The S.T.I. Approach to Sandtray Therapy
Learning by Doing
We use an experiential approach with clients and believe that trainees learn best when we can create an experience for them in a safe learning environment. We believe strongly that learning by doing is the best way to learn how to use sandtray with adolescent and adult clients. In our sandtray training groups, trainees create a sandtray the first group session. Homeyer and Sweeney (1998) recommended that the first step in learning how to use sandtray with clients is to experience sandtray first as the client. This is very important and this experiential activity is the first phase of learning by doing. Once you experience the power of the modality as you create and process your scene, you will have a sense of how therapeutic sandtray can be. You will also have an experience of how and when to use it with clients.
If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the best way to learn this approach is over an extended period of time. In the training group, the leader demonstrates the humanistic approach using trainees as “clients” on a rotating basis. We video record the sessions to promote and enhance learning. The weekly format is important because it allows you to have the opportunity to leave the training group, try the approach with clients and come back to the group with questions and any concerns. Groups typically meet on Saturday and last one semester.
For the past year, we have provided intensive remote training to practitioners and students who want to learn this approach. There are basically two intensive training options: schedule training in Dallas or we can arrange to train your group in your area. In the future, we may be able to do scheduled training in select cities. Although we have done more one-day training sessions than full weekend sessions, one day does not allow any of the concepts and interventions to be absorbed and thus the one-day training can get you started using this approach but if you are not able to follow up the training, it may be hard to continue to use it effectively. A two or three-day training allows much more time to learn the approach.
Also, if you are interested in learning more about sandtray on your own, we have created a 6-part sandtray therapy training video series found below: