10 Core Workshops

We provide 156 contact hours of direct sandtray training rooted in the interpersonal neurobiology of play.  Our hands-on training interwoven with mindfulness, polyvagal theory, attachment, trauma and grief concepts provide opportunities for participants to experience how a witnessing presence helps to promote health and well-being. Participants may register for one or all of these core levels at a pace that is suited to their own training needs. In contrast to our topic workshops (see next section), our core levels provide a systematic approach to acquiring the skills needed to practice sandtray effectively. For more information on how these core levels may lead to sandtray certification, please go to our continuing education to learn more about certification. Participants are awarded a certificate of training for the purposes of required continuing education credits at the end of each workshop.

Currently we are offering both in-person and online training. Our in-person training takes place in Corrales, New Mexico in an all-day training structure. The in-person workshop day begins at 9:30 am and ends at 5:30 pm. Continental breakfast is available at 9:00 am on each workshop day. Our online workshops usually take place in 4-hour blocks of time through the ZOOM platform. The same number of Continuing Education (CE) hours are being awarded for each online training, but in a format of shorter hours over more days. Most of the online trainings begin at 8:40 a.m. and end at 1:00 p.m. Mountain Time with a 20-minute break. It is possible for participants to combine in-person and online trainings to create a training program that fits their own schedule and budget needs

12 Contact Hour Fees:
$305  Professional Early (Postmarked 30 days in advance)
$325  Professional Regular
$285  Student Early (Postmarked 30 days in advance)
$305  Student Regular

24 Contact Hour Fees:
$610  Professional Early (Postmarked 30 days in advance)
$650  Professional Regular
$570  Student Early (Postmarked 30 days in advance)
$610  Student Regular

Level 1 - Basic Tools and Methods

This 2-day workshop introduces the basic tools and methods of sand tray play therapy for both children and adults. Participants will explore various elements of the sand tray process in the context of clinical applications for treating trauma, depression, anxiety, and other issues. This training interweaves didactic discussions with hands-on exercises using miniature figurines and sand trays. The purpose of the exercises is to demonstrate how relational play may be used as a neural exercise to address the stress that arises in the nervous system during traumatic or other problematic experiences. From these exercises, workshop participants will explore and discuss how sand tray play helps to develop flexibility in the nervous system supporting a more joyful and fulfilled life. Therapists will have opportunities to practice and refine basic skills and to ask questions in a small-group setting.

Prerequisites: Prior knowledge or experience with the sand tray process is helpful but not necessary (12 contact hours.) Fees: $285 to $325

Level 2 - Symbolic Integration and Theory​

In this 2-day workshop, participants discuss and work with symbolic meaning and basic theoretical ideas related to healing trauma and other clinical issues with sand tray therapy. The purpose of the didactic information in conjunction with hands-on experiences is to demonstrate why it is important to help clients experience the sand tray materials in a way that allows them to collaborate with their embodied brains, not just their cognitive processes. A focus for this training is on trauma as it is embedded throughout the body rather than in the cognitive layers of the brain only. In Level 2, participants continue to build on the concepts of “play as a neural exercise” for developing a nervous system that is flexible and resilient. There will be opportunities to explore core issues in play therapy. Participants also will have opportunities to practice skills using symbolic language with a workshop partner.  

Prerequisites: Level 1 (12 contact hours.) Fees: $285 to $325

Level 3 - Basic Clinical Skills and Theory

Participants in this 2-day workshop will have numerous opportunities to develop and practice specific skills in working with the language of sand tray play therapy. Therapists will use exercises to learn when and how to translate play language into verbal language, and they will also explore the multidimensionality of sand tray play therapy as an expressive art. In addition, therapists will learn how to use the polyvagal theory of play to articulate how play helps to create a resilient nervous system.

Prerequisites: Level 1 & 2 (12 contact hours.) Fees: $285 to $325

Level 4 - Advanced Clinical Skills

Building on the previous three foundational levels, participants in this 2-day workshop continue to develop facilitation skills for sand tray play therapy. The training includes discussion of professional and ethical issues related to diagnosis, treatment planning, transference, and the clinical relationship. An amplification technique, countertransference and co-tranference are given particular focus in this level. Participants will have opportunities to refine and integrate therapeutic skills through hands-on practice with workshop partners. Each participant will have an individual sand tray for practice exercises and for creating individual sand tray words.

Prerequisites: Levels 1 & 2 (12 contact hours.) Fees: $285 to $325

Level 5 - Couples, Families, and Groups

Applying methods of group play therapy, participants in this 2-day workshop will learn how to facilitate sand tray play therapy with couples, families, and larger focus groups. Using various sizes of trays, including miniature trays, individual trays, and a large 5- foot circular tray, participants will be able to explore a range of possibilities for group facilitation. They will also experience both formal and informal processes for using sand tray play with groups. Integrating skills learned in previous training levels, therapists will learn how to balance individual and community needs within the group space. There will be a particular focus on how clinicians may utilize the polyvagal concept of connection versus protection for group facilitation.

Prerequisites: Levels 1 & 2 plus 3 or 4 (12 contact hours.) Fees: $285 to $325

Level 6 - Expressive Arts and Play Therapy Integration

The focus of this 4-day workshop is on the integration of various play modalities in therapeutic settings, including sand tray play, puppets, games, art, and storytelling play. Through didactic and experiential methods, therapists will have opportunities to learn how and when to use various modalities with both child and adult play. There is special emphasis on integrating the sand tray with play therapy and verbal therapy. In addition, participants will have opportunities to practice nervous system attunement during play therapy exercises.

Prerequisites: Levels 1 & 2; graduate degree in mental health or enrolled in a graduate degree program (24 contact hours.) Fees: $570 to $650

Level 7 - Grief and Trauma in Sand Tray Therapy

Through experiential exercises and didactic methods, participants in this 4-day workshop will have opportunities to use art-making activities and sand tray building exercises to explore how grief and trauma are processed in the brain, mind, and body. Using both art and sand images, participants will engage in partner practice to learn how to stay regulated in their own nervous systems while holding the powerful nonverbal images that emerge from clients during play therapy activities. The overall goal for this workshop is to develop an appreciation for the complicated relational work that evolves between therapist and client while healing grief and trauma in play therapy.

Prerequisites: Levels 1 & 2 plus 3 or 4; graduate degree in mental health or enrolled in a graduate degree program (24 contact hours.) Fees: $570 to $650

Level 8 - Developmental Considerations with Children (early childhood and latency)

Participants explore in this 2-day workshop how early childhood patterns of sand tray play appear not only in the very young but also in older children and even adults. This workshop also includes patterns of play of latency-age children. There will be experiential exercises, brief lectures and discussion to help participants learn how to identify and support the growing edge of young children and also older children and adults when these early patterns emerge at their growing edges. It also provides a focus for how sand tray play therapy collaborates with the brain in its push toward integration throughout the lifespan. Participants will have opportunities to identify and discuss these patterns of play therapy in terms of the developmental life span.

Prerequisites: Levels 1 & 2; graduate degree in mental health or enrolled in a graduate degree program (12 contact hours.) Fees: $285 to $325

Level 9 - Developmental Considerations with Adolescents and Adults

Using both didactic and hands-on experiences, participants in this 2-day workshop will explore the impact of play therapy on both the emotional and physical health of adolescents and adults. We will draw from the polyvagal theory of play and the template of the hero’s journey to explore themes that often arise during sand tray play therapy. Participants will have opportunities to look through a developmental lens at play as it emerges in the sand tray. We also will review issues of transference and co-transference that impact treatment outcomes with adolescents and adults. This training includes skill practice with workshop partners.  

Prerequisites: Levels 1, 2, 3, 4, & 8 (12 contact hours.) Fees: $285 to $325

Level 10 - Capstone - Integrating All the Levels of Sand Tray Therapy

The intention for this final workshop of the core curriculum is to create a culminating and integrating experience that will serve both as a completion of a skill set and an opening to a deeper level of practice. This 4-day training will draw from all the previous levels of training and from the expertise of each practitioner to refine and integrate the basic knowledge and skills of sand tray clinical practice. Participants will explore clinical case material using the science of interpersonal neurobiology, the 20 powers of therapeutic play, the knowledge of symbolic language, and clinical experience. They also will have opportunities to demonstrate their clinical skills and to provide effective feedback to colleagues for the purpose of ongoing skill development. 

Prerequisites: Levels 1 thru 9 (24 contact hours.) Fees: $570 to $650

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