Ethical Principles & Cross-Cultural Issues in Play Therapy: Stories of Trust, Love, and Betrayal

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This workshop will provide a total of 12 contact hours (6 contact hours of ethics and 6 contact hours of cross-cultural). Participants will explore how storytelling may be used to guide ethical decision making and to deepen understanding of cross-cultural issues in sand tray play therapy. Therapists will have opportunities to draw from their own story repertoires as well as a number of classic stories that serve metaphorically to guide decision making when confronted with ethical dilemmas. Going deeper than a review of the rules, participants will focus on the personal values and principles that govern ethical decision making. When using storytelling play, how does one honor the safety that play offers to both children and adults without betraying the trust understood implicitly in these activities? How is the topic of liminal space relevant to both ethical and cross-cultural issues? There will also be a focus on how storytelling is used across cultures for the purposes of healing and integration that are central to mental health.

Educational Goals

This training will help participants to:

  1. Identify common ethical challenges implicit in both traditional and personal stories.

  2. Explain how to strengthen play therapy trust building skills necessary for healing relationship betrayals.

  3. Utilized create storytelling with objects of play as a means of clarifying ethical dilemmas and increasing cross-cultural awareness in the context of sand tray play therapy.

  4. Describe the create process of developing a personal model of ethics derived from core values and informed by right mode hemispheric processes.

  5. Discuss ethical and cross-cultural issues of cases relevant to sand tray play therapy.

  6. Demonstrate the value of using storytelling in conjunction with established models of ethical decision making in play therapy.

  7. Explain how storytelling serves to integrate the differentiated parts of the brain across all cultures.

  8. Discuss the relevance of holding liminal space to both ethical and cross-cultural issues of sand tray play therapy.


In-person training does not have any equipment requirement. For online course equipment requirements, please refer to the linked document below:


Graduate degree in mental health or enrolled in a graduate degree program. Prior knowledge or experience with the sand tray process is helpful but not required.

Continuing Education

This course is 12 contact hours.

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