Exploring sand play with LiberatingTouch®

Ranjana Appoo

We have begun to explore sand play therapy with LiberatingTouch® and EFT following the ground-breaking work of Phillip Davis and Christine Sutton with PTT (Picture Tapping Technique) and our experiments with using art as the investigative language in LiberatingTouch® to get to core issues that keep anxiety, fear, pain, rage and grief (and all underlying associations) stuck.

by Ranjana Appoo

Unlike traditional sand play we do not use literal figures, models or dolls but crystals, pebbles, raking and drawing. We were inspired by zen sand gardens and the way they encourage one to dive into our inner world and find harmony. The client begins by playing with the sand, allowing whatever that wants to emerge to show up. We then tap or touch while focusing and describing the design in the tray and then ‘reset’ the sand tray and play again. While playing the client can choose if they would like to share any information with us about what is going on for them.

Many clients tell stories while they play. Most are surprised by what they reveal. Art has the amazing potential of helping the client circumvent the barriers they have put in place to avoid getting to what hurt in the past and so healing. Sand play also activates the expressiveness of the inner child and because of its kinaesthetic nature quickly brings up stories and patterns trapped in the subconscious.

Below is a case study demonstrating the use of sand play with LiberatingTouch®.

The client has been trained in counselling has used sand trays as part of her counselling practice and has also been practicing the many forms of energy psychology for four years. She is incredibly self-aware and looked forward to combining her sand tray skills with energy psychology.

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The client began to play with the sand and began to speak at the same time, she expressed that she is aware of creating boundaries with expectations and rules of behaviour but that also meant that she separated and isolated herself from those she cares about. She created the following design as she spoke

After this was complete we simply held the energy balancing locations with the words chosen by her “these boundaries, expectations, isolation”. She became aware that something was changing internally and we then reset the tray and she created her next design

This time, she said how she still needed boundaries and rules but they did not have to be rigid, she could have them around her like a safety net. After this was complete, she tapped conversationally, speaking about her family and all the ways she judges herself and her family, she became quite emotional but continued tapping while expressing her desire to release her judgments. At this she stopped and said that she wanted to change the design. She then proceeded to remove all the sharper crystals and place soft coloured crystals around the round crystal ball that she said represented her. We both noticed how in the first design there was no “her”, only boundary and separation.

By the third design the sand tray looked completely different. The client expressed that she could sense a softening inside her and perhaps it is time to let go and allow space for the choices that her loved ones make. This was a short session and yet deeply moving.

Since then the client has made further shifts and changes in her world. This is definitely an area worth exploring further.

Ranjana Appoo has a Masters degree from UCL in Fine Arts, Art History and Criticism and began her professional career as an artist and fine arts lecturer. Due to challenging health projects she embarked on a journey, studying complementary healthcare and energy medicine. Ranjana retrained as an EFT and Jin Shin Jyutsu Practitioner. She is now an AAMET trainer of trainers, artist, writer and co-founder of the Emotional Health Centre. Ranjana is the co-creator of LiberatingTouch® for Health and Spiritual Regeneration.

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