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Level II Begins February 10, 2020
Four Consecutive monthly workshops (second Mondays)

Level I workshops will be scheduled throughout the spring and summer 2020

Case Consultations will be on the third Wednesdays

Taught by:  Dee Preston-Dillon, M.A., Ph.D.
Continuing Education credits through the City of College Park, MD
Advanced Clinical Training Institute

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Sand therapy is a three-dimensional projective process appropriate for clients across the lifespan, often practiced by expressive arts and play therapists. This is a strengths-based approach wherein the client uses figurines and metaphors to tell their story.  In Sand Therapy work, it is especially important to be attuned to the psychic impact of the use of symbols. Training involves three core contexts:

understanding theory – what lens do we use to view and understand the process?
How do we facilitate client connection to his/her sand scene and collaboratively witness and honor the emerging meaning?
How do we respond to clients and to their sand scenes to keep the process safe and anchor validation.
Training Approach 

Research, theory, distinct practice approaches, case examples, and an experiential component are a part of every course in this certificate program. An essential feature is creating sand scenes during each workshop. Focus for creation of sand scenes often reflects concerns regarding clients, professional development, specific challenges in practice, and topics such as trauma, grief, identity, and relationships. Participants immerse in silence creating their own scenes. As a group we witness unpacking layers of meaning while always protecting the integrity for participant and sand scene. Insights come through one’s own work in the sand as well as through witnessing peer explorations and listening to their peer experiences – what was useful, what felt limiting, etc.. Individual and group reflections include examples of the possibilities for work with clients and for personal development.

During Sand Therapy, vulnerability is high. Clients require a safe space and an empowering witness to listen and validate their experience and stories, especially those experiences which are too painful or too conflicted to explain directly in words. Sand scenes contain representations of the self for which the client is not yet aware and emerging parts that are necessarily deeply protected. Accordingly, therapist preparation is essential to help assure an empowering, protective experience for clients.

Of particular importance is therapist awareness of their projections, their attitude toward symbols, boundaries when facilitating the use of therapeutic metaphors, client-symbol engagement, and an understanding of the unique client-therapist relationship that is essential for an ethical practice. It can be a challenge for clinicians to shift from strictly behavioral therapies to this humanistic, analytic way of perceiving and responding in sand therapy. This shift is helped with reading Milton Erickson, Jungian’s such as James Hillman and Marie Louise von Franz, and the existential/humanistic practices of Rollo May, Carl Rogers, and Irving Yalom.

This certificate program is anchored in individualized guidance, direct experience and case consultation to support therapists in the ethical use of sand and symbols. Participants attend to developmental, psychic, and mind-body connections in sand scenes. An essential feature is immersion in one’s own sand scenes with guidance to deepen personal experience and expertise. Every sand scene exploration is a teaching moment to model ways to work with clients. To maintain integrity an emphasis is on a safe, enriching experience for participants. Small groups allow for individualized guidance, feedback, and support for competency using Sand Therapy.  The program is a rigorous step into Sand Therapy with reflective moments for therapist growth and self-care.
The Certificate

Clinician competency is anchored through understanding the projective process in Sand Therapy. Our certificate program supports clinician competency for using sand in three core areas: 1) understanding theories for an integrated, holistic practice, 2) development of a mindful use of metaphor and symbols, and 3) advancement of skills through small groups with individualized feedback during case consultations. To support this experience, workshop attendees are limited to maximum 10 participants. Professionals interested in this quality training but are not actively seeing clients or are not or interested in the certificate component of the program are welcome to participate.
Advanced Clinical Sand Therapy Certificate: Level I

Each of the workshops below can be taken separately, as independent trainings. When combined they form Level I of the certificate program.
Each workshop is a 6-hour continuing education (lunch breaks are during lectures)
Workshop Titles for Level I - The Foundation of Sand: Theory, Ethics, and Skill Development

Workshop 1: Developing Competency: Theory, Ethics, and the Role of the Therapist in Sand Therapy

Workshop 2: Respectful Understanding of Symbols in Sand: Amplification and Active Imagination

Workshop 3: Resonating with Compassion in Sand: Trauma, Grief, and Loss

Workshop 4: Mindfully Responding: Integrating Rogerian Client-Centered and Jungian Approaches

Workshop Titles: Level II – Implementation: Engaging, Responding to Clients

Workshop 1: The 20 Competencies: Theory, Practice, Safety, and the Role of the Clinician

Workshop 2: Engagement: Therapeutic Metaphors, Symbol Amplification, Active Imagination, Hermeneutical- Interpretive Explorations and Narrative

Workshop 3: Existential Meaning, Culture, and Identity: Witnessing, Validation, Empowerment

Workshop 4: The Sand Therapist: Honoring the Clinical Shadow, Embracing Imagination, Intuition, and Science in Sand Therapy

Case Consultation: 10-hours small group case consultation required for both Level I and Level II

Course: Sand Therapy Competencies

This course presents an overview of the core principles and practices for safe, ethical, and empowering sand therapy. Each presentation will include relevant research, case examples, core concepts, and suggestions for practice. Course content emerged from decades of case consultations with therapists, interns (social work, counseling, psychology, marriage & family therapy), and clinical supervisors.

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Course: Sand Therapy: Understanding the Existential

Existential understanding and engagement with sand scenes reveals essential concerns such as the meaning of life, identity, mortality, meaningful connection, and freedom. Clinician competency includes a grasp of existential core ideas following Rollo May, Irving Yalom, and Viktor Frankl, and clinical skills to engage with depth phenomena in sand scenes.

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Course: Sand Therapy: A Narrative Approach

Narrative process with symbols in sand rests on metaphor, patiently paced, never judged, always tentatively explored. The clinician is aware of social, cultural and political (power) dynamics that are oppressive, remaining alert and protective, mindful of subtle ways alienation seeps into therapy. Narrative Sand Therapy is meant to reclaim and empower one’s authentic self.

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