The effects of restricted group sandplay therapy on interpersonal issues of college students in China


This study explored the outcomes of restricted group sandplay therapy (RGST) on college students in China with interpersonal difficulties and self image issues. The study involved nine students at a university in Beijing identified with social distress and avoidance issues who participated in an eight session group therapy intervention using the RGST approach. Participant outcomes were measured using both objective and subjective measures. Objective measure involved the Social Avoidance and Distress Scale (SAD) at pretest and posttest to measure the social avoidance and distress participants felt before and after the group. The subjective means involved examining the sandtray creations of the group each session to observe overall changes in the group's attitudes and reactions toward each other; and by evaluating participants' self image as reflected by their choice of sandtray miniatures to represent themselves at pretest and posttest.. The results suggested noticeable improvements in both participants' SAD scores and self-image representations The group process also showed marked improvement in the amount of social awareness and coordination experienced by group members through the RGST intervention. Although the results must be regarded as tentative due to a low sample size and lack of regression statistical analyses, the group appeared to show promising findings for the use of the RGST in future social skills groups.


School of Social Work

Document Type





Anxiety issues in adults, Interpersonal difficulties in college students, Restricted group sandplay therapy

Publication Date


Journal Title

Arts in Psychotherapy