Sandplay Therapy and the Treatment of Trauma – Recording



Description: This 8-session recorded workshop is designed to introduce participants to the use of Sandplay therapy in treating clients who have experienced trauma.

It will include an overview of the neuropsychological impact of trauma or “adverse childhood experiences” and an explanation of why Sandplay therapy can be a valuable therapeutic modality to address the impact of trauma on children, adolescents, and adults.

The course will illustrate how Sandplay therapy can help to:

  • Recover repressed traumatic memories
  • Allow for “expressing the unspeakable”
  • Facilitate cathartic expression of feelings associated with trauma; grief, horror, anguish, terror, etc.
  • Support the working through of traumatic experiences
  • Help to recover, repair, and stabilize ego functioning

This course meets the requirements of Sandplay Therapists of America and the International Society for Sandplay Therapy to be counted for 12 online training hours.

Note: For those interested in pursuing certification through the International Society for Sandplay Therapy, please know that ISST will accept up to 20 hours of online education/training.

For those interested in certification through Sandplay Therapists of America, please know that as of March 22nd, 2020, STA has adopted a policy of increasing the number of allowable online training hours in light of the current Covid-19 pandemic where so many national, state, and local government agencies are requiring that citizens be quarantined, on lockdown, or to shelter-in-place.

Outline / Agenda:

Session 1 – An Overview of the Neuropsychological Impact of Trauma
Based on neuropsychological research by leading experts in the field, this session provides an overview of the neuropsychological and somatic impact of trauma on the human being. It will include discussion of what constitutes trauma and/or adverse childhood experiences, differentiating them from ordinary grief and loss.


  1. Identify at least three primary ways in which trauma effects neuropsychological development.
  2. Explain what is meant by the term “adverse childhood experiences”
  3. Discuss at least three factors that differentiate complex trauma from ordinary grief and loss.


Session 2 – Why Sandplay is Effective in Treating Trauma
This session will focus on why sandplay therapy is a uniquely effective modality for treating clients who have experienced trauma or significant adverse childhood experiences. Citing research indicating that traumatic experience registers in non- verbal areas of the human brain, it will address why, in turn, non-verbal expressive modalities are key in accessing, unlocking, and processing traumatic experience. The session will address why sandplay therapy is uniquely equipped to do this, as it provides not only the opportunity tap the unconscious through creative visual expression, but also a bridge to the verbal through metaphoric and symbolic narrative.


  1. Discuss at least three reasons why sandplay therapy is an effective modality for treating clients who have experienced trauma.
  2. Explain how research developments in the field of neuropsychological imaging over the past two decades has verified that trauma registers and is stored in non- verbal areas of the human brain.
  3. Explain why sandplay therapy is an effective therapeutic modality in accessing and activating non-verbal areas of the human brain.


Session 3 – Sandplay Therapy and the Recovery of Traumatic Memory
This session addresses more specifically how sandplay therapy can help to access psychic content that is out of conscious awareness and to recover traumatic memory. Through description and discussion of child and adult case examples, it will elucidate how sandplay therapy can aid the recovery and working through of both pre-verbal and post-verbal traumatic memories.


  1. Discuss why sandplay therapy is a helpful therapeutic modality in terms of accessing and recovering repressed traumatic memories.
  2. Explain how sandplay therapy can aide in bringing pre-verbal traumatic experience into conscious awareness.
  3. Analyze the gradual progression of repressed memory recovery in a series of three sequential sandplay images.


Session 4 – Expressing the Unspeakable

Many clients who have experienced trauma have difficulty finding the words to give voice to what they have experienced, or are emotionally unable to tolerate naming and talking about what they have experienced. In such cases, the adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words”, could not be more true. This session will show examples of how sandplay allowed clients to, both consciously and unconsciously, express the unspeakable.


  1. Explain why being asked or pressured to pre-maturely talk about traumatic experiences can have an adverse effect, risking re-triggering or re-traumatizing the individual.
  2. Describe how contained symbolic expression through visual image can help clients safely “speak the unspeakable”.
  3. Analyze symbolic expression of traumatic experience in a series of at least three sandtrays.


Session 5 – Sandplay Clinicians and the Reality of Secondary Trauma
For clinicians who work with trauma, and the clinical supervisors who consult with them, secondary and tertiary trauma is a reality which must be addressed. This session provides guidelines for clinicians on how to recognize and seek supervisory support for the impact of secondary trauma. Case examples from sandplay practice where clinicians and supervisors were challenged to emotionally hold disturbing images reflecting horrific trauma will be discussed, but for participant protection, will not be visually shared.


  1. Explain what is meant by the concepts of secondary and tertiary trauma.
    Identify at least three indicators that a mental health clinician may be experiencing secondary trauma.
  2. Discuss at least three ways in which mental health clinicians may effectively address secondary trauma.


Session 6 – Sandplay Therapy and Cathartic Expression of Affect
As individuals contact traumatic memories and experiences through sandplay, one of the benefits is that cathartic expression of feelings associated with trauma is catalyzed. Affective “knots” of anguish, terror, horror, or grief which have been locked, or frozen internally begin to “thaw” finding release in the free and protected space of the sandplay experience. In this session, case examples of clients who were able to contact and release feelings associated with past trauma will be shared.


  1. Discuss how sandplay therapy can help to catalyze cathartic expression of feelings associated with trauma.
  2. Identify at least three symbolic images of the release of affect associated with trauma.
  3. Analyze symbolic indicators in a series of three consecutive sandtrays indicating a client is on the cusp of experiencing somato-emotional release.


Session 7 – Sandplay Therapy and Working Through Traumatic Experience One of the hallmarks of trauma, unlike ordinary grief, is that it impairs and destabilizes ego functioning. Overwhelmed by trauma, ego functioning becomes pre-occupied with defending against further harm, often leaving little in reserve for coping with everyday functioning. This session offers examples of the working through of traumatic experience and the restoration of normal ego functioning, symbolically evident in the sandplay series of both children and adults.


  1. Discuss at least three criteria that differentiate trauma from ordinary grief and loss.
  2. Explain how traumatic experience de-stabilizes age functioning.
  3. Analyze symbolic expression indicating the of gradual repair of ego functioning in a series of at least three consecutive sandtray images.


Session 8 – Sandplay Therapy and Recovery from Trauma – Resilience and Hope The final session of this course will focus on the theme of recovery from trauma, including the individual’s capacity to find meaning even in these darkest of experiences, to draw from them to be of help and service to others. Images of recovery, resilience, and hope in the sandplay work of children and adults will be shared.


  1. Identify at least three symbolic expressions of recovery from trauma in a series of at least three consecutive sandplay images.
  2. Discuss how one indicator of recovery is the impulse to be of help and service to others who have experienced similar trauma.
  3. Analyze evolving themes of recovery, resilience, and hope in a progression of consecutive sandplay images.


AOTA Classification Codes:

Domain of OT:

Occupations: Play

Performance Skills: Process Skills

Occupational Therapy Process:

Outcomes: Occupational Performance, Quality of Life

Certificate of attendance will be provided

Provider Name: Maude Le Roux Academy

Presenter: Betty Jackson, LSW, CST-T

Bio: Betty Jackson is a licensed clinical social worker and certified sandplay therapist with over 40 years of experience in school, mental health agency, and private practice settings. She began her Sandplay training with Dora Kalff in 1975 and became a Teaching Member of Sandplay Therapists of America and the International Society for Sandplay Therapy in 1991. She has authored several articles for the Journal of Sandplay Therapy, serves on the Board of Directors for the International Society for Sandplay Therapy, and teaches Sandplay nationally and internationally. She has the honor of being a Guest Professor for the Oriental Academy for Analytical Psychology and Sandplay in Guangzhou, China. Ms. Jackson maintains a part-time private practice at her home office in southeastern Pennsylvania where she has established The Center for Jungian Sandplay in order to offer Sandplay process, consultation, and training in the tradition of Dora Kalff.

Special Needs Accommodation: We invite anyone who may need a specific accommodation to contact and we will do our best to accommodate your needs. We do provide online PowerPoint for download should you require larger print and we do use specialized microphones to best accommodate for a clear audio message.

Cancellation policy: Due to this being a recorded workshop, this workshop is nonrefundable for any cancellation. Please contact 

Additional information

Course Type:



Online – Recording

Target Audience:

Occupational Therapists, Speech Language Pathologists, Licensed counselors, psychologists, social workers, pastoral counselors, mental health clinicians

Educational Level:

The course is geared towards graduate level mental health clinicians, but is open to any interested person at any level of training.



Number of Participants:


Course Completion Requirement:

Complete Feedback Form

Instructional Methods:

PowerPoint presentation, lecture, case examples, and interactive discussion

Contact Hours:

12 contact hours



3 reviews for Sandplay Therapy and the Treatment of Trauma – Recording

  1. Charller

    Excellent means of learning via webinar and was timely for my learning especially present time COVID19. I was able to use my CE hours productively.  

    Melissa Krishnan

  2. Charller

    What a privilege to have been part of such a wonderful 8 weeks.  Thank you for sharing a tiny bit of your incredible knowledge Betty.   Although the material was heavy and dark, Betty is such an amazing presenter and was able to share it with us in such a calm and human way.  It almost felt as if I was having a therapy session every week.  Will surely miss our sessions together.  Can’t wait for the next series with Betty.

    Christelle Bryan

  3. Charller

    Betty is real and she totally extends the sandtray safe containment atmosphere through her presence and use of herself in the presentations. I love how Betty used the visual imagery of the sand tray photos and her slides to reach our inner world and to create a contingent feeling with her as the presenter.  Her choice of visuals with her slides, always spoke so much more than what words could say. Just really excellent. Thank you for organizing this. I can’t wait to learn more. It is like swimming through a clear stream and feeling things wash off and clarity comes to integration

    Sanette Louwrens

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2018 Maude le Roux Academy

Setup Menus in Admin Panel