Byrd tray
  •  April 10, 2024

    At the beginning of the school year 2023-24, the counselor wanted to incorporate play therapy as one of her counseling techniques at TILC. The counselor is trained to implement sand tray therapy for clients, in this case, while working with students at Tsehootsoi Intermediate Learning Center.

    The use of the sand tray is currently being used by professional mental health workers, psychologists, and art therapists across America. Sandtray therapy can be used for people who are suffering from mental health issues throughout the world. Professionals are using this modality to help people who are suffering from emotional, psychological, social and painful traumas.

    When sandtray therapy was first discovered, it was done by therapist Dora Kalff in Switzerland. This counseling tool is also known as Jungian based sandplay therapy. She believed that to heal an individual, a therapist must first create a sacred space for her clients. Early researchers like Kalff believed that children could heal without words. She let her clients play out their childhood fantasies in a sandtray. The therapist is the healer who holds a protected space for children. Some children need protection from the trauma that threatens their boundaries. Kalff created a miniature sandbox, and, instead of playing in a box, the children have their own personal space in a sandtray. She added toy figurines which then became symbolic of their conscious and unconscious thoughts.

    In western society, the use of natural elements to heal the whole individual has finally made its mark among all American cultures by using the sandtray. In the Dine philosophy, the use of the elements in nature has always been part of our culture. The different Native American cultures who understand the importance of having respect for mother-earth is part of the healing process. The sandtray can be used by counselors to help students heal, cope, and deal with personal issues.

    The 2023-24 counselor has met the goal of implementing the use of sandtray therapy for our students at TILC. At TILC, the students have a choice of how they want to express their feelings. The students can use the traditional format of one on one talk therapy, art therapy, or sandtray therapy in a counseling session. Our students have a choice of using the different counseling strategies that fit their comfort level when coming in to speak to the counselor.