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Should I train to be a Sandplay Therapist?

My journey through sandplay training, as a child and family therapist, is somewhat like my relationship with acupuncture. I’ve always avoided acupuncture because of its mystical nature. As I did not understand it, I did not want to try it. Likewise, my approach towards sandplay was similarly guarded because it seemed mystical and I was not sure I understood what it does.

There was an occasion when I was experiencing so much discomfort in my tummy that I forced myself to see a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) physician. The need for some relief was so great I also asked for Tui Na (Medical massage) and acupuncture. By the end of the session, there was no more stomach discomfort and I was able to go about my day. What a relief!

I had likewise, avoided sandplay training – I reasoned that I was already doing Trauma-focused CBT and I was training towards being an EMDR practitioner. They seemed to me, quite different approaches. Yet, something seemed to pull me towards Sandplay.

By November 2018, I had completed my Jungian Sandplay  Therapy training. This included doing a number of personal processes with a Sandplay Therapist. I must say that it was thankfully nowhere nearly as painful or frightful as acupuncture.

Yet, with Sandplay, I have to say that my journey has only just begun. I have had some clients, and have started professional Consultations. I am slowly working towards becoming a Registered Sandplay Therapist with AST (Association for Sandplay Therapy). But I’m still coming to grips with learning and figuring out what are the changes Sandplay has contributed to me.

For one, I now understand that sandplay, in my practice, is a counterpoint to trauma-focused cognitive-behavioural and EMDR practice that I offer. Both however, work very well with clients depending where they are in therapy and  their readiness for different forms of therapy. I have now options for my clients, depending on my assessments of their readiness and needs.

On a personal level, I find sandplay helped me find clarity, compassion and comfort. This occured especially when I have to make difficult  decisions and also when life appears to be meandering endlessly in circles.

I want to give a word of thanks to Lynette, who persisted in speaking with me about taking on this training. Now I have a community of sandplay therapists that I can learn and grow with.

I am so looking forward to the Sandplay Symposium coming up from 21 to 24 October 2019!  We will have 2 days of consultations followed by 2 days of learning from the other mentors.

Elaine Chua
M.Soc.Sci(SW), Dip Clin Sup, EMDR and Sandplay (certification in progress)
Good Pathways