Through experiential exercises and didactic methods, participants in this 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.

Educational Goals

This training will help participants to:

  1. Identify intervention skills for facilitating sand tray play therapy for grief and trauma.
  2. Discuss neuroscience issues in grief and trauma sand tray play therapy.
  3. Describe symbolic patterns related to grief and trauma during sand tray play therapy.
  4. Utilize mask-making for trauma and grief issues.
  5. Explain how making a map of losses and trauma may help children and adults to heal in conjunction with sand tray play therapy.
  6. Utilize resilience collages to heal grief and trauma in conjunction with sand tray play therapy.
  7. Explain the role of the right hemisphere in processing grief and trauma during sand tray play therapy.
  8. Describe the overlap and the differences between grief and trauma.
  9. Explain how play activities help to restore the functioning of the nervous system after trauma or grief experiences.
  10. Discuss grief and trauma in sand tray play therapy as it relates to the polyvagal theory.
  11. Explain liminal space in terms of sand tray play therapy for grief and trauma issues.
  12. Describe the relationship of mindfulness and the witnessing role during sand tray play involving grief and trauma issues.


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


Levels 1 & 2 plus 3 or 4; graduate degree in mental health or enrolled in a graduate degree program.

Continuing Education

This course is 24 contact hours.


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