Opengate Institute – Accredited Specialist Training in Sandtray Therapy

Welcome to Opengate Institute
  Leading Training Centre and Advocates for Integrative Sand Therapy in Australia

We are the leading provider of training, supervision, ongoing professional development and support in Sandtray Therapy in Australia. 

Opengate Institute has developed specialist training courses, personal development and other workshops. Our current members represent counselling, psychotherapy, education, social work, psychology, Indigenous health, youth work and disabilities. We support graduates currently working in their areas of expertise, including research, professional practice, teaching, disabilities, family systems, children and other allied health professionals.

Our specialist training program helps students to explore all forms of sand therapies as expressive therapies to integrate into their Sandtray Therapy Practice. Expressive therapy needs to be experienced in an experiential way, so our training is blended which means you get to have a hands-on experience with the sand and the sandtray miniatures; feeling, exploring and expressing your own felt sense through your sand worlds telling your implicit stories. Training is enhanced by online assessments giving you a variety of techniques in which to reflect on learning.

If you are feeling like your practice could benefit with some expressive therapy to enhance work with your clients, then Sandtray Therapy is the evidence-informed training to broaden your skills.

Helping Your Clients to Heal with Integrative Sand Therapy from the Inside Out!

Sandtray as an Expressive Therapy

Sand play is an expressive therapy and is used within the context of psychotherapy & counselling. When two or more expressive therapies are utilised within the context of treatment, it is sometimes called an “integrative” approach (Malchiodi, 2005). Opengate Institute has developed an Integrative Sand Therapy 18 week course as a Specialist Sandtray Practitioner Training. Based on the work of Margaret Lowenfeld the developer of The World Technique and Sandplay therapy originally developed by Dora Kalff, who integrated Jungian psychology and Buddhist philosophy into her work. We have integrated the Sand Therapies tapping into a rich history of over 75 years of clinical application by therapists from around the world. It is considered one of the most potent yet safe methods, and has been found to be effective in working with a wide range of issues, from existential inner conflicts to PTSD and trauma.

Symbol Work and Integrative Sand Therapy

Make sense of your story through symbols and archetypes, which we call sandtray miniatures in Integrative Sand Therapy

In the past decade, thanks to advancement in neuroscience, psychology has unearthed much about the ability for the brain to change, called neuroplasticity, right-left brain integration and the mind-body connection. Evidence informed therapies involving multiple level of perception – visual, kinaesthetic, sensory – can be extremely powerful, and can move therapy along by tapping into places where talk therapy cannot. Integrative Sand Therapies can aid in the facilitation process and can be used alongside other modalities.

Integrative Sand therapy can be used for children from the age of 3, youth, adults, couples, families and groups.

Our training is the most comprehensive in Australia and covers attachment and developmental stages of the lifespan and includes case study material, live demonstrations and resources. Our modules have been developed so that you can complete the whole training or complete the modules you need. For example as our industry grows we will need accredited integrative sand therapy supervisors. Our module 6 Sandtray Therapy Work within a Clinical Supervision can be done as a stand alone module and give you the skills and recognition towards becoming an accredited Integrative Sand Therapy Supervisor.


We welcome emerging and current students to join us to build our industry. You can become an advocate by joining our industry committee, we have positions available for volunteer members and welcome new insights and collaboration. Contact us for further information.

Specialist Sandtray Practitioner

Register for our upcoming blended training in 2020 Specialist Integrative Sand Therapy Practitioner Training.
Full time 18 weeks blended learning of 6 x modules with 20 hours work placement.

Learning Objectives include practical application (so you get to experience the sand) role plays, techniques working across the life span, awareness of metaphors as a sand language, importance of the role of therapist, supervision, group work, strategies, cultural sensitivity and cross theoretical application. Learning Outcomes include;

1. Define Integrative Sand therapies and applications  

2. Conducting Integrative Sand therapy sessions 

3. Apply client support & well-being including code of ethics & practice standards 

4. Understand the therapist’s own needs 

5. Evaluate Sandtray therapy sessions 

6. Plan & Facilitate group sessions 

7. Understanding how to use integrative sand therapies for supervision

  • this course has Entry Requirements
  • Request a Student Handbook

Training for Teachers, Educators and School Counsellors

Sandtray Play Work 
For Proficient Teachers Completing this course will contribute 6 hours per course total 18 hours 3 X courses of NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered PD addressing 1.1.2, 1.2.2, 6/2/2 standard descriptors from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.

Course 1 – What is Sandtray Play Work and How can I use it for learning and development?

Course 2 – Implementing Sandtray Play Work for Learning and Development using STEM

Course 3 – Sandtray Play Work as an assessment tool for learning and development

Teacher Outcomes

Teachers/Educators or School Counsellors will experience the role of student and undertake their own experience of STPW to understand the principles that underpin this method including theories of personality and development and assessment strategies. Teachers will be given strategies to help improve student learning and outcomes and have access to peer support to develop creative thinking using STPW.

We are able to run this course in your area, school or early learning setting and we can develop specific learning material to suit your needs such as working with disabilities, working with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders, working with non English speaking refugee children,
Contact Fiona Werle for further information or to discuss your specific needs 0412 534 690

Sand Therapy Supervisor Training

Supervisor Training available for Integrative Sand Therapists wanting to take on the role of supervisor

You must complete Module 5 - Sandtray Therapy Work within a Clinical Supervision, plus have at least 5 years experience in clinical work with integrative sand therapy and be a current member of an association. 

This module is a part of the Sandtray Therapy Practitioner Training Package and can be completed as a standalone module for those wanting to attain supervision accreditation working in integrative sand therapies. the learning is blended with all assessments online and 2 day class based training.

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