Building P2, Yarramundi Lane
Western Sydney University, Hawkesbury Campus
Richmond, New South Wales
Opengate Institute and Sandtray Therapy Australia promote the development and practice standards of education and training in all the disciplines of the sand techniques, this includes Sandtray therapy, Jungian Sandplay therapy and Sandtray Play Work.
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.
Clarity of Thought
Sandtray Therapy is a person-centred, humanistic method that is cross-theoretical, evidence-informed and can be applied across the developmental lifespan. This method is sensory in nature as clients use the indoor sand trays, the sand and sandtray miniatures to tell their stories, verbally or non-verbally. These miniatures are the language, the sandtray the pages on which the sand world stories are told. 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, 2019).
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. Self-regulation is limbic regulation, set patterns can be modified through therapeutic practice with a well trained practitioner who applies their knowledge and experience. Often this connection allows the therapist to feel the emotions of their client, in this instance the client has felt the neuroception of safety of the therapeutic alliance.
Jungian Sandplay Therapy is based on the Kalffian and Jungian methodology of symbols and archetypes. Sandplay differs in that it considers the psyche of the individual as an autonomous movement towards individuation and healing. Jungian Sandplay therapists find great sources of meaning for the archetypal miniatures through mythological stories and deeper meanings. No interpretation is made to the client of their sand plays until after the process is completed and sufficient time has passed to allow for the integration of the work undergone (Turner, 2005).
Sandtray Play Work is aimed at children as a means of academic learning, emotional and social skills and regulation. Its roots are found in Sandtray Therapy, however SPW is specifically designed for the early learning and school setting. The educator, teacher or school counsellor works in collaboration to give the child a space using the sand tray and miniatures, to learn, regulate emotions and collaborate with peers to formulate their own unique stories. This wonderful method can bring a cohesive alliance into class rooms, enable educators/school counsellors to follow children as they express through SPW their untold stories.
Please note: This method is NOT intended to replace any therapy, it is a learning tool firstly
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.
CEO of Opengate Institute, Fiona was responsible for the development and accreditation of the Qualification in Sandtray Therapy (level 8, ASQA accredited). Fiona is the therapist in residence at Opengate Institute, she is a registered Counsellor, practicing Sandtray Therapist and a training Jungian International Sandplay practitioner. Fiona works with a diverse range of clients including disabilities, (NDIS provider) children, adults, couples and families.
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.
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
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.
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.
Contact us for more information and dates
Don't miss the opportunity to become a part of the growing Sandtray movement, whether you are working with children or adults you can make a real difference! Call now to find out more.