1st Edition

The Embodied Brain and Sandtray Therapy Stories of Healing and Transformation

Edited By Rita Grayson, Theresa Fraser Copyright 2022
    260 Pages 54 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    260 Pages 54 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Embodied Brain and Sandtray Therapy invites readers to absorb the magic and mystery of sandtray therapy through a collection of stories.

    Woven throughout these pages is the neurobiological foundation for the healing and transformation that takes place during deep encounters with sand, water, and symbolic images. Such scientific grounding provides the basis for clinicians to understand how sandtray therapy supports their healing work. In addition to client stories, the authors have also bravely shared their personal experiences, both challenging and rewarding, of being sandtray therapists.

    Clinicians who are considering becoming sandtray therapists are given an inside peek into the learning journey and its many benefits. Those who are already practicing sandtray therapy will find this book both supportive and affirming.

    Section 1: Introduction

    1.Playing in the Sandbox: The Birth of a Healing Tool

    Theresa Fraser and Caron Leader

    2. Drawn to the Sand: Becoming a Sandtray Therapist

    Rita Grayson and Theresa Fraser

    3. Healing the Embodied Brain: The Neurobiology of Sandtray Therapy

    Rita Grayson

    4. It is Never Too Late: Healing Trauma Across the Lifespan with Sandtray Therapy

    Theresa Fraser

    Section 2: Stories of Healing in the Sandtray

    5. Troubled Waters: Navigating Difficult Life Transitions

    Rita Grayson

    6. Lost and Found: Reuniting with Self, Tales of the Wandering Psyche

    Aimee L. Jennings and Sean P. Jennings

    7. Through the Eyes of a Child: Sandtray Therapy with Children

    Caron Leader

    8.Who Am I?: The Journey of Self-Discovery

    Rosalind Heiko

    9. Being with What Is: Touching Grief in the Sand

    Barbara Jones Warrick

    10. Rediscovering Balance: Combining Sandtray Therapy and EMDR

    Elaine Wittmann and Jacqueline Aldridge

    11. Working Across Cultures: Finding Common Ground in the Sand

    Joanne Wicks

    12. Finding Safety: Healing Attachment Wounds in the Sandtray Therapy Process

    MereAnn Reid

    13. Sandtray with a Mind of its Own: Developing Trust in the Wisdom of the Process

    Bonnie Badenoch

    Section 3: Tying it all Together

    14. The Heart of the Matter: Common Experiences of the Sandtray Therapist

    Rita Grayson

    15. Honoring the Legacy: Keeping Margaret Lowenfeld’s Vision Alive in the Future

    Theresa Fraser


    Rita Grayson created the body-brain approach to sandtray therapy by combining her deep understanding and experience of sandtray with emerging knowledge in the field of relational neuroscience.

    Theresa Fraser is the owner/director of the Maritime Play Therapy Centre in Nova Scotia, Canada. She provides neurobiologically informed play therapy training internationally.

    'This is an exciting, beautifully written, and heartfelt book about sandtray therapy that includes the fascinating history of its origins and the sacred healing journeys that sandtray therapy offers to children and adults alike.'

    David A. Crenshaw, PhD, ABPP, RPT-S, author and board-certified clinical psychologist

    'There are times that words seem insufficient to communicate an experience. Reading this inviting, grounding, and thought-provoking book was a learning experience unlike many others I’ve had. The book has intimacy, heart, logic, and contemporary knowledge and conveys a sacred respect for allowing our clients (and ourselves) to let our hands, bodies, hearts, and minds engage in the depth and richness that is sand therapy. The words that most resonate are integration and assimilation and as readers we become receptive to synchronous, seamless repetition that supports conceptual learning. Although the book is primarily based on Lowenfeld’s sand tray therapy approaches, it also values the work and contribution of Kalff’s sandplay work. Beyond honoring these two amazing pioneers and creative thinkers, the book accentuates the neuroscientific reasons that sand and play therapy are so valuable and relevant to the treatment of trauma, as well as attachment ruptures, dysregulation, and many other challenging conditions. Brava to editors Grayson and Fraser for this labor of love and deep honoring of the traditional, the innovative, and most especially, the client’s paced journey.'

    Eliana Gil, PhD, LMFT, RPT-S, ATR, founder and partner, Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education

    'What an important addition to the sand therapy field! Each chapter illuminates the author’s work with clients telling their stories with care. Primarily psychodynamic in content, this book provides the reader with insight into the interaction and therapeutic purpose of each author’s unique contribution and informs and encourages all of us who are honored to do this work.'

    Linda. E. Homeyer, PhD, LPC-S, RPT-S, coauthor of Sandtray Therapy: A Practical Manual and Advanced Sandtray Therapy