just about anything. I can be shown how to shoot a three-pointer,but this doen’t mean that I’ll actually be able to do it. Something more than just mere instruction must occur- this is where practice and repetition become important.
I have developed a technique to help clients practice assertiveness skills. Learning the structure of being assertive is easy; the hard part is remembering how to do it when you are mad, upset, and want to revert to old habits. This technique helps others to learn assertiveness through teaching the structure of the technique in a repetitive, but fun, way.
The basic structure of the assertiveness skill is fairly simple. It’s just challenging to remember when feeling upset. I have attached a technique that uses the structure of Mad Libs to engrain assertiveness skills. This technique was chosen byLiana Lowenstein as her May technique of the month on her website (some of you may recognize the format from her books).
Remember, showing someone a skill is easy. Only with practice and repetition can real learning take place.
Please click on the link below to download the activity. I have added a seperate link of an example using feeling words and the different parts of speech for further instruction. Feel free to add this technique to your collection of fun therapeutic activities!
Here we are, midway into the five week series about my beloved sand tray therapy. To recap, we have learned that sand tray is NOT
To solider on, I will continue to bust some more of those ill-conceived notions about sand tray therapy.
- Sand tray therapy is expensive to use
This is FALSE!
Sand tray therapy does have several different components. However, obtaining these materials does not have to be something that is going to set back your therapy budget by months. Below are the basic materials required and how you can obtain them on using some smart, money-saving tips.
- Tray for the sand
Budget friendly alternative- Buy a clear storage box and paint the inside with blue marine paint (to repel water)
Budget friendly alternative– Toys R Us has play sand made to be used with kids. It is a safe, non-toxic alternative to some of the more expensive processed sands
Budget friendly alternative– Shop around! You can pay big bucks for a sand tray starter kit from a specialty website, but it’s more cost effective to rummage around through bins at dollar stores, garage sales, good will, flea markets,and even your own kid’s castaways.
Remember, be creative!
Last of all, do not stress about not having enough miniatures for your collection. The brain will find what it needs to express itself with whatever you have, no matter how limited your budget constrains may be.
Do you have any good money-saving tips for those investing in sand tray materials? I’m always on the look out for fresh ideas from those working within this method. Please share any ideas or areas of useful resources!
Since I had a very positive response to my first busted myth, I will continue with plugging away at dispelling those nasty rumors about my beloved type of therapy- Sand Tray! Last week, I debunked the myth that sand tray therapy is only playing in sand. This week, I will tackle another ill-informed opinion. Here goes another one!
- It’s only for kids. It’s not really useful when working with adults
THIS IS FALSE! Indeed, sand tray therapy was originally created by Margaret Lowenfeld for her work with children, but it has since expanded to being used across populations, diagnoses, and therapy settings. Some of the most powerful work that I do within the sand is with adults.
For example, when I am teaching this method to other therapists, I am very careful to not chose a topic or a directive sand tray that is really emotionally difficult . In spite of this, there always seems to be a gut reaction that adults were not planning for when they build their first sand tray. Just within my last training, I asked for a volunteer so I could demonstrate how sand tray therapy is processed with adults. One brave young lady volunteered to be my guinea pig because she felt there was not much personal stuff in her tray. After a short 5-10 minutes of just surface processing (I purposefully did not chose some of the deeper themes I saw in the tray), she was bawling and apologizing to the class. Again, remember this is just a training session with a normally high functioning adult therapist- just imagine what comes out in the tray with actual clients!
One of the most difficult parts of using sand tray therapy with adults is the initial reaction of “What, you want ME to play in the sand??” I usually normalize this and acknowledge it does seem a little odd but to just go with it and see what happens. After the first session, most clients love this type of therapy but I do occasionally get those who are not comfortable with with comes out in in the sand tray. When this does occur, it is important information to know for me as a therapist that there are some major defenses going on and those need to be addressed before we approach sand tray work again.
Kids actually have the luxury of play in that everything that happens in the sand tray is protected under the umbrella of play. It’s not as scary if it’s just playing. Adults don’t usually have that option, so it’s very important that I, as a therapist, provide a free and protected space so that those feelings “vomited up” in the sand tray are held and protected in a safe environment.
If you are interested in what sand tray therapy may look like with adults, watch this example of what a session often looks like with an adult.
Again- I welcome your thoughts. Any examples of what happens when you have worked in the sand as either the client or the therapist?
Hello all! This is the first of many upcoming blog posts from yours truly. The central topics of this blog will be
- play therapy for both clients and other therapists
- the sand tray method
- neuroplasticity of the brain or how therapy actually changes the brain
The plan is to post at least monthly about one of these topics and then work up to biweekly postings. The content will be very practical and hands-on oriented with an emphasis on how this affects our everyday practice and life. My passion is sand tray therapy so you will likely see much of that woven throughout the play therapy content. In addition, I have found that if I can explain and show how the brain changes with therapy, my clients put more stock into what I have to say and progress faster. Providing this information to those whom I train also provides them with assurance that what they are doing is not just giving expensive advice.
Stay tuned for another blog post real soon! Thanks for visiting and feel free to browse around my website!