For further Information or Appointments: 01792 720477

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Sandtray Training

Kirsty Bilski, Director of Way Forward Counselling Services,  has used sandtray as a psychotherapeutic tool in therapy sessions and supervision throughout her career. She originally trained with Ken Rabone at the Iron Mill Institute in Exeter (Now Iron Mill College), and has gained an extensive knowledge and understanding of this approach as well as awareness of underpinning theory. She has written academically about the efficacy of sandtray in therapy as well as its use in Supervision. Kirsty has also completed research surrounding the different theoretical models of supervision and how they might be applied to working with sandtray in a supervisory context. Kirsty is also currently working on a PhD research project involving the use of sand with adolescent clients.

Broadly speaking there are two main theoretical strands to working with a sandtray, one originating from the early work of Margaret Lowenfeld, the other from the later work of Dora Kallf. The approach associated with its earlier use tends to be (not exclusively so) known as 'Sandtray Therapy', the later approach is known as 'Sandplay Therapy' being more associated with a Jungian Analytical approach.

Many counsellors and allied professionals will attempt to use sandtray with very little knowledge for the potential of this approach. It does enable access to deep awareness from the unconscious, the process therefore demands respect and must be used wisely, carefully, mindfully and gently. Training is essential. These courses offer a starting point for integrative therapists and have a clear focus on teaching ethical safe practice. Counsellors and psychotherapists, as well as supervisors, will learn how to use this approach safely whilst also experiencing what it feels like to be the client and the supervisee. There is a strong emphasis on experiential learning.

There are a range of CPD days offered which are an opportunity to continue practicing with peers and to learn new skills. These days are offered on an ongoing basis for those who have previously attended training and wish to continue learning.


Dates of Forthcoming Courses


4 Day Course ~ Using Sandtray in Counselling & Psychotherapy ~ October 24th - October 27th 2017 ~ £480 per person

October 2017 Booking form Pdf. (Download, complete and email to kirsty.wayforward@gmail.com)


2 Day Course ~ Using Sandtray in Supervision ~ 16th & 17th November 2017 ~ £240 per person

November 2017 Booking form Pdf. (Download, complete and email to kirsty.wayforward@gmail.com)


4 Day Course ~ Using Sandtray in Counselling & Psychotherapy ~ February 6th - February 9th 2018 ~ £480 per person

February 2018 Booking form Pdf. (Download, complete and email to kirsty.wayforward@gmail.com)


4 Day Course ~ Using Sandtray in Counselling & Psychotherapy ~ April 10th - April 13th 2018 ~ £480 per person

April 2018 Booking form Pdf. (Download, complete and email to kirsty.wayforward@gmail.com)


1 Day ~ Sandtray CPD Workshop ~ Friday 3rd November 2017 ~ £80 per person

November  2017 CPD Booking form Pdf. (Download, complete and email to kirsty.wayforward@gmail.com)


1 Day ~ Sandtray CPD Workshop ~ Friday 23rd February 2018 ~ £80 per person

February 2018 CPD Booking form Pdf. (Download, complete and email to kirsty.wayforward@gmail.com)


1 Day ~ Sandtray CPD Workshop ~ Friday 1st June 2018 ~ £80 per person

June 2018 CPD Booking form Pdf. (Download, complete and email to kirsty.wayforward@gmail.com)


Venue & Fees

Training is delivered at Swan House Business Centre, 146-147 St Helen's Road, Swansea SA1 4DE (www.wayforwardcounselling.com)

Each training day costs £120 per person per day (including light lunch and refreshments)

CPD Days cost £80 per person per day

A CPD certificate will be provided on completion of each training day.

Payment of fees

4 Day Courses: £50 Non-refundable deposit with the balance to be paid at least 1 week before training starts

2 Day Courses: £40 Non-refundable deposit with the balance to be paid at least 1 week before training starts

1 Day CPD: £80 to be paid in full at the time of booking - refundable if more than 48 hours notice of cancellation given.

For further information please contact Kirsty Bilski on 07971 264251 or email kirsty.wayforward@gmail.com


Course Overviews

All courses run between 9.30am and 4.30pm with 2 x 15 minute breaks and an hour lunch break (Breaks are negotiable). Lunch and refreshments are provided although there are various shops available within walking distance of the office. We aim to meet a variety of dietary needs but make sure you put these on your booking form so we can plan ahead for you. You can organise to attend as an individual or if you have a group of between 3 & 8 people, and would like to attend together, then Kirsty can organise training dates especially for your group.

Places on each planned course are limited so early booking is essential.


4 Day Course: Using Sandtray in Counselling & Psychotherapy 

Available to all practitioners who want to use sandtray safely, whether you currently work with adults or children and young people. This course will provide you with a background understanding of the theory behind the approach as well as the practical skills to get started. You will learn how to begin using sandtray as a part of your current practice and build experience through experiential practice with other members on the course. Sandtray is a powerful tool and there is a requirement that attendees recognise they may be emotionally stimulated by the content in sandtrays, by aspects shared by others and by their own process. 

The course builds over the 4 days, layering theory and experiential practice. Beginning with the foundations  and building into a professional integrative framework through which most theoretical stances can be applied. Margaret Lowenfeld (1979) suggests that sandtray is a 'tool' that can be used from multiple theoretical stances; throughout Kirsty will highlight and demonstrate how a variety of models can be successfully applied. Central to this course are the concepts of ethical, safe and mindful practice. 

You will learn how to make use of sand alone and then using miniatures to place in the sand. The sand is often forgotten and counsellors will immediately focus on the miniatures and yet there is a wealth of insight available in the sand alone. Understanding symbols, projection and representation. You will also make a miniature/s of your choice and learn how this process can help clients shape the process specifically for their needs.

More complex theoretical concepts will be explored in the later stages including change theories, transference, countertransference and cotransference along with projective identification. How these processes apply to sandtray and working with an awareness of the whole self in relationship with the other.

How to empathically 'hold' the process, containment and the relevance of interpretation. Mindfulness is used throughout and you will experience the depth of connection which can be achieved through the use of sand. The course culminates in exploring group sandtray process, theory and experiential practice. The course is only open to qualified counsellors and psychotherapists due to the depth of the experiential work. If you are part of a group of unqualified counsellors then Kirsty would be able to arrange a separate training speifically for your group. Therefore this course will undoubtedly have a therapeutic impact although the main focus is to learn how to use sandtray appropriately. However, in order to understand an intervention and use it effectively with clients, it is vital for counsellors to understand how it feels to be 'the client'. On completion you will receive a CPD certificate of attendance and you will be welcome to return to regular CPD events for further practice and learning.


2 Day: Using Sandtray in Supervision 

This course builds on the 4 Day Course, it is for supervisors who wish to work safely with sandtray in a supervisory capacity. This is for established supervisors who have received previous supervision training. The sandtray approach refers specifically aware of the 7 Eyed Model (Hawkins & Shohet 2012), along with other supervision theory. It is helpful for attendees to have attended the previous  training although, where you already have a working knowledge of sandtray then this may be waived on a case by case basis. The course considers exploring case presentation in a sandtray, thinking about safeguarding and protection issues as well as ethical and safe practice. Awareness of the significant differences between using a sandtray therapeutically and in a supervision capacity will also be explored. Many supervisors will believe they have the skills to use sandtray without additional training, however research suggests that the process has some significant differences between how it is used in therapy and how the process may be contained safely in supervision. It will enable your supervisees to explore their practice at significant depth, to gain more insight from their supervision and for the process to be held safely. If you would like to attend individually for some sandtray supervision instruction, please feel free to contact kirsty directly and this can be arranged. This can be achieved on a one to one basis.


1 Day: CPD Workshops

These workshop days are run on the Friday of each school half term. They offer the opportunity for counsellors and psycotherapists who have been through the training to come back and practice their new skills. They will focus on a specific theme which will be different each time, making it possible to keep returning to practice skills with your peers whilst also acquiring new knowledge - Themes may include aspects such as change, autonomy, mindfulness, spirituality, specific theoretical approaches or the importance of storymaking for instance. Current research and literature will be shared and explored. An opportunity to connect with others who are enthusiastic about sandtray and to continue your development together. There will be an emphasis on learning from each other and the experiential process will continue.