The purpose of this study was to explore the ways in which a rural school youth indicates
trauma in a single sand tray scene. An empirical study of limited extent, which was conducted
from the interpretivistic paradigm and qualitative by nature, was undertaken. A clinical case
study was utilised as research design and document analysis was employed as data collection
method. The case record of a Grade 9 learner with a complex trauma history, who attended a
secondary school in a low-resourced community in Mpumalanga, was selected as the principal
participant in the study. Sandplay assessment, trauma indicators and rural youths were the
main concepts guiding the study.
The findings of the empirical study were, firstly, that the ways a rural school youth indicated
trauma in a single sand tray scene corresponded with trauma indications in Sandplay literature,
of which, secondly, scenes appearing hostile, sexualised, bounded-off, rigid, obstructed or
empty and devoid of life (e.g. people, vegetation) and scenery were examples. This reflected
the universal dynamism of trauma. Another finding was that the utility of a single sand tray
scene as a screening tool for trauma with a rural school youth was high and valuable as it
identified different types of trauma and trauma-related suffering (symptoms).