2018 Sandplay Training Series


Welcome to learning with us and joining our community of sandplay therapists. Full information on the NCRSS training series is available below. We are expanding to other regions of Northern California with Fundamentals classes and are continuing to offer Advanced classes here in the Bay Area. Our classes offer CEs and many include APT credits. All meet the standards set by STA for Certification as a Sandplay Therapist. We welcome  play therapists, family therapists, social workers, expressive arts therapists, psychologists, school psychologists, graduate students and medical professionals. Scroll down for full descriptions and information.   

SUNDAY January 14, 2018: Sandplay with Children: Fundamentals II in Los Altos. Introductory course taught by Jill Kaplan, LMFT, CST-T.  6 hrs. CE. and APT credits

February 10, 2018:  The Relational Field of Sandplay: Transference, Countertransference and Co-Transference  in San Rafael. Intermediate course taught by Linda Cunningham, Ph.D, LMFT, CST-T / This class is offered for  people  who have taken at least three Fundamentals classes or the equivalent and have experience with their own sandplay process. 6hrs. CE credits

March 17, 2018: Fundamentals of Sandplay Therapy I near Sacramento. Taught by Linda Elaine Bath, Ph.D, LMFT, CST-T, and Lynne Ehlers, Ph.D, CST-T.  6 hrs. CE  and APT credits

April 14, 2018: Sandplay Therapy and Trauma  in Burlingame. Intermediate/advanced course taught by Olivia Heathcote, Ed.D, LMFT, CST-T. This class is offered for people who have taken at least three Fundamentals courses or the equivalent and have experience with their own sandplay process. 6 hrs. CE and APT credits.

See below for full details on all courses.

Contact  our Program Administrator at norcalsandplay@gmail.com with questions or for more information. If you wish to register by mail, you may do so by downloading this form.


Fees:        Professional:  NCRSS member $165   Non- member: $190

                   Unlicensed Interns/students: NCRSS members $140   Non-member $160

                    Continuing Education:  additional $25 per course

Continuing Education credits: CPA Accredited: NCRSS is approved by the California Psychological Association (# NOR021) to provide continuing professional education for psychologists. The California Board of Behavioral Sciences recognizes CPA for continuing education credit for LCSW’s, LMFT’s and LPCC’s. NCRSS is responsible for maintaining this program and its contents.

A maximum of 6 CE credits may be earned, based on class attendance. Each individual course is 6 hours of instruction eligible for CE credits. One credit equal 60 minutes of instruction. There is a charge of $25 to obtain CE credit.

 APT Provider #13-343  Four courses are approved by the American Play Therapy Assoc.  for six hours  CE credits through Sandplay Therapists of America.

Cancellations:  Must be received 14 days prior to the first class to be eligible for a refund. A $50 processing fee is deducted from the refund. No credits for missed class.

Attendance: CE credits are awarded to those who attend each class in full and complete the appropriate evaluation form. Credit is granted to those who attend the entire class. Those arriving more than 15 minutes after the start time or leaving before the workshop is completed will not receive CE credit.

Certification:  This class offers 6 hours toward STA certification as a Sandplay Practitioner or Certified Sandplay Therapist. For additional information about how to become a certified sandplay practitioner or certified sandplay therapist, go to www.sandplay.org


Sandplay and Play Therapy with Children: Creating the Free and Protected Space

Jill Kaplan, LMFT, CST-T

SUNDAY January 14, 2017 9:00 am- 4:30 pm    6 CE credits

4966  El Camino Real, Suite 216, Los Altos

This introductory course will focus on the “free and protected space, conceived by Dora Kalff, as it applies to sandplay and play therapy with children.  Developmental stages and themes in sandplay process of children will be identified and discussed as well as child development theories and neurobiology findings which are relevant to sandplay in play therapy. Participants will learn and discuss how to present sandplay and play therapy to parents and to form an alliance with parents around treatment issues such as beginning therapy, parenting styles, and termination. We will also focus on containment issues and challenges presented in child therapy through the analysis of an in-depth case example.


Learning Objectives:  this workshop is designed to help you:

  1. Name the stages of development according to Dora Kalff.
  2. Apply the concept of the free and protected space to working with parents and children in sandplay and play therapy.
  3. Identify three characteristics of trays made by children under the age of 7.
  4. Describe how to present sandplay and play therapy to parents.
  5. Describe the value of sandplay in play therapy from the perspective of neurobiology.
  6. Name a termination issue with parents and describe how you might handle it. 

Jill Kaplan, LMFT, CST-T, specializes in child therapy and also works with adults.  She has authored articles in the Journal of Sandplay Therapy and has taught nationally and internationally. She is especially interested in trauma and in the complementary teachings of Buddhism and Sandplay.  She is current President of Sandplay Therapists of America.  Jill has practiced Zen meditation for over 20 years and is a teacher in the lineage of Suzuki-roshi.


Transference, Countertransference and Co-Transference

Linda Cunningham, Ph.D, LMFT, CST-T

Saturday February 10, 2018   9:00 am- 4:30 pm 6 CE

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Marin, 240 Channing Way, San Rafael

Understanding the concepts of transference further deepens the therapist’s self-awareness of somatic, emotional, relational, symbolic and spiritual connections with the client. Theoretical material will help sandplay practitioners to better understand transference, countertransference and how they relate to co-transference and the relational field. Special attention will be given to how the experience of co-transference may manifest in our bodies or feeling states, and we will apply this knowledge to our work with clients.  In-depth analysis of sand trays and processes will demonstrate how sandplay enables clients to symbolize and express their deepest emotions related to preverbal trauma. We will discuss the impact of the co-transference upon the therapist and client as it affects healing and transformation.

Learning Objectives:  this workshop is designed to help you:

  1. Describe the differences between transference, countertransference and co-transference.
  2. Identify ways to recognize to recognize preverbal trauma through difficult countertransference experiences. 
  3. Describe how placement of objects in the tray can reveal both negative and positive transference.
  4. Assess the use of objects in the tray to identify dissociation.
  5. Discuss the relational field model of relational issues in sandplay.
  6. Describe the preverbal, traumatic roots of insecure attachment. 

Linda Cunningham, Ph.D, LMFT, CST-T, is a teaching member of STA/ ISST and the author of Sandplay and The Clinical Relationship (2013). She has written many articles for the Journal of Sandplay Therapy on the topic of the therapeutic relationship in sandplay, and has presented at both national and international conferences. Linda has taught sandplay as well as contemporary relational theory in graduate and postgraduate settings and currently gives trainings in Depth Psychotherapy and Sandplay in San Francisco. She was core faculty in Sonoma State University’s Depth Psychology Graduate Program and adjunct faculty at California Institute of Integral Studies. She is in private practice in San Francisco and Marin.


Linda Elaine Bath, Ph.D, LMFT, CST-T and Lynne Ehlers, Ph.D, CST-T                          

Saturday March 17, 9:00-4:30 pm   6 CE credits

1003 Court St. Woodland, CA      Sacramento area

Join us for an immersive introduction to sandplay therapy, developed by Dora Kalff.  Learn the history and origins of sandplay that are based in Jungian theory, Lowenfeld’s World Technique of play therapy and Buddhist spirituality. The differences between sandplay and other forms of play therapy will be described, as will practical considerations in the creation and maintenance of a sandplay collection and the therapist’s role in sandplay therapy.  Using case material, we will discuss twenty ways to “read” a tray and examine a sandplay therapy case in depth, paying particular attention to Michael Fordham’s concept of Integration, De-integration and Re-Integration, and Donald Kalsched’s Protective Self-Care System and its healing through sandplay.   

Learning Objectives:  this workshop is designed to help you:

  1. Explain the history and origins of sandplay in Dora Kalff’s life: Lowenfeld’s play therapy “World Technique”, Jungian theory and Buddhist spirituality.
  2. Utilize Kalffian theory.
  3. Differentiate Kalffian sandplay from other uses of sandplay and figures, and the intersection between sandplay and play therapy.
  4. Plan for practical considerations: tray specifications; sand and water; create and maintain the collection; introduce sandplay to children and adults; take notes; photograph the tray; and review of trays with the client.
  5. Discuss 20 ways to read a sand tray, using case material.
  6. Analyze in depth a sandplay case study.  

Linda Elaine Bath, Ph.D, LMFT, CST-T, is a psychologist, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Teaching member of Sandplay Therapists of America and the International Society of Sandplay Therapy. Her practice is located in Woodland California. Dr. Bath is a founding member of STA and former board member and now teaches Sandplay in the USA, Canada and internationally.   Dr. Bath has published research on Sandplay and mindful practices.  

Lynne L. Ehlers, Ph.D., CST-T, is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in private practice with adults in Albany and San Francisco, California.  She is a Teaching Member) of Sandplay Therapists of America and the International Society for Sandplay Therapy. Dr. Ehlers has worked with sandplay since 1977, teaches sandplay and dream symbolism, presents at sandplay conferences nationally and internationally, and has published several articles in the Journal of Sandplay Therapy and other publications.


Olivia Heathcote, Ed.D, LMFT, CST-T

April 14, 2018 • 9:00 – 4:30 •  6 CE Credits

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 415 El Camino Real, Burlingame  

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. Sandplay helped the boy recover a sense of autonomy and embodiment through sandplay and clay.  An experiential activity using clay will help students appreciate the value of a physical modality in treating trauma in a play therapy session.

Learning objectives: this workshop is designed to help you:

  1. Summarize why sandplay can be effective in healing early trauma.
  2. Explain how a sandplay process supports a five-year old boy to recover a sense of autonomy.
  3. Describe how the boy used the symbol of the snake as Kundalini energy to gain a sense of indwelling spirit.
  4. Describe how the use of clay impacted his/her understanding of non-verbal methods in the play therapy session.
  5. Name three researchers who are resources in the field of trauma and the brain/body/psyche.
  6. Describe the concepts and contributions of Badenoch and Kalsched that support the use of sandplay with cases of trauma.

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.