Introduction to Sand Play Therapy

Toni Zachos-Kaplan
Toni Zachos-Kaplan

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 person to tap into the psyche and the body. Through the use of symbolic figures, a person is able to create in the sand stories 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. Children’s thoughts and feelings are given a voice through symbolic play, enabling them to resolve their issues in a language they understand.
During this hands-on training, participants will experience the power of Sand Play therapy, through individual and group processes. The use of symbolic figures naturally incorporates cultural competence. Figurines include a multitude of cultural and religious pieces, allowing individuals to see themselves and their lineage, while processing individual and collective issues. Universal symbolism allows for equality, transcending barriers of power and privilege. These facets, along with the personal and collective unconscious, naturally lend to the addressing of social justice issues.

Learning Objectives:
  • Participants will experience personal expression through the use of symbolic language.
  • Participants will learn the rationale for using Sand Play Therapy with clients of all ages.
  • Participants will learn the principles of building a sand world.
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