SMART (Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment) was initiated to explore and expand the repertoire of regulating experiences for children and their caregivers with the aim of nurturing healing and growth. For children with complex trauma in their background, regulation of emotional, behavioral and interpersonal life is exceedingly difficult. Thus, they find it difficult to live peacefully with their families, to make friends, and to learn in school. By adding a new array of strategies to the standard mental health therapy repertoire, this modality can better help children become more organized, playful, and expressive in their everyday lives. Caregivers can learn these strategies in the context of the therapy, while they work in tandem with the therapist. To learn more about SMART click here
Play Therapy refers to a large number of treatment methods, all of which make use of one or more of the natural benefits of play. All Play Therapy differs from regular play in that the therapist helps children systematically address and resolve their own problems. Since play is fun, it makes it easier for children to confront what is bothering them. Play allows them a safe psychological distance from their problems through play, the therapist will be better able to help them find solutions to their problems and allows them to express their true thoughts and feelings in ways best suited to their development level.
Sand tray therapy is a form of expressive therapy that is also known as sandplay and the world technique. It was developed by Margaret Lowenfeld, Goesta Harding, De Domenico, Charlotte Buehler, Bolgar, Fisher, Ruth Bowyer, and Dora Kalff. This non-verbal method of therapy is often used with children, but can be applied to adults, teens, couples, families, and groups as well. Sand tray therapy allows a client to construct their own microcosm using miniature toys and colored sand. The newly created microcosm then acts as a reflection of the client’s own life and allows them the opportunity to resolve conflicts, remove obstacles, and to connect to their inner being and recognize the beauty of their own soul as they begin to accept themselves.
Sand Tray Therapy for Children Experiencing Trauma, Neglect or Abuse
Many children are unable to vocalize their emotional state as a result of trauma or extreme neglect or abuse. Incorporating the element of a familiar medium, the sand, allows a child to instantly achieve a sense of comfort and security. With little instruction from the therapist, the child is free to play and develop his or her own expression of situations. Oftentimes the children will experience a sense of independent play and will begin making assumptions and behavior changes without cues from the therapist. This method therapy serves as a valuable and powerful outlet for children and an incredibly insightful method of gaining access to their traumatic experiences.
Sand tray therapy is very useful in the treatment of children who have been sexually abused. These children will often remain silent for fear of harm or even death. They are often threatened and are in highly anxious states when they come to therapy. This relaxed and interactive setting of sand tray therapy provides them the initial arena of safety that they need to move toward healing.
Dyadic developmental psychotherapy was developed by Daniel Hughes. This form of therapy is an evidence-based, effective, and empirically validated treatment for children with complex trauma, reactive attachment disorder (RAD), and other disorders of attachment. It is an approach that is primarily family-focused. The various elements of dyadic developmental psychotherapy, such as a focus on relationships, attunement, intersubjectivty, and sensitive responsiveness are all well researched elements of effective treatments.