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Sand Therapy Competencies: Principles, Practice, Presence©

Level I


Schedule & Topics

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Schedule and Topics

Topics: Six, 90-minute ONLINE sessions


Overview: Each 90-minute session include curriculum from the 9 course topics.
Every session will include a case example of a sand scene, theory, clinical skills, ethics, and cultural relevance. These are topics not objectives.

Session 1. Defining clinical competency for use of symbols and sand, sample sand scene analysis, relevance of culture, theory-as-a-lens, ethics, suggested activity to build knowledge and skills. Course exam questions with answers. Core idea: Identify guiding principle for sand therapy (examples: appropriateness for client, safety, purpose, therapist role, boundaries, and core clinician practices Permission-Protection-Empowerment-Presence). Practice: Analyze symbols for actual-metaphoric-idiosyncratic meaning and relevance for clinician and clients. 

Session 2. Focus on specific competencies to conceptualize a sand scene, sample sand scene analysis, relevance of culture, Jungian archetypal theory, follow up on week one suggested activity to build knowledge & skills. Cover course exam questions with answers. Core idea: Explain aspects of culture and theoretical stance that influence conceptualization of sand scenes (examples: limits to theory, graduate training, supervision, client identity, non-western mythology, icons/ symbols anchored in specific cultures, boundaries for therapist interpretation, client as expert, familial and religious beliefs, language, socio-political environment, gender & economics, assortment of available symbols on the therapist’s shelves). Practice: Analyze symbols for actual-metaphoric-idiosyncratic meaning and relevance for clinician and clients. 

Session 3. Focus on specific competencies to respond to client and sand scenes, sample sand scene analysis, relevance of theory and culture to responding, therapeutic metaphor, follow up on week two suggested activity to build knowledge & skills. Cover course exam questions with answers. Core idea: Differentiate ways to respond to clients and their sand scenes, ethical concerns when using symbols in sand (examples: professional ethics, professional training, immersion in therapist’s own process, knowledge base and skill set, intention for use of a projective technique, promotion of use of Sand Therapy, sharing figurines/ symbols with non-trained colleagues, supervision.). Practice: Analyze symbols for actual-metaphoric-idiosyncratic meaning and relevance for clients. 

Session 4. Focus on specific competencies to engage and facilitate sand scenes including an understanding projection and countertransference, sample sand scene analysis, existential theory, follow up on week three suggested activity to build knowledge & skills. Cover course exam questions with answers. Core idea: Describe clinical skills necessary to facilitate a process with symbols in sand with special attention to the influence of projection and countertransference (examples: withholding interpretation, therapeutic metaphors, symbol amplification, active imagination, narrative and gestalt dialogues, high level of attending/ Active Listening, reframing, witnessing). Practice: Analyze symbols for actual-metaphoric-idiosyncratic meaning and relevance for clients. 

Session 5. Focus on specific competencies published in research and resources in the literature on sand as well as literature from non-psychology such as mythology, global fairy tales, science, how literature helps conceptualize and facilitate sand scenes, sample sand scene analysis, relevance of cultural stories, memes, themes, Narrative theory/social construction, follow up on week four suggested activity to build knowledge & skills. Cover course exam questions with answers. Core idea: Identify the psychology literature for theory and practice to conceptualize and respond to clients and their sand scenes. (examples: Roger’s Child-Centered, Jungian Archetypal, May/Yalom Existential, Developmental, Family Systems, Social Constructionist, Milton Erickson, Eric Bern, Neo-Freudians). Practice: Analyze symbols for actual-metaphoric-idiosyncratic meaning and relevance for clients. 

Session 6. Focus on specific competencies for use of symbols in sand for group therapy, family therapy, couples counseling, parent-child and the skills relevant for training and supervision for clinical practice, sample sand scene analysis, follow up on week five suggested activity to build knowledge & skills. Cover course exam questions with answers. Core idea: State competencies for the use of Sand Therapy with group, family, couples, and in supervision (examples: aware of personal-cultural projections, ability to maintain boundaries avoiding behavioral manipulations, skills to engage with active imagination and therapeutic metaphors with multiple participants such as in group and family therapy, discernment for appropriate use with client population especially regarding culture, aware of dangers and protection regarding trauma, distinguish approaches when using sand in supervision and best practices for training). Practice: Analyze symbols for actual-metaphoric-idiosyncratic meaning and relevance for clients.