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Trauma Certificate Training, Level II: Fairy Tales in the Sand: Voices for resilience from internal parts

May 5 Breakfast 8:15am-8:45am   Training 8:45am-4:00pm 6 CEUs Presenter: Dee Preston-Dillon, PhD Woodholme Country Club, 300 Woodholme Ave. Pikesville, MD 21208 United States + Google Map

Please Note: This training is ONLY open to Level II Trauma Certificate participants.

We have been expressing our internal stories and images for thousands of years. Symbols in the sand signify an organic process anchored in how our brain represents experience. This externalizing process can be conceptualized as activated parts from Internal Family Systems. In the projective process of Sand Therapy, the client places figurines within a sand tray representing his/her personal story. Each selected figure contains its own voice and perspective which the clinician can help activate and validate, opening a pathway to reclaim resilience through engagement.

Coupled with our innate ability to represent experience, from cave walls to sand trays, is our capacity to tell stories. Myths and fairy tales are some of the oldest stories across cultures. They help us anchor existential truth and archetypal images in the clinical process. What is the connection as we triangulate representations in a sand scene, how our brain uses symbols and stories, and therapeutic process? It is the human capacity to survive, an essential existential need to connect, to reach across generations and extend an image of hope, of strength, of resilience. This workshop is an experiential exploration of ways to understand and facilitate voices for client resilience.

Learning Objectives

  1. Identify three (3) guiding principles for using Sand Therapy (e.g appropriateness for client, safety, purpose, therapist role)
  2. Explain three (3) aspects of myths, fairy tales, and culture that parallel the client’s internal voices and images in a sand scenes (e.g. client identity, non-western mythology, icons/ symbols anchored in specific cultures)
  3. Describe four (4) clinical skills important for use of Sand Therapy as a projective process (e.g. withholding interpretation, use of therapeutic metaphors, symbol amplification)
  4. Identify three (3) frameworks to conceptualize internal parts, validate internal Voices, and support representations of resilience for clients and their sand scenes. (example theories: Roger’s Client-Centered, Jungian Archetypal, May/Yalom Existential)
  5. Describe three (3) clinician competencies to support emerging voices and anchor resilience (e.g. aware of personal-cultural projections, ability to maintain boundaries, avoid behavioral manipulations)
  6. Analyze three (3) fairy tales as told by symbols in the sand scene for their metaphoric-idiosyncratic meaning and the relevance for client resilience.


9:00- 10:30am

  • Workshop guidelines for safe experiential work, purpose
  • Overview of connections among factors in the therapeutic process – resilience, sand scenes, internal parts/ voice, fairy tales
  • Case presentation demonstrating core ideas – voices in the sand

10:30 – 10:40   BREAK

10:40 to 12:00

  • Voices from fairy tales — dramatization
  • Participants select figures to anchor resilience – for themselves and for clients
  • Create full sand scene

12:00 to 1:00   LUNCH

1:00 to 2:30

  • The emergence of resilience, facilitation of voices, ways to validate
  • Individualized demonstration to validate and anchor resilience PART 1

2:30 to 2:45    BREAK

2:40 to 4:00

  • Individualized demonstration to validate and anchor resilience PART 2
  • Closure, questions, participant reflections
Photo of hands creating a sand tray scene