Virtual Sandtray is a new media interpretation of a physical sandtray. It is a new and exciting way to bring sandtray therapy to places not convenient for a physical sandtray therapy, such as hospitals, disaster areas and travel. There are new opportunities to treat patients, such as those unable to physically access a standard tray, those that are unable to work with sand due to tactile reasons and those that will not work with a traditional sandtray, such as teenagers. Just a few of the capabilities offered beyond a physical tray are a multitude of models (over 5000), ability to save and send trays, record videos and take screenshots and special effects, such as fire, weather and animation.
VSA an Teletherapy
Therapists using VSA in teletherapy use a screen-share option or hold their tablet up to their camera as their client's guide them in creating their sand tray. VSA is working diligently to come up with a new teletherapy feature that will allow clients to interact directly with VSA and their therapist from afar.
Advantages of Virtual Sandtray
The use of tablet presents many advantages:
- The hardware is affordable: you likely already own the required hardware
- Portable - not tied down to one location or limited models in a travel tray
- Ability to treat clients that can't and/or won't work with a physical tray
- The youth of today are attracted and already engaged in the use of tablets
The use of a software program on a tablet medium allows new features to be used:
- Virtual Sandtray allows trays to be saved
- A physical sandtray does not allow a tray to be saved for use by the client
- A user can reopen a prior session, allowing them to expand and explore
- The program has an autosave feature that is enabled by default. The setting is per user, can be enabled/disabled and can be setup to save on 3, 5 and 10 minute intervals. There are five files saved total, with the oldest being discarded.
- Internet/Wifi is not needed to use the app in session, only for downloading, updates, etc.
- Screenshots can be taken with Virtual Sandtray
- What you see on the screen is what gets captured, the controls disappear momentarily
- Pictures taken are accessible from the gallery on the device
- Pictures are stored on the therapist's iPad so they need to be handled carefully as one would any other photos taken in session.
- Therapists can connect with "colleagues" through the App.
- The therapist can send encrypted files to send to clients, parents supervisors, professors or anyone as appropriate through the App's sharing feature to ensure confidentiality is protected.
- Explore the main components of Virtual Sandtray to see more features
Dr. Jessica Stone is a licensed psychologist working in a private practice in Colorado. She has been a practitioner, professor, presenter, and author for more than 25 years. She is the co-creator of the Virtual Sandtray App for iPad (VSA) and Virtual Reality (VSA-VR). In mental health settings, VSA and VSA-VR assist with assessing psychological concerns, treatment planning, and implementing interventions. Medical setting use focuses on distraction and palliative use while yielding valuable emotional and psycho-social information in a highly motivating, fun, therapeutic way.