An interest in people and helping others led to Toni’s career as a social worker. She received her Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999. Toni’s roots are in in home therapy, working primarily with children, adolescents and families referred by DCPP (Division of Child Protection and Permanency). In 2007 Toni joined Lighthouse Counseling after deeply connecting with Sand Play Therapy. A highlight of Toni’s work was coordinating the group therapy program at Lighthouse Counseling, offering social skills and targeted groups to a variety of populations. These groups utilized a unique blend of Sand Play Therapy, yoga, art and play therapy. Toni has shifted her current practice to working with adults. Focuses include, but are not limited to, childhood and generational trauma, anxiety, parenting, chronic pain and fatigue. Working with adults on their journeys, fostering an understanding of how their past shaped who they are, as well as recognizing their strengths and potential, has been so valuable in leaving behind what no longer serves them. Envisioning, becoming and accepting the true self and life one desires can become possible. One of Toni’s proudest accomplishments is co-facilitating Lighthouse’s Sand Play Therapy Training Program, in which clinicians are trained to become Sand Play Therapists. Being able to witness others experiencing the power of Sand Play Therapy has been incredible. Knowing each clinician will then help many others with this technique has been an extraordinary aspect of Toni’s career.
An Introduction to Sand Play Therapy
Often when people have a history of trauma, the coping skills that function to help them survive become a barrier to healing. Some of the common defenses that hinder the process of healing in adults are intellectualization, rationalization, projection, somatization and even dissociation. With Children, trauma or stress may present as impulsivity, hyperactivity, poor social skills and poor school performance. Sand Play Therapy allows the client to tap into the psyche and the body. Through the use of symbolic figures, a person is able to create stories in the sand that examine their wounds, the effects from these wounds, and the possibilities for resolution. The clinician is then able to help a person connect insights to emotions and body sensations and begin the journey towards healing. Through Sand Play Therapy, the adult client is able to build the skills necessary to avoid problematic patterns of the past. Sand Play Therapy also allows children’s thoughts and feelings to be given a voice through symbolic play, enabling them to resolve their issues in a language they understand.