You find so many good miniatures everywhere you look- at yard sales, in the dollar bin at Target and even in your kids own toy box. However, you were told at one point in some training somewhere that using themed character miniatures was a big no-no when working in the sand.
Although you see some cool value in bringing some of these miniatures into your collection, you shy away because you were once told it would be wrong. But there’s still a part of you that says, “Yes, but it would be sooo great.”
I’m here to give you permission to get all the Frozen, Muppet, and Star Wars miniatures you want for your collection. I buy these for my collection all the time and have amazing results, with both my kids and adults.
The argument against using these themed miniatures goes something like this:
You don’t want to use the Frozen/Muppet/Star Wars miniatures because then the kids will just tell stories from the actual show or story.
In all of my years doing sandtray with kids and adults, I’ve never ONCE had this happen. In fact, since many of the characters from the shows themselves represent archetypes (what else can represent your boss better than Darth Vader?), it’s actually much EASIER for clients to express their feelings through these images.
Since George Lucas took his cues from Joseph Campbell, who studied lots of Carl Jung, it’s really not surprising these types of character miniatures get used to represent many different themes we all see in our lives.
My argument for using these themed miniatures goes something like this:
I use whatever is in the world to represent many different feelings. Chances are, if the character is popular, it is popular because it hits something deep within the psyche and brain across many different people, all around the world. It seems to be a disservice to NOT allow these powerful themes to be present in the tray.
In addition, my response to those saying that kids will just tell the stories of the movies, show, whatever:
Never had this happen, ever.
It is not to say that the kids or adults won’t use the Elsa miniature but they don’t tell the entire Frozen story (as many fear). Rather, the clients use Elsa for what she represents or will say something like “That’s me- I’m like Elsa because I can shut people away” or with kids, they may just tell their own story with Elsa as a character in the narrative, much like they do for a shark, horse, or whatever else is in the tray.
To further my point, I’ve even had kids use generic miniatures, such as a queen and king, and then NAME them Maleficent, Elsa, or whatever. So, even if I don’t have the actual miniature, they will create it for themselves and then use it as a character within the larger story of the sandtray.
In conclusion, my point is this- don’t get all insane about “never this or never that.” Sandtray therapy, much like religion, is not dependent on you having all the right tools and having everything “just so” for it to be effective. The brain never misses a change to integrate. Rest in this knowledge- the power behind sandtray therapy is way bigger than the tiny rules we create for ourselves.
The the most effective part of sandtray therapy is something you can’t even buy- it’s the actual process of witnessing and really listening to your client’s story, using all your senses and entire presence.