Expressive Therapies Australia - Expressive Therapies

Certificate in Sandplay Therapy and Symbol Work

with children, adolescents and adults


Redcliffe (Moreton Bay) 2024 second intake starts 10 October


Trainers for Brisbane: Dr Mark Pearson, Dr Helen Wilson & Andrea Snow


12-day course 4 x 3-day workshops over 5 months


Twelve days of experiential training and supervision in the Expressive Therapies approach to Sandplay Therapy and Symbol Work. Sandplay Therapy was developed by Dora Kalff in the late 1950s, based on Dr Margaret Lowenfeld's World Technique, Jung's Analytic Psychology and mindfulness practices. Symbol Work was created by Helen and Mark.


Sandplay Therapy is a hands-on, expressive counselling and psychotherapy modality that has been in use for over eighty years. Sandplay forms a bridge between verbal therapy and the expressive, creative arts therapies, combining elements of each. The sandplay process is spontaneous and non-directed; Symbol Work is guided to focus on specific issues.


Sandplay allows both explicit and implicit processes to be explored and worked with naturally and safely. With an extensive research and literature base, Sandplay Therapy provides highly positive outcomes as a psychotherapeutic method for use by trained professionals.


An effective therapeutic resource with children, adolescents and adults, in schools, hospitals, welfare agencies and private therapy practices, Sandplay Therapy has been found highly supportive of trauma recovery, and for personal and transpersonal development.


This course is recognised by the ACA and of PACFA for professional development points.


Kalff's Sandplay approach was based on this fundamental premise that the psyche can be activated to move forward in a purposeful and healing manner.

Mitchell & Friedman, 2002


WORKSHOP 1   3 days   10 - 12 October, 2024

Foundation Skills One

- Introduction to Sandplay Therapy and Symbol Work

- Practical skills experience, history and theory

- Overview of literature

- Role-play techniques to support integration

- Collection and use of sandplay equipment

- Contraindications for use of symbolic work and role-play

- Illustrated case studies


WORKSHOP 2   3 days   7 - 9 November, 2024

Skills Two: From Theory to Practice

- Psychological mechanisms in sandplay

- Jung's Analytic Psychology in sandplay

- Understanding spatial arrangements in the tray - Ammann's quadrant theory

- Lowenfeld's theoretical framework - The World Technique

- Skills practice and case illustrations


WORKSHOP 3      3 days   16 - 18 January, 2025

Symbolic Expression, Trauma Care, The Individuation Journey

- Review of Kalff's theoretical framework

- Making sense of sandpictures

- Exploring dream symbols

- Sandplay in trauma-informed practice

- Transference and co-transference in Sandplay

- Supervision for Sandplay facilitation

- Facilitation and observation skills


WORKSHOP 4      3 days   6 - 8 March, 2025

Transpersonal Contexts, Supervision 

- Sandplay as a support for Transpersonal Psychotherapy

- Transpersonal influences in the psyche

- Case presentations by students - group supervision

- Beyond the Shadow - Kalff's presentation of completion trays - DVD

- Skills development


Course Information

COURSE TIMES: Each day from 9am to 5pm; last day ends at 4pm.


VENUE: Expressive Therapies Training & Consulting Rooms, 137 Sutton Street, Redcliffe.


FEES: Each 3-day training workshop: $950.   Fee includes 3 individual sessions with a trainer, online case supervision, extensive workshop manuals, electronic Book of Readings, morning and afternoon tea, as well as a free e-copy of the textbook.  BYO Lunch.  Payment can be made per workshop.  


REGISTRATION: Book a place via payment and submitting the Registration Form - contact Mark: Phone 0419 492 713 or email:


BACKGROUND READING & TEXTBOOK - eBook provided free with registration:

Pearson, M., & Wilson, H. (2001). Sandplay and Symbol Work. Melbourne: ACER Press.


WHAT TO BRING: Bring your lunch (morning and afternoon refreshments provided). Large art pad (A3 size); good crayons; biro; notebook; an old towel. Bring a camera / iPad or iPhone to record sandplay pictures.


All workshops are on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays


This is a highly experiential, interactive program that will provide many skills to support your clients move into resilience and emotional confidence. Participants will have the experience of following their own personal growth journey using the processes at each training workshop, gaining much experience in the client role.

There will be illustrated case studies and an extensive manual will be provided for each workshop.  There is a requirement for three short assignments, and a Book of Readings will be supplied to support your wider reading. Participants with prior training in the helping professions will receive the Certificate in Sandplay Therapy & Symbol Work, other participants will be awarded a Statement of Attendance.



The Expressive Therapies Approach to Sandplay combines Play Therapy, Jungian, Gestalt and mindfulness concepts and methods, and applies this to working with small symbolic objects, either in a sandtray or on art paper. The play aspect of this approach makes it inviting and non-threatening and suitable for trauma recovery.

Sandplay has an important role in helping clients deal with emotional and relational problems and can be incorporated into traditional counselling with children, adolescents and adults, working individually or in groups. It can offer ways to help clients resolve family issues, contact and deepen personal resourcefulness, and promote emotional resiliency. Sandplay work is also an effective support for existential and transpersonal exploration.


Comments on the Course


Thank you for the introduction to Sandplay - the gentle way you as facilitators approached our learning, I believe, had a huge impact on how excited I am to have knowledge of this therapy. I have used it with a few of my young clients and the impact it has had on them is incredible.  Carol Long, Centacare.


Thanks for the excellent sandplay course. It was an extremely beneficial experience for me, both from a personal and a professional perspective. I thoroughly enjoyed the highly professional and informative, yet relaxed and collegial facilitation.  Fiona Pienaar - MIT, New Zealand.


There is a very dignified, cohesive symmetry in the way you both worked the workshop. There is calmness and fiery passion, empathy and compassion, overlaid with a huge amount of wisdom and experience, both of which were conveyed with skill and style.  New Zealand student.


I value the many dimensions of practical and personal development offered in the course. The manual was well presented and the course structure was great, with ample time for reflection and discussion.  Keran Thomas, Social Worker / Counsellor, CAIRNS


Helen Wilson and Mark Pearson


PO Box 101  Clontarf Beach Qld  4019   Phone Mark: 0419 492 713

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