BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - 10

The use of the sand tray in
the NSST approach affords
the fragmented, dissociated,
disorganized, disintegrated,
incoherent parts of a child's
internal world to be literally
laid out in front of the child
as symbols in the sand tray.
the people not feel so scared. With no
answer from him, I suggested that we get
an ambulance to take them to hospital.
He did not answer and I went and brought
an ambulance to him. We continued with
making the movie but he did not use the
ambulance. By the fourth session his play
was less chaotic. I was also interested in a
guy (figurine) facing off with a tiger. I asked
if the guy was scared and I asked if the guy
needed any help. He gave no answer but
then he moved the person away from the
tiger and out of danger. I asked him how
the guy felt, now that he was not in danger.
He did not answer. I suggested that he
might feel safer. I asked Mathew how he
felt now that the guy was safe from the
tiger. He did not reply. I then took a deep
breath and suggested that perhaps he
(Mathew) might be able to breathe deeper.
He did take a deep breath and then spent
two minutes destroying his picture again.
His play was demonstrating progress at
this point because the time spent in chaos
was becoming less, and he had moved a
figurine out of danger which was an indication that he was now able to feel safer.
Mathew came for his fifth session and
played on the floor with the farm animals,
organising and placing them carefully in

fences (Figure 2.) He was now able to talk to
his mum about how the particular situation
at home was no longer a problem for him.
The violent outbursts disappeared and he
began to talk more in school.
Figure 2. Now
regulated he is
organising the

Mathew's primary presenting problem
was his silence at school and outbursts at
home. However, this was not the problem.
The problem was his perceived lack of
safety (Satir, 1991). Through creating safety
in his play, he had moved from an immobilized state (not talking) and a mobilized
state (chaos) to a play state in the sand tray
and in his life.
It is clear from the research that lifethreatening events are not necessarily the
only cause of trauma. Trauma can result
from living with a depressed mother, being
bullied, or losing a pet (Cozolino, 2010). Our
trauma-based practice tells us that there is
a wider spectrum of trauma that we need
to take into consideration. The results of
such traumas may manifest themselves in a
variety of ways but there is one system that
underlies most of these ways of keeping
safe. We are hard wired to play, but when
there is real or perceived danger then we
move away from the social engagement
system or play state (Porges, 2011) toward
the survival states of mobilized and immobilized. We all move into the mobilised, and
sometimes the immobilized state, in times
of stress. However, it is how quickly we can
return to the play state that is the key to




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mental health (Siegel, 2015). Some of our
children in schools spend very little time in
the play state. They do not experience joy in
their lives as they are in a state of survival.
By using the figurines in the sand tray to
access the non-verbal right brain embodied novel metaphors. Hence, we are able
to bring the child from a mobilized and/
or immobilized state into a play or integrated state (Schore, 2012; Porges, 2011)
so that they can play and find joy again
in their lives.
In my second example Jim, aged eight
years old, had just lost his dad. The parents had been separated and Mum had
remarried. The mum had come to see me
saying that her son was not handling the
death of his biological father well and had
been very aggressive towards her and his
step dad. Jim came into my room anxious.
He didn't want to come. He couldn't talk
about his dad dying. I asked him if he knew
why he had come to see me. He said nothing. I asked him to make a picture of how
he was feeling. He did not speak a word,
but he found a human figure and buried
it in the sand (Figure 3).
Figure 3.
Where loss has
no words.

When he had finished I said, "I see a big
mound of something, and underneath
there is a person." He nodded his head.
Then I intuitively asked, "How would anyone know he is there?" Jim looked around
and out of the hundreds of figurines in my
room he found a flag and placed it on the
mound (Figure 4).
Figure 4.
Finding a way
to begin to

After he stuck the flag into the mound he
decisively brushed the sand off his hands.
I said, "Now people will know he is under
there." Jim took a huge sigh. I commented
on him now being able to breathe more
easily. I asked him if he felt different in his
body and he placed his hand on his chest.
BC Counsellor | Winter 2018 | www.bcschoolcounsellor.com

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BC Counsellor - Winter 2018

President’s Perspective
The Fine Print
Book Review
How the Use of Neuroscience and the Satir Model in the Sand Tray Facilitates Healing in Low-Verbal or Non-Verbal Children
BC School Counseling: Preserving One-on-One Support for Students
SuperConference Recap
Ask an Expert: Dianne Noort Talks about Play Therapy
Counsellor’s Corner
Index to Advertisers
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - intro
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - cover1
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - cover2
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - 3
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - President’s Perspective
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - 5
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - The Fine Print
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - Book Review
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - How the Use of Neuroscience and the Satir Model in the Sand Tray Facilitates Healing in Low-Verbal or Non-Verbal Children
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - 9
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - 10
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - 11
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - 12
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - BC School Counseling: Preserving One-on-One Support for Students
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - 14
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - SuperConference Recap
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - Ask an Expert: Dianne Noort Talks about Play Therapy
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - 17
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - Index to Advertisers
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - cover3
BC Counsellor - Winter 2018 - cover4