Steve Armstrong, Ph.D. has been teaching and training graduate students and practitioners in sandtray therapy since 2001. Steve has extensive experience in training and supervising advanced masters, doctoral students and licensed practitioners in sandtray therapy, gestalt therapy and play therapy. He has published several articles and book chapters in the area of sandtray therapy and play therapy and presented regionally, nationally and internationally on sandtray therapy and play therapy.

He is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Board Approved Supervisor in Texas. In addition, Steve is a Child-Centered Play Therapist-Supervisor (CCPT-S). In the 1990’s, Steve was trained in gestalt therapy for five years by Rick Carson. In the 1970’s, Steve was trained by Garry Landreth in child-centered play therapy. When he was a doctoral student from 1999-2002 at the University of North Texas, Steve received additional training in the child-centered approach. The humanistic approach evolved from a synthesis of person-centered and gestalt therapy. Steve began developing the humanistic approach to sandtray therapy as a doctoral student in 2000 and found that integrating the two approaches provided an effective method of sandtray processing. More recently, in 2011, Steve was invited to Taiwan to give a keynote address on Rogers’ core conditions. Prior to delivering the address, Steve found the ideas of Paul Wilkins (2010), a person-centered therapist in the UK, inspiring and especially helpful. Many of Wilkins ideas have been integrated into the philosophical basis for the humanistic approach to sandtray therapy.


Steve has taught the doctoral clinical supervision course at A&M Commerce for the past 11 years. He is a board approved LPC supervisor and has supervised and taught humanistic sandtray therapists since 2007. Using a developmental approach to supervision based on the work of Ronnestad and Skovholt (2013) and Bernard’s discrimination model (1997), Steve focuses on the person of the counselor as much as the client in order to promote therapist growth and awareness. He has supervised over 300 masters and doctoral students as well as licensed interns and practitioners in academic and private practice settings. Through Sandtray Therapy Institute (STI), Steve provides quality supervision for therapists working on the Certified Humanistic Sandtray Therapist (CHST©) credential.

Recent Sandtray Publications

Armstrong, S. A., Foster, R. D., & Brown, T. (2017). Humanistic sandtray therapy. In B. Turner (Ed.), Routledge international handbook of sandplay therapy (pp. 305-316). Abington, UK: Taylor & Francis.

Armstrong, S. A., Foster, R. D., Brown, T., & Davis, J. (2016). Humanistic sandtray therapy with children and adults. In E. Leggett & J. Boswell (Eds.), Directive play therapy: Theories and techniques.  New York, NY: Springer.

Armstrong, S. A., Brown, T., & Foster, R. D. (2015). Humanistic sandtray therapy with preadolescents.  Journal of Child and Adolescent Counseling, 1(1), 17-26.

Even, T. A., & Armstrong, S. A. (2011). Sandtray for early recollections with children (SERCh) in Adlerian Play Therapy. Journal of Individual Psychology, 67, 391-407.

Recent Sandtray Presentations

Armstrong, S. A. (November 13-14, 2015). Humanistic sandtray therapy across the lifespan. Idaho Initiative for Play Therapy Annual Conference, Boise, ID.

Foster, R., & Armstrong, S. A. (October 10, 2015). Humanistic sandtray in supervision: Creatively expressing and processing countertransference to promote reflective practice. ACES Annual Conference, Philadelphia, PA.

Homeyer, L. & Armstrong, S. A. (October 11, 2014). Sandtray session with adults: Humanistic approach. 31st Annual Association for Play Therapy International Conference, Houston, TX.

Armstrong, S. A. (February 5-11, 2014). Humanistic sandtray therapy for Korean counselors: Intermediate and advanced processing. University of California-Riverside, Riverside, CA.

Armstrong, S. A., & Wesley, V. (July 13, 2013). Play therapy is not just for kids: Sandtray with clients of all ages. International Center for Play Therapy Summer Institute, Denton, TX.