This intermediate level course presents past and current research related to the healing of trauma through sandplay and play therapy with children. Studying the impact of trauma on the brain through the research of Donald Kalsched, Bonnie Badenoch and others, reveals the importance of body-oriented, physical modalities in treating trauma. The healing power of sandplay with trauma will be demonstrated in the case of a five to nine-year old boy. His birth two months premature and multiple surgeries in the first year of life led to trauma and early disruption.The case shows how sandplay and play therapy helped the boy recover a sense of autonomy and embodiment. An experiential activity using clay will help students appreciate the value of a physical modality in treating trauma in a play therapy session.
Olivia Heathcote, Ed.D, MFT, CST-T, is a teaching member of the Sandplay Therapists of America and the International Society of Sandplay Therapy. She is an analytically-oriented psychotherapist with a particular interest in how early life trauma affects psychological development. Olivia lectures and teaches sandplay nationally and internationally. She serves on the STA board and is the current chair of STA’s Education Committee. Dr. Heathcote is a contributing author of Pearls: Defining Moments in Our Lives (2014) and of Living the Tides of Uncertainty, 2006 and was published in the Journal of Sandplay Therapy, 2009. She maintains a private practice in Los Gatos, California where she works with children, adolescents and adults.