When I first started working with my therapist on my trauma stuff, we started with sand tray therapy. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s pretty fascinating. This is how she convinced me to start our trauma work actually. We only do sand tray therapy occasionally now, usually when working to desensitize a difficult specific trauma memory. However, today I asked her if I could “play” in the sand tray. Just so you know: play is in quotes because sand tray is really a lot of work; I often feel mentally drained after a sand tray session.
I’m not really sure why I felt so strongly about doing sand tray today. I guess it came up a couple of days ago while I was in Yoga Teacher Training. I spent my weekend in a 22 hour yoga teacher training to help us learn how to teach yoga to children ages 3-6 and children with special needs. I loved it! I didn’t really think about my trauma stuff this weekend because I was so immersed in my training. However, I distinctly remember having this thought that I really needed to do sand tray therapy.
Tonight I made my sand tray. Because I analyze for a living, it’s hard not to analyze my sand tray as I’m putting it together. Over the last year, I’ve gotten better with just going with my gut when making a scene in the sand tray and then analyzing later. It was interesting because my therapist had pointed out that some of the elements remained the same: the bridge, the fence, the house. But some were different.
I had the figure representing myself (Alice, from Alice in Wonderland) in a corner protected by a barrier of rocks. Then I felt really compelled to put a tree in there with her. And then a bridge leading from Alice to my dad’s house where the abuse occurred. His house was surrounded by fence. And in addition to the house, the Cheshire Cat and a skeleton were inside the fenced area.
I feel really peaceful about my sand tray scene tonight. I think maybe it symbolizes growth and letting the past be the past. Overall, my anxiety surrounding my trauma stuff is so much lower on a day-to-day basis. I think maybe I’m finally starting to move on and heal from it. I am becoming my own person, no longer controlled by what happened to me.