December 2018

2018 has been another busy year!

2019 will be our 23rd year working together to provide quality specialised professional development in Expressive Therapies and Sandplay Therapy around Australia and internationally. As Mark is working full-time at the University of the Sunshine Coast coordinating the Counselling Programs, Helen now conducting most of the Expressive Therapies Institute trainings, in addition to her position at the University. This brief update outlines a few of our adventures and the places where our courses will be taught in 2019.


Doctor Helen Wilson was awarded her PhD in July this year. Thesis title: Beyond the Ribbon: The experience of self-compassion in Western Australian women survivors of breast cancer.


In 2018 Helen provided Expressive Therapies training in Kalgoorlie for Centacare staff, an introduction to Sandplay Therapy in Alice Springs for the Holyoake team, and launched a new intake of the Certificate in Sandplay Therapy & Symbol Work in Singapore.


In 2019 Helen will also provide expressive therapies training for the staff of Uniting Care on the Sunshine Coast, and for the Paediatric Psychology and Social Work Team of Dubbo Primary and Community Health, NSW.


Our programs continue from our studio at Maroochy River (12 mins inland from Coolum Beach on the Queensland Sunshine Coast), as well as through Birdwing Therapies Cairns, Into Blue at Phillip Island, Victoria, in Bathurst, NSW (supported by Centacare), in Singapore, and in the beautiful city of Olomouc in the Czech Republic.


Of course, we also enjoy further learning opportunities, which in this year included a program with Dr. Kristen Neff on self-compassion, and two days with Prof. Mick Cooper on Existential Therapy, as well as a seven-day break wandering the beautiful south island of New Zealand.


Conference Presentations:

1st International Conference on Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherapy

Mark presented a paper at this conference, at the University of Abertay, Dundee Scotland, in March this year. This was the first international conference which saw academics, practitioners and trainers come together to explore and discuss the full range of issues associated with the practice of Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherapy. We believe that competence with pluralistic practice is the future of counselling, and this ethical response to diversity underlies our teaching. Mark's presentation: A multiple intelligences contribution to pluralism: Enhancing choice with a focus on strengths.


What is pluralism? "Pluralism is a philosophical viewpoint which asserts that there is no one single truth or definitive answer to a question: multiple viewpoints can be right; there is no privileged perspective from which the 'truth' can be known; and each individual is unique in their understanding of reality. Applying this type of philosophy to the field of counselling and psychotherapy, Cooper and McLeod (2007, 2011) suggest there is no one, right answer which captures what is helpful in counselling and psychotherapy. Furthermore, they suggest that therapists and clients have an equally valid viewpoint on what might be helpful: i.e. therapists should not prioritise their own position or opinion". (Thompson & Cooper, 2012, p. 65).


From Strength to Strength: Building Resilience through Counselling 

ACA National Conference  September, 2018, Melbourne. This conference looked at how people bounce back after issues such as bullying, prejudice, violence, dysfunctional relationships, loss, trauma, and similar challenges. Mark presented a paper: Counsellors as Resilience Guides. Ten ways that counselling support can develop resilience; and a workshop: Navigating Resilience Pathways. Practical counselling activities to build client strengths.


6th Asia Pacific Rim Confederation of Counsellors Conference, Brisbane, September 2019.

We are also looking forward to sharing our work at this exciting international conference, jointly organised by the American Counseling Association, the Australian Counselling Association and the Asia Pacific Rim Confederation of Counsellors. Mark's workshop: Integrating Expressive Therapies into culturally sensitive, pluralistic, evidence-based practice.


USC Creative Arts Therapies Research Forum

This monthly research-focused group is led by Mark and Dr Trudi Flynn, and is held at the Sippy Downs campus of USC. All are welcome. The aim of the group is to share enthusiasm for creative arts therapies research and study some of the research information and generate collaborations among the counselling community, creative arts therapists, and university researchers (staff and present and past students). Each session begins with a 30-minute experiential exploration of a creative arts therapy modality.


The aims of this forum are to raise awareness of the creative arts therapies evidence base; to explore contemporary issues in this type of research (quality of evidence, current methodologies, future directions, etc.); to discuss/develop research skills, to increase research literacy in published creative arts therapies research; to discuss movements in the field; to promote recognition of the cross-disciplinary relevance and application of creative arts therapies; and to promote student, staff and professionals' interest in conducting (collaborative) arts therapies research. Yes, ambitious! If you are interested to learn more and/or attend please contact either Trudi or Mark:


Ever imagined undertaking a PhD? Talk to us about this great and rewarding challenge. It is never too late! There is so much scope for researching Expressive Therapies, so many counsellor-friendly research methods, and we can now supervise your projects through the USC.



During 2018 Helen has enjoyed developing and presenting a number of new one-day Professional Renewal Supervision Workshops, conducted in her welcoming studio at Maroochy River, Sunshine Coast. These popular workshops use Sandplay Therapy and Symbol Work to explore topics such as: self-compassion, intuition, hope, imagination, generating hope and optimism. Available through 2019.


Our hopes and dreams for 2019? More time with grandchildren, a bit more leisure, and to complete the manuscript of our new book on counselling children, that has the aim of distilling all we have learned, observed, created and applied in supporting young clients, as well as submit to a publisher our three manuscripts on expressive therapies-based counselling worksheets.


-  Best wishes for a great year in 2019,

   Helen Wilson and Mark Pearson



Certificate in Expressive Therapies with Children and Adolescents

Somatic focused, creative counselling for emotional integration - 15 days, spread over five 3-day training workshops. This highly experiential course offers training in emotionally expressive methods and Inner-Life Skills that promote emotional integration, self-awareness, self-esteem and resilience in children and adolescents.


Modalities introduced: Emotional Release Processes, Symbol Work, Bioenergetics, Art as Therapy, Music in Therapy, Expressive Writing, Body Focus, Visualisation, Role-Play, Relaxation and Meditation. There will be a focus on developing trust with young clients, encouraging their self-discovery, introducing emotional processing and integration activities.


SUNSHINE COAST, Maroochy River: Trainer - Helen Wilson, Starts 28 - 30 March, 2019

VICTORIA, Gardenvale: Trainer - Jo Ablett, Starts 6 - 8 June, 2019

CAIRNS: Trainer - Keran Thomas, 2019 dates to be announced

BATHURST, NSW: In collaboration with Centacare - Trainers Helen Wilson and Mark Pearson, Starts 21 - 23 January, 2019


Certificate in Sandplay Therapy and Symbol Work

With children, adolescents and adults - 12 days, spread over four 3-day training workshops.

This course provides a thorough training, with extensive practical experience and supervision in the Expressive Therapies approach to Sandplay Therapy and Symbol Work. The method of Sandplay Therapy introduced was developed by Dora Kalff in the late 1950s, based on Dr Margaret Lowenfeld's play therapy, Jung's Analytic Psychology and mindfulness. Sandplay Therapy is now taught and practiced around the world, supported by an international society.


SUNSHINE COAST, Maroochy River: Trainer - Helen Wilson, Starts 1 - 3 March, 2019

VICTORIA, Gardenvale: Trainer - Jo Ablett, Starts 7 - 9 February, 2019

CAIRNS:  Trainer - Keran Thomas,  Starts 30 May - 1 June, 2019

SINGAPORE: Trainer - Helen Wilson, planned for a late 2018 or early 2019 start

OLOMOUC, CZECH REPUBLIC: Trainer - Helen Wilson, Starts 12 June, 2019



- with Helen Wilson   Dates to be confirmed for 2019   SUNSHINE COAST

These one-day supervision workshops provide experiential opportunities to use Sandplay Therapy to explore a number of related concepts (e.g: self-compassion, intuition, hope, optimism, attachment).


ONE DAY EXPRESSIVE THERAPIES TRAININGS - These are offered nationally on a wide range of expressive therapies modalities, in response to specific requests.


Helen Wilson and Mark Pearson


PO Box 1378  Buderim  Qld  4556   Phone Helen: 0421 129 117

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