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Vol. 1 No. 12 (2023): World Journal for Sand Therapy Practice

Perceptions of Sandtray as a Component of a Mindful Self-Compassion Workshop to Reduce Burnout in Nursing Students

October 27, 2023


Burnout is an increasing phenomenon in healthcare resulting in many nurses choosing to leave the profession, creating shortages. Nursing students experience burnout the same as professional nurses; however, equipping them with tools to build strength and resiliency may offer protection against burnout in the future. Mindfulness-based practices, like mindful self-compassion, have been proven effective at reducing burnout in healthcare workers. Mindful self-compassion has three components: moments of (1) self-kindness, (2) shared human experience, and (3) mindfulness. We, the authors, developed a workshop intervention based on principles of mindful self-compassion to teach undergraduate nursing students tools for managing emotional stress and reduce feelings of burnout. The use of sandtray was an essential component of this training. Three sandtray builds incorporated into the workshop served as the primary mechanism for fostering the shared humanity component required for mindful self-compassion. Qualitative feedback regarding the sandtray component was gathered immediately following the workshop and analyzed for common themes. The response to the experience was overwhelmingly positive. The feedback word cloud reporting – helped, think, reflect, visualize, express, open, and learn, as some of the most used phrases to describe the experience, as well as liked, loved, and great. Additionally, participants were asked what the most impactful experience was they took away from the workshop; the feedback word cloud indicated the sandtray component, specifically the “Strength Tray,” as the most impactful. Using sand therapy as a mechanism for fostering moments of shared humanity as part of a mindful self-compassion workshop is a novel application of this therapeutic technique and proved a valued and celebrated aspect by the participant population, undergraduate nursing students.


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