How Sand Helps Increase Anxiety Awareness

While many might associate sand with carefree days at the beach or childhood memories of building sandcastles, for therapists like myself, sand holds a deeper meaning. It serves as a powerful tool for unlocking the unconscious mind and promoting emotional healing, particularly for those struggling with anxiety.

Hi, I’m Alysha Menkis, a Child Therapist at Pivot Child Psychological Services, and in this article, I’ll share how sand helps increase anxiety awareness.


The Sand Tray: A Safe Space for Exploration


When I think of sand, I see my sand tray sitting quietly in the corner of my office. It sits there ready to be a conduit of insight for my clients.

Filled with soft sand, it becomes a miniature world waiting to be shaped by my clients. Alongside the tray sits a collection of miniature figurines – people, animals, objects, and anything else imaginable. These figurines act as a bridge, allowing clients to express their inner thoughts and feelings in a way that words sometimes cannot.


Anxiety Made Visible: Externalizing the Internal


When I first meet a client and they mention to me how they feel fearful or worried, I often wonder how that looks for them. I ask them to show me their anxiety by placing the sand tray down along with the many options of figurines and I sit back.

There are no wrong answers, only a safe space to explore their internal world.


Letting Go of the Burden: The Power of Visualization


The act of creating a scene in the sand tray allows clients to externalize their worries and anxieties. The sand tray offers a place to hold their worries and fear and in doing so, helps relieve some pressure.

This simple act of visualization can be incredibly powerful, offering a sense of release and control.


Unearthing Triggers and Finding Relief


After the items have been selected and carefully placed into the tray by the client, observations are offered to acknowledge the client’s vulnerability. We acknowledge the triggers to their anxiety and name them outloud which begins the process of releasing the hold anxiety can have.

Naming these triggers aloud is a crucial step in breaking their hold and beginning the process of healing.


The sand tray serves as a powerful starting point for therapy. It empowers clients to take control of their anxieties, offering a path towards emotional well-being and a renewed sense of calm.

And if you find that you need additional support, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us today. We’re here to help.




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