Professional Diploma in Sandtray Therapy and Symbolic Expression

IACP CPD approved for 84 CPD Points

This exciting, one-year, Diploma course will bring you deep into the world of projective play and the use of symbols as therapeutic agents with psychotherapy and counselling clients. You will engage in experiential sessions utilising sandtray therapy, spectrograms, and the use of symbols. The training is relevant for therapists working with adults, adolescents, and/or children. Making use of right-brain processes and accessing  implicit memories will deepen the therapy process and facilitate healing from unresolved issues that have their roots at any life stage.  Accessing a direct route to the unconscious bypasses defences and maintains a felt sense of safety by providing dramatic distance from disturbing thoughts and feelings. This allows the social engagement system to stay active and protects the client from being triggered into a hyper- or hypo-aroused state. Creative expression, with a therapist who communicates strong safety cues, allows the player to experience a neuroception of safety even when processing difficult experiences.

This is a blended learning course which makes the best use of the onsite training days for experiential learning, while facilitating your work/life balance by providing for a mixture of live online sessions, directed study tasks, and self-directed learning (including access to interactive learning opportunities for you to engage with at times to suit your own schedule. The experiential nature of this course will support your personal and professional development, and you will acquire knowledge, skills, and competence that will enhance your clinical practice.

The experiential nature of this course can be emotionally and psychologically challenging. Students will create a number of their own sandtrays during the course and will explore these with peers. There will also be an abundance of experiential learning activities to facilitate symbolic expressions and exploration.

IACP CPD approved for 84 CPD Points

Suitable Applicants

This training is suitable for trainee and qualified play therapists, counsellors, psychotherapists, expressive arts therapists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals working within the range of psychotherapeutic modalities with clients of all ages. Each student is expected to keep a reflective, creative, journal throughout the course. Photographs of experiential activities will be included, with a paragraph of reflection on the activity.

Course Leader

Emer Mc Donagh, SIAPTP, MIAPTP, MIAHIP, ECIP, is the leader for this course. She holds an MA in Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy and Play Therapy and a BA (HONS) in Applied Social Studies in Social Care. Emer is also Assistant MA Course Leader at CTC and is a fully accredited psychotherapist, supervisor and trainer with the European Association of Integrative Psychotherapy.

Course Schedule

Both Zoom Introductory and Orientation sessions take place from 7 – 8.30pm. Full day sessions take place from 10am – 5pm. There will be morning and afternoon tea/coffee breaks and a one hour lunch break. For onsite training days, students may eat their packed lunch in the Centre or may choose to go to the coffee shop in the local village.

There are 2 Assignments:

  1. Poster presentation

Each student will present a poster based on their use of sandtray with a client. Each poster will include anonymised details about the client, images of the tray, materials available, the process and a section making links to theory and exploring meaning making.

  1. Group Presentation

Peer groups will make an interactive creative presentation on an assigned topic related to working with a specific client group using sandtray therapy.

Venue: Children’s Therapy Centre (CTC),

Slievenagorta, Ballymore, Co Westmeath, N91 CC65

Provisional Course Dates 2024-2025

  • 11th December 2024 (Zoom)
  • 28th January 2025 (Zoom)
  • 27th & 28th February 2025 (F-F)
  • 29th & 30th March 2025 (F-F)
  • 10th April 2025 (Online)
  • 8th & 9th May 2025 (F-F)
  • 7th & 8th June 2025 (F-F)
  • 5th July 2025 (Online)
  • 28th August 2025 (F-F)
  • Self-directed learning and directed study tasks to suit individual learners.

All Face-to-Face sessions are held in CTC Centre in Ballymore, Co Westmeath.

It is important to attend all sessions. Please indicate any anticipated absences.


IACP Recognised for 84 CPD Points

Course Fee      €1700

This includes a starter sandtray kit (miniature tray, sand, 50+ symbols) and the course book: Homeyer, L. E. & Sweeney, D. S. (2022) Sandtray Therapy: A Practical Manual, 4th Ed. London & NY: Routledge

Please return completed application form, with €50 application fee (payable to Children’s Therapy Centre) to: Children’s Therapy Centre. Stewart House, Lonsdale Road, National Technology Park, Plassey, Co. Limerick, V94 KN70

Application Form(PDF)

Application Form Word Version (Please email requesting a copy of the Word version)

Further enquiries: email

Fee payments: email for details to make online payment of the €50 application fee. A non-refundable deposit of €300 (inclusive of  the application fee) will be required to confirm acceptance of a place on this course.

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