Revised! Now online!

Sandplay - The Sacred Healing:

A Guide to Symbolic Process

Katie Amatruda, PsyD, MFT, CST-T, BCETS, STA & ISST  
Phoenix Helm Simpson, MFT, LMFT


© 2013, 2008, 2007 revision, © 1997 Trance*Sand*Dance Press and
Cover Image: Tree of Life by Katie Amatruda
All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted without permission of the publisher.


Now Online!

How does sandplay therapy heal and how do you do it?

How does it differ with children and adults?

How do you recognize and pass transference tests?

How do you follow symbolic process?

How is sandplay related to play therapy?

Sandplay : The Sacred Healing, A Guide to Symbolic Process

a self–study course on sandplay therapy by Kate Amatruda and Phoenix Helm Simpson. A lot can change in 10 years and many things have, but the fundamental structure and foundation of sandplay therapy remains. Much of our original works remains the same work with a few edits, additions and newly added Internet links. These links provide the gift of enhancing our original materials and giving you a wealth of additional resources and information. Continuing with the garden as our teaching metaphor, our well established garden has been planted with new bursts of colors, shapes and tables. We trust you will enjoy the journey and we forever appreciate your support.
All the best,
Kate and Phoenix


"The authors give us nourishment for our minds, our hearts, and our souls....The book is for both the neophyte and the experienced therapist. It is a worthy contribution to the sandplay literature."
Kay Bradway, Ph.D.


Includes: *Photographs of sandtrays by children and adults

*Developmental norms

*Defense mechanisms


*Elements and Chakras

*The Medicine Wheel

A course meeting the qualifications for 
hours of continuing education credits 

is approved by the:

CA BBS - California Board of Behavioral Science accepts our CE Provider Approvals through APA, NASW, and NBCC. Course meets the qualifications for hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Science
Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, Mental Health Counseling (BAP 753 )
ISST/STA - International Society for Sandplay Therapy/Sandplay Therapists of America
NAADAC - The Association for Addiction Professionals (#575)
NBCC - National Board for Certified Counselors - has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6055. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. (ACEP #6055)
Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors (#1761)
The Texas Board of Social Work Examiners (#6246)
maintains responsibility for the program.



Learning Objectives

The Therapist will be able to:

  1. identify the concepts of sandplay and play therapy and the concept of following symbolic process in order to access unconscious content.
  2. know the difference between sandplay therapy and play therapy; and between how children and adults use sandplay and play therapy.
  3. understand the importance of a therapist doing his/her own depth process to be able to be more present for the client's process.
  4. understand the possibilities of ascertaining diagnosis and prognosis from the initial sandtray and play therapy session.
  5. understand how developmental levels are portrayed in sandplay and play therapy.
  6. understand and choose between different treatment options based upon the client; and know when sandplay and play therapy are contraindicated.
  7. know how to compassionately witness a depth process, and create the 'free and protected' place necessary for sandplay and play therapy.


how it works

Due to the wonders of technology, the minute you submit your order over our secure line, it is encrypted, and processed safely and securely by, a secure web processor. Or, if you prefer, call us toll-free 888-777-3773.

You will immediately receive confirmation of your order, your password and how to access the course material. (Please do not block e-mails from, and

If you ordered an online course, you can begin to take the course immediately.

You will receive instructions, via e-mail, on how to take your test online.

Contact us or call if you need technical support.

Your test will be graded online, so the moment you have passed, you may print out your certificate of completion.

That's it! You are done!


$125/Course (includes ebook , post-test, and credit)

$20 ebook only

Katie Amatruda, PsyD, MFT, CST-T, BCETS, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, a Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress, and a teaching member of the International Society for Sandplay Therapy. She has lectured internationally and teaches in the Extended Education departments at U.C. Berkeley and Sonoma State University. She is the author of A Field Guide to Disaster Mental Health: Providing Psychological First Aid,  HIV: The Storm, Psyche & Soma, Trauma, Terror and Treatment, and Painted Ponies: Bipolar Disorder in Children, Adolescents and Adults. Her work with children with cancer is featured in the video Sandplay Therapy and the Liminal World. She practices in Northern California.

Phoenix Helm Simpson, MFT, LMFT has practiced as a licensed clinician since 1982. She has worked both privately and in community settings in New Mexico and California. She currently writes and compiles courses for and exhibits her art at The core of her work in art and psychology is the nature and experience of transformation and change. She and Kate are the co-authors of Sandplay, The Sacred Healing: A Guide to Symbolic Process, The Safe Harbor Series, and Reweaving the Web: The Treatment of Substance Abuse.


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© 2024. all rights reserved


APA Ethics

We do adhere to the American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles of Psychologists. Our courses are carefully screened by the Planning Committee to adhere to APA standards. We also require authors who compose Internet courses specifically for us follow APA ethical standards.

Many of our courses contain case material, and may use the methods of qualitative research and analysis, in-depth interviews and ethnographic studies. The psychotherapeutic techniques depicted may include play therapy, sandplay therapy, dream analysis, drawing analysis, client and therapist self-report, etc. The materials presented may be considered non-traditional and may be controversial, and may not have widespread endorsement within the profession. maintains responsibility for the program and its content.