As an adjunct to talk therapy, sandplay offers both children and adults a way to portray experiences that are too difficult to express in words, even to portray those experiences that cannot be expressed in words, that emerge from non-cognitive levels of the mind and that are inaccessible to consciousness.
Sandplay uses sand, water, and miniature figures in the “free and protected space” of a sandtray to facilitate a natural healing process, whereby wordless inner spaces are given concrete outer expression. A sand creation requires no language skills, and no artistic skills. Like a dream or an active imagination, it simply emerges from the psyche, quietly offering a picture of something inside. Likewise, a sand creation requires no interpretation or analysis from the therapist; it is regarded as a way of accessing unconscious areas, without the distractions of language, and serves as an adjunct to more cognitive therapeutic work.