About – Opengate Institute

About

 

Opengate Institute and Sandtray Therapy Australia Promote the Development and Practice of Sandtray Therapy and Education.

We respect and support the diversity of approaches within the field. We provide a united training standard for current and emerging practitioners, to foster professional identity, support training and research, and ensure public accountability.

Our Values

Integrity

Honesty

Clarity of Thought

Self-awareness

Diversity

Empowerment

Unity

Sandtray Therapy is a person-centred, humanistic method that is cross-theoretical, evidence-based and can be applied across the lifespan and developmental stages. This method is experiential in nature as clients use the indoor sand trays, the sand and miniatures to tell their stories, verbally or non-verbally. This needs to be understood and respected by the therapist. Working with the unconscious in this manner, often means a verbal narrative does not have to be stated by the client.

The therapist tracks the story, or theme by following the sand worlds. It is here that the therapist must be educated in the power of silence, of sitting with their client in what neuroscience expresses as mirror neurons (Marco Iacoboni, Dan Siegal).

This Limbic resonance means synchronizing with one another in a way that has profound implications for personality and lifelong emotional health. A sand world filled with trauma, complexes and chaos, is reflected by the therapist. The importance of the role of the therapist as significant other cannot be underestimated.

To sit with another’s pain, you will need to be able to sit with your own demons, be aware of your shadow side and accepting of all that is, in order to accept that of another.

Self-regulation is limbic regulation, set patterns can be modified through therapeutic practice (limbic to limbic) experience which allows the therapist to feel the emotions of their client, the therapist must be ready to use empathy.

empathy noun em·​pa·​thy | \ ˈem-pə-thē  \ Definition of empathy 1: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner 2: the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it

OUR TRAINERS

Our trainers come from different orientations and have diverse life skills. Their passion, however, is what unites them. A passion for Sandtray Therapy and a united training program that adheres to ethical standards, guidelines and principles.

Fiona Werle

CEO of Opengate Institute, Fiona was responsible for the development and accreditation of the Qualification in Sandtray Therapy (ASQA accredited). Fiona is the therapist in residence at Opengate Institute, she is a registered Counsellor & psychotherapist, practicing Sandtray Therapist and a training Jungian International Sandplay practitioner. Fiona works with a diverse range of clients including disabilities and is NDIS registered.

Melissa Morgan

Owner of Healing Sands a therapeutic service that uses Sandplay therapy to support healing and growth for clients of all ages. Melissa has a background in teaching, she is a registered counsellor and works collaboratively with schools and other stakeholders. She specialises in children with complex trauma using Sandplay Therapy. Melissa is our Far North Coast trainer.

Cathie Cresswell

Owner of Artasiam private practice she specialises in art therapy, sand tray therapy and counselling psychotherapy working with people from all ages and specializing in children’s mental health and well-being. Her experience includes 12 years working in education and visual arts roles. She currently is also working in schools to bring her creative and expressive therapies to children. Cathie is our WA trainer

Judith Blundell

Retired Sandtray Therapist with over 30 years experience in skills and knowledge in the various techniques of Sandtray. Judy is available to students in the capacity of mentor and support as an advocate of Sandtray Therapy Australia.

Eunice Stagg

MA, MBACP (Senior Accredited), AST STR-Supervisor, Dip Theology. She is a Registered Sandplay Therapist and a Senior Accredited counsellor/Psychotherapist with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Eunice is a teaching member of, and serves on the council of The Association for Sandplay Therapy (AST) she has been an Associate Lecturer for both Canterbury Christchurch University in the UK and the National University of Ireland Galway.  She is an Accredited Play Therapist, Senior Supervisor and Senior Trainer for Play Therapy International (PTI) and has conducted Sandplay trainings in the USA, Africa, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Malaysia, Romania, Singapore and many countries throughout the world.

Conferences for 2019

Australian Counselling Associations International Conference

Fiona Werle will present a workshop on Sunday 29th August 2019

Sandtray Therapy as the Central Model of Counselling & Psychotherapy. In this 90-minute workshop we will explore felt senses using mindfulness techniques, mirror neurons, and create stories with metaphors using the Sandplay miniature figurines.

2019 World First Nations Early Childhood Conference

Fiona Werle will be presenting at this conference

The 2019 World First Nations Early Childhood Conference: Empowering Generations is envisaged to be the largest gathering of First Nations Elders, inter-generational experts, early childhood educators, teachers, researchers, paediatricians, child practitioners, psychologists and community-controlled early childhood education and care providers amongst others.

Australasia Pacific Play Therapy Association Conference

Fiona Werle will be presenting at this conference

Australasia Pacific Play Therapy Association Conference, APPTA conference in August 2019

  • Title: Alice in a Sand Tray Wonderland
  • Presentation Format: Hot Topic

Opengate Institute