Play therapy or Sand Therapy

Play therapy is generally employed with children aged 3 through 11 and provides a way for them to express their experiences and feelings through a natural, self-guided, self-healing process. 

As children’s experiences and knowledge are often communicated through play, it becomes an important vehicle for them to know and accept themselves and others. This approach is common to young children.

Learn more at the Associate for Play Therapy website. 

Sandplay or Sand Therapy is hands on psychological work. It is a powerful therapeutic technique that facilitates the psyche’s natural capacity for healing. In a “free and protected” space provided by the analyst, a client creates a concrete manifestation of his or her imaginal world using sand, water, and miniature objects. In this way Sandplay helps honor and illuminate the client’s internal symbolic world and provides a place for its expression within a safe container, the tray filled with sand. Sandplay is done adjunctively to talk therapy during the process of the therapeutic work.


Through the tangible emergence of personal and archetypal symbols, Sandplay has the possibility of leading the client into layers of experience that are often pre-verbal and long forgotten to the conscious mind. With sufficient time and understanding, this experience can lead to the development of a new psychic structure of the personality.

In Sandplay a scene is made from figures and objects placed in a box of sand. The construction of the scene is guided almost entirely by the choices made by the hands of the client, while the analyst watches nearby in respectful silence.


Within The Refocus Center, Robin Hornstra, LCSW is trained in Sand/Play Therapy. Stephanie Smith and Michelle Burke are being trained in Play Therapy and are under the supervision of Robin Hornstra.