FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do I get the application?

The therapist version of the application is available for newer iPads and can be found in the Apple App Store and is currently priced at $169 for the main application. The client version of the application is free and requires a paid therapist version of the application to be used. In app purchases are available for additional features and expansion packs of models. Bulk purchases can refer to the Apple Business Accounts. Updates to both versions of the application are free.

Is the application available on Android devices?

I (the developer) exclusively use Android devices for my primary phone, so I would love to be able to responsibly sell it to Android users. In fact, the first tablet the application ever ran on was an Android. Given the nature of the development environment and complex nature of the program, one would need to use top of the line Android tablets to match the performance of standard Apple devices. I do continue testing on the application on my new Android phones.

We want you as the end user to be satisfied with the experience. Most people with low end Android tablets would blame us as the developers if the application ran poorly on their devices causing them a bad experience. The only potential tablets to try Virtual Sandtray on would be top of the line devices that cost $750.  Compare this to the standard current iPad, which you can usually procure for $300.  In summary, you would likely have to purchase a new device anyways, so why not get a device that runs the application better at a lower price?

Does Virtual Sandtray run on computers?

No it does not run on standard laptops or computers.  Our program is intentionally designed for use on a tablet to ensure the kinesthetic experience of creating the tray with one’s hands and not a mouse or a trackpad.

How many devices can I install the application on?

Please read Apple’s licensing rules. For business related activities, it is one license (purchase) per device.

For instance you are in an agency and purchase one license. This means that your are licensed by the Apple to use it on just one device. It is a violation of the license rules to install one purchase on multiple devices to be used by your agency.

There is also the situation where some may consider sharing one licensed device amongst several therapists.  Although not a violation of Apple’s licensing, it would not be a responsible action considering all therapists would have had administrative access in the application due to sharing the administrative account.  This means that therapist A would have access to all the trays from therapist B and C.

Apple does offer the educational and business programs for purchasing of multiple licenses.

Is the application HIPPA compliant?

After consulting with attorneys and insurance providers, we have determined that the application does not require a HIPPA certificate, as it stores no personal health information of the client. Do rest assured that the data the application stores and information it transmits when utilizing remote features are protected by industry standard encryption.

Virtual Sandtray is not available in my country’s App Store

As developers, we strongly believe in intellectual property rights. We are a small company and worked very hard to establish ourselves as the definition of sandtray on electronic devices.  Virtual Sandtray is only available in countries with strong commitment to intellectual property rights. If your country has been overlooked, please contact us so that we may investigate the situation and make an informed decision. Navigate to our contact page and fill out a request.

Analytics

Virtual Sandtray does not collect information beyond what the development environments collects, which we have no control over.  We only collect what is necessary for functionality in using the application. There are no analytics analyzing your usage added through the code generated by the developer, as we strongly believe in your privacy of usage.

Adding models to the collection

Navigate to our contact page and fill out a request. The environment used to develop Virtual Sandtray makes use of a variety of industry standard models formats, so if you have a specific model in mind, include a link in your correspondence.

No pictures or video captures

When you first take a picture, you have to allow Virtual Sandtray to have access to photos in order for it to save screenshots. If this step was skipped, you can set it manually.   Go to iPad settings, then choose privacy from the options on the left. In the list of privacy sections to the right, choose ‘Photos’. Then make sure Virtual Sandtray is enabled, i.e. green.

How much is it and what comes with it?

The Virtual Sandtray program is a one-time purchase of $169.99 USD and downloadable through the iTunes App Store.  With the initial download you get all the fundamental features and ~ 1000+ 3D models. 3D matters because they look like items no matter the angle (the user can rotate the tray 360 degrees). The model categories and content are fashioned after Homeyer and Sweeney’s Sandtray Therapy book (houses, trees, people, animals, fences, and much more). You get everything you need. If you want to expand your collection, as we do in our traditional setups, you can purchase expansion packs and most of them are 99 cents and we have ~7,000 models available in total. We also have an expansion pack which allows use of the VSA with up to 8 group members!

It is an app for convenience, but it is actually a program which includes digging, changing the sand texture, moving, resizing (and more) items, changing the skybox background, confidentiality features, supervision features, saving trays, and so much more. You do not have to be connected to the internet to use the VSA in session, in person or via screen sharing. Users on both end will need internet connection to use the program in the remote feature.

Recommendations

We recommend you explore and play with the program prior to clinical use. A user recently shared that when she was learning how to use traditional clinical sandtray she was instructed to do a tray a day for 2 weeks.  This allowed her to not only understand the mechanics of sandtray, but also the experience and the processes involved. Virtual Sandtray is no different! 

There is an intentional process to creating a traditional sandtray and there is an intentional process in creating a Virtual Sandtray. Digging down, building up, burying, moving, and so much more – it is a process, it’s not an instant click – feel the intention of the action, feel the layers of sand you are moving around, get immersed in the process… create… slow down… peruse the models/images/items… see things you didn’t even realize would speak to you. Listen and breathe and be. Utilizing sand therapies takes time to know.

Additional Resources

The Facebook page, Virtual Sandtray App, is a great resource for quick information regarding the VSA, updates, new uses and ideas, and events.

Additionally, a Facebook group called World of Virtual Sandtray App – Official Group started by a user for people who want to learn more and share different ways of using the program.

Training resources:  Play therapy leaders such as Ana Gomez LCSW, Dr. Eliana Gil, Dr. Jenn Lefebre, and Lesley Grey-Simpson have featured the VSA in their recent trainings.

Please bookmark https://jessicastonephd.com/digital-play-therapy-training/ for any upcoming and current trainings.  A favorite has been a training by Drs. Jenn Lefebre and Jessica Stone discussing and combining EMDR and VSA! Multiple levels of VSA trainings will be available in 2021 with the first level free with your purchase and more advanced levels available as desired.

Blog: Please find a number of blog entries here: https://jessicastonephd.com/blog/.  These guest blogs highlight many creative uses for the Virtual Sandtray including book incorporation, EMDR, 8 Stages of Wellness, and more!

Dr. Linda Homeyer included Virtual Sandtray in her write-up of the history of Sand Therapies here: https://worldsandtherapy.org/history-of-sand-therapy