Narrative Sand Therapy Certificate Program

Level I

A Live Course with Dr. Dee Preston-Dillon*

A Practical Foundation for Depth, Ethics and Process

Most approaches to sand acknowledge the power of this non-verbal expression, especially for clients who are impacted by grief and trauma. In Level I we examine how to facilitate the use symbols with metaphors, discern our purpose for use of different theories, and carefully amplify projections from client and clinician. We maintain a safe space, become an active empowering witness to attend client stories, especially those experiences which are too painful or too conflicted to explain directly in words. Appropriate for clients across the lifespan, stories unfold respecting client readiness, and at the level of depth with which the client can cope and with which the clinician can facilitate and protect.

The Sand Therapy certificate program is grounded in: client safety; therapist knowledge and skills to bring depth to work with symbols in sand; a process that validates clients and their sand scenes; emphasis on the relevance of culture; access to symbols; client perceptions; and therapist presuppositions and disposition toward metaphor and symbol work.

*All in-studio workshops are facilitated by Dr. Preston-Dillon in Brandywine, MD.

What You Will Learn

This certificate program prepares clinicians to witness, resonate with and respond to clients and their sand scenes. Our goal is effective implementation of an empowering process. To maintain integrity of the training an emphasis is on participant engagement, a parallel with the experience of immersion when face-to-face is realistic. Each course and case consultation will feature facets of clinical use of symbols, metaphors, individualized guidance, feedback and support for competent use of Sand Therapy.

During each workshop an experiential activity will anchor the therapist’s personal experience with symbols and metaphor. A specific prompt will be offered to explore with clients between workshop sessions. Participant questions begin each workshop to explore your experience with the prompt.

Every session will present theory, the relevance of culture, case material, specific and immediately applicable suggestions for clinical practice, as well as ethics.

1st Workshop Sep 17, 10am-3:30pm (EST)*

Defining Competency: Theory, Ethics, and the Role of the Therapist in Sand Therapy

  • Existential, Rogerian, Developmental, Analytic core ideas

*Virtual workshop on Sep 18, 10am-4pm (EST)

2nd Workshop Oct 15, 10am-3:30pm (EST)*

Respectful Understanding of Symbols in Sand: Metaphor, Amplification, Narrative, Active Imagination

*Virtual workshop on Oct 16, 10am-4pm (EST)

3rd Workshop Nov 19, 10am-3:30pm (EST)*

Resonating with Compassion: Trauma, Grief and Loss

  • Heightened attending, deep active listening, resonance, validation
*Virtual workshop on Nov 13, 10am-4pm (EST)

4th Workshop Dec 10, 10am-3:30pm (EST)*

Mindfully Responding: Integrating theory, facilitating process, reflective practice

*Virtual workshop on Dec 11, 10am-4pm (EST)

Case Consultations

Five 2-hour small group case consultations*:: Immersion in one’s own sand process with an experienced practitioner is an essential component of developing clinical competency

Dates: Sep 16, Oct 21, Nov 11, Dec 9, Jan 6 – All dates are Fridays and the time is from 8am to 10am

One 90-min private individual case consultation*:

To be scheduled on individual basis *All case consultations are virtual

What You Get



  • 35.5 Total hours of training
    4 – six-hour workshops–including specific prompts for immediate use with clients
    5 – two-hour small group case consultations
    1 – 90-min private individual case consultation
  • Handouts, selected articles and bibliography
  • 35.5 APT credit hours
  • Narrative Sand Therapy Level I Certificate

Complete Narrative Sand Therapy Level I Certificate Course $1,495

Course Requirements

• Advanced degree or equivalent is required

• Participants must attend all four workshops, five small group and the individual consultations in order to receive their certificate for Level I. If circumstances preclude attendance at a workshop, a certificate will be granted once all classes and consultations have been completed. There is no extra fee if you have to make the class at a future time to complete the program.

• An essential feature of the case consults is individualized feedback on a participant case presentation to enhance understanding of and responses to client sand scenes

Participants must submit a sand scene analysis at the completion of Level I before a certificate will be issued

Dr. Dee Preston-Dillon is the founder and director of The Sand Therapy Training Institute and the Center for Culture and Sandplay. A researcher and clinician educator for over 40 years, she is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Maryland, Global Campus, and has been an affiliate faculty for Johns Hopkins master’s counseling program, Loyola’s pastoral counseling, George Washington University’s Art Therapy program, and Argosy’s PsyD program. In addition to her extensive graduate-level teaching, Dr. Dee has presented at over 40 national and international conferences on the use of Sand Therapy. For two decades her focus has been on case consultation for clinics and individual clinicians who use symbols in sand.

In Sand Therapy . . .


Symbols, neurological experience & story merge to bridge images and meaning for healing
Sand Therapy engages our capacity to imagine, to represent, to give voice & connect,
We are witnessed, validated, empowered

As others resonate with our experience . . .

We Exist


Dee Preston-Dillon, M.A., Ph.D.