SandStory Therapy®: Chapter 1 - Dorset

Welcome to SandStory Therapy® with Time for You...

What is SandStory Therapy®?

SandStory Therapy® is a creative arts therapy using sand and symbols within the safe containment of the sand tray to help clients tell their 'story in the sand'.

SandStory Therapy® draws upon the traditions of meaning-making through narratives and story-telling and combines both Sandplay and Sandtray Therapies. SandStory Therapy® safely and gently bridges unconscious and conscious processes at the client's pace to facilitate insight, growth and healing.

Pay in full or contact me to agree a payment plan on

Is SandStory Therapy® for you?

The training is suitable for qualified Creative Arts Therapists (Play, Art, Music & Drama Therapists) and Counsellors working with children aged 8-years+, young people and adults. Whether you are new to using sand therapeutically with clients or are looking to develop additional skills in using sand and symbols in your practice - SandStory Therapy® training is for you!

As a two-day experiential training, SandStory Therapy® training assumes solid clinical skills and self-awareness, and therefore is best suited to those who are already qualified, or those who are reaching the end of their therapeutic studies.

SandStory Therapy® training in Dorset is limited to a group of 4 participants and learning will involve a mixture of presentation, experiential exercises, reflection and discussion. SandStory Therapy® training is accredited by the International SandStory Association [ISA] . Upon completion you will receive a certificate evidencing 14 CPD hours, a personalised logo with the title 'Registered SandStory Therapist' and listing on the ISA register of SandStory Therapists.

  • I would recommend this training to every one who wants to gain more knowledge about working therapeutically with the sand . It's a great opportunity to spend a few days away with other great therapists, share knowledge, experience, skills and have fun! I am so glad I have had an opportunity to meet Claire in person! Great host and great training. Thank you!

    — Anita Bogdanska from Anita Play Therapy

When can I attend SandStory Therapy® training?

SandStory Therapy® training will be delivered in Godmanstone, a peaceful village location just 5 miles from Dorchester, Dorset from August 2020 (subject to government social distancing measures!)

The next training dates are:

Monday/Tuesday 26th & 27th July 2021

    Further dates to be add soon so watch this space! SandStory Therapy® training can also come to you in the UK or alternatively if you work for an organisation and would like in-house training, or have a group of colleagues you would like to do the training with please do contact me to discuss you requirements at 

    **Due to the current Covid-19 social distancing measures courses may have to be postponed. Any postponements will be confirmed as soon as is reasonably possible in line with Government advice. If you are booked onto a course that is subsequently postponed due to Covid-19 you will have the choice of booking onto another date or receiving a refund. If courses go ahead and you cancel the normal cancellation policy will apply (see FAQs below). 

    • The training space was perfect – no interruptions and all facilities close to hand. I felt safe and contained and really appreciated having an experiential training course in the midst of the Covid- 19 pandemic.

      — Tracey Lincoln, Play Therapist

    Church Lane, Godmanstone

    Godmanstone Village Hall (renovated in 2009)

    Holy Trinity Church

    The River Cerne

    Come & get your hands in the sand!
    Download your application form after enrolling or email to enrol & agree a payment plan on

    How much does SandStory Therapy® training cost?

    SandStory Therapy® training in Dorset costs £300 per person. Payment can be made in full or as a payment plan. If you would like to pay gradually please email me to agree a payment plan on

    SandStory Therapy® training can also come to you. Pricing per person on application - do get in touch with no obligation on

    • It was a wonderful two days with Claire’s support and lots of experiential practices which make it easier to understand SandStory Therapy. If you are interested in creative therapies I would definitely recommend this training!

      — Asli Akman, MSc Psychological Therapies

    Interested in SandStory Therapy® training? Before you apply...

    Working therapeutically with sand naturally gives expression to unconscious material, therefore training is essential and requires a high level of safety and therapist integrity. 

    Before you apply please note the following:

    1. SandStory Therapy® training will focus upon developing skills to use this therapeutic medium safely and ethically with the best interests of the client at the heart of the work;
    2. SandStory Therapy® training will involve a high level of experiential learning which may activate participants’ unconscious and trigger ongoing material. Personal process and emotional expression are welcome, but participants are encouraged to hold themselves safely and appropriately within the containment of the group - whilst remembering this is a training group, not a therapy group;
    3. SandStory Therapy® training will expect that, as a therapist or counsellor, you are attending regular clinical supervision at a minimum ratio as set out by your governing body. Using SandStory Therapy® in your client work should be able to be discussed within your normal supervision sessions. However, if you wish to discuss your SandStory Therapy® practice with Claire, she would be happy to support you;
    4. SandStory Therapy® training will qualify you with the title 'Registered SandStory Therapist' upon satisfactory completion of the 2-day training AND two short written assignments that evidence a thorough understanding of SandStory Therapy® and your ability to practice safely and ethically. 

    For more information or an application form please do email me

    For Cancellation Policy please see below in FAQs

    • I have seen and read about the use of sand in the therapy room it was great to learn more and experience using it as a counsellor and a client in a safe and confidential place. Thankyou Claire

      — Sandra Scott, Counsellor

    Book your place today!
    Then download an application form or email me to agree a payment plan on

    How is SandStory Therapy® training delivered safely during Covid-19?

    It is understandably an uncertain time as we continue to take measures to stay safe and prevent the spread of Covid-19. SandStory Therapy® training takes the health and safety of participants, and venue staff, very seriously. As such, a Covid-19 Risk Assessment has been completed in line with government guidelines and in agreement with the venue. 

    This Risk Assessment is reviewed prior to each training date and as Government guidelines change. The Risk Assessment is available to all participants prior to attending and on request if this would help support you in your decision making to attend.

    Health and Safety measures include:

    • Small group training - compliant with the 'Rule of Six'
    • Individual sand trays & symbol sets
    • Socially distanced work spaces
    • Extra hand sanitising/surface cleaning
    • Individually wrapped snacks & nibbles
    • NHS Test, Track and Trace consent

    Who created SandStory Therapy®?

    SandStory Therapy® was created by Lara Kasza, an Accredited Creative Arts Therapist, Senior Clinical Supervisor and experienced University Lecturer and Trainer. 

    Lara completed further specialist training as a Registered Sandplay Therapist and studied both Sandtray Therapy and Storytelling before combining these therapeutic elements to create SandStory.

    Lara has created additional training using SandStory including an advanced level 2 training, SandStory in Supervision and, for non-therapists, SandStory Skills® offering a lighter touch to using SandStory for those in supporting roles.  

    Who will be delivering this SandStory Therapy® training?

    Hello I am Claire O'Brien, an Accredited Play and Creative Arts Therapist, Registered SandStory Therapist, Certified SandStory Trainer and Creative Clinical Supervisor. I have my own business - Time for You, I work for Mosaic a child bereavement charity, and I am an approved provider of adoption therapies with my Local Authority, Aspire Adoption.

    I have experience delivering training to prospective adopters, CPD to fellow therapists and guest lecturing to undergraduate students.

    I am proud to have been the first Registered SandStory Therapist after completing Lara's very first training in 2018. I am now delighted to be able to offer SandStory Therapy® training having been trained by Lara Kasza - the queen of SandStory!

    Are you ready to start you SandStory journey? 
    Enrol & download an application form or email me to agree a payment plan

    SandStory Therapy® training content...

    Day One

    1. Welcome

    2. Connecting with Symbols

    3. The Origins of SandStory Therapy®

    4. Connecting with Sand

    5. What is SandStory Therapy®? 

    6. Experiential Practice

    7. Similarities & Differences in Sand Therapies

    8. The Five Elements of SandStory Therapy®

    9. Paperwork, Endings & Supervision

    10. Check Out

    Day Two

    1. Check In

    2. Brief History of Storytelling

    3. Storytelling in the Sand

    4. Experiential Practice

    5. Storytelling & Narrative Structures

    6. Experiential Practice

    7. The Five Stages of SandStory Therapy® 

    8. Experiential Practice

    9. SandStory Therapy® Clients

    10. Group Close & Check Out

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the cost of the training?

    The two-day training costs a total of £300 per person.

    Payment can be made in full or by instalments - email me to agree a payment plan to suit you

    Please note full payment needs to be received prior to attending the training.

    Where is the training delivered?

    The training is delivered in the rural West Dorset village of Godmanstone in the Cerne Valley, just 5 miles north of Dorchester and 14 miles south of Sherborne.

    Godmanstone Village Hall offers a peaceful, retreat-like location in which to immerse yourself in this experiential therapy training. Nearby are a Grade I listed church which is open each day, and a riverside walk.

    The full address is Godmanstone Village Hall, Church Lane, Godmanstone, Dorset, DT2 7AQ. Off street parking is available outside the village hall.

    What are the timings for training days?

    The training runs from 9.30am to 5pm on both days. As each training group is unique exact timings may be subject to change and, depending upon having got through the training material we may be able to finish a little earlier on Day Two to get ahead of the traffic!

    What happens about refreshments and lunch?

    Tea, coffee, squash and plenty of nibbles will be provided to keep you going throughout the day.

    Please bring a packed lunch - there are kitchen facilities available for use and a fridge if you want to double up and bring for both days on Day One.

    Alternatively there is a small cafe and health food shop 1/2 a mile from the Village Hall (along a country lane, without pavement!). Feed The Soul is an organic plant-based cafe open Tuesdays to Saturdays serving soups, salads, drinks and cakes - to eat in or takeaway

    Do I need to bring anything with me?

    The only things you need to bring are a camera (your phone camera is fine), your lunch and a willingness to get your hands in the sand! Everything else will be provided...including a workbook and pen.

    You are welcome to bring anything else that would help you feel comfortable during the training whether it's a squishy cushion, comfy slippers or favourite snacks.

    Can you accommodate my individual needs?

    Please do contact me in confidence, if there is anything you feel is important for me to know in order to support you in accessing SandStory Therapy® training - whether a specific learning need, disability, health issue or personal circumstances.

    Just drop me an email at

    How do I become a Registered SandStory Therapist?

    You will be crowned a Registered SandStory Therapist upon satisfactory completion of the 2-day training AND two short written assignments that evidence a thorough understanding of SandStory Therapy® and your ability to practice safely and ethically.

    Full details and guidance on completing these reflective assignments will be given during the training.

    Upon successful completion of all aspects of the training, you will receive your CPD certificate, your own copy of your Registered SandStory Therapy logo including your name for your personal use, and you will be listed on the Register of SandStory Therapists with the International SandStory Association (

    Is the training CPD accredited?

    Yes, SandStory Therapy® training is accredited by the International SandStory Association and upon completion you will receive a CPD certificate and 14 CPD hours.

    Is there anything else included in the training?

    You will receive a SandStory Therapy® workbook and a pen at the start of the training which will support you through both training days. The workbook is yours to doodle, take notes and record your own reflections on the experiential and training processes.

    There will be time during the training to create your own symbols to take away with you and ideas to inspire further symbol making for your SandStory Therapy® kit.

    You are also welcome to purchase sand symbols from my small treasure box of symbols to start, or add to, your collection.

    It is hoped the retreat-like environment, small group size and experiential nature of SandStory Therapy® training offers more than simply new therapeutic skills, but also an opportunity to meet like-minded therapists, and have the time and space to begin to explore and reflect upon your own story in the sand.

    What if I have to cancel attending the training?

    I understand sometimes life gets in the way and we have to change plans. My cancellation policy is written in accordance with the Consumer Contracts Regulation 2013, and is set out below - any questions please do email me:

    • Full payment (£300) needs to be made a minimum 2 weeks before the training, whether in full or by instalments.
    • Any cancellation must be received in writing (email)
    • A £50 non-refundable admin fee will apply for all non- attendance.
    • Alternative training dates will be offered subject to availability. If the offered dates are not possible for participants to attend and Claire is unable to find a replacement participant, the following cancellation charges will apply:
      • [a] 2 weeks before the course: 50% of the fee;
      • [b] less than 2 weeks before the course: 100% of the fee;
      • [c] within 24 hours before the course starts (in cases of personal or family illness or other emergency) reasonable arrangements will be made for the participant to transfer to another course date. If this is not possible for the participant, a refund (minus the £50 admin fee) will be made subject to satisfactory medical evidence.
    • Should a participant withdraw from a course once the training has commenced there will be no refund.
    • Refunds will be made using the same method of payment as used for purchase within 14 days of the cancellation.

    • Should the training be cancelled by Claire a full refund will be available if the proposed replacement dates are not suitable.

    How do I get to the training venue?

    Due to its rural location the training venue is best reached via car/taxi. Godmanstone is on the A352, 5 miles north of Dorchester and 14 miles south of Sherborne.

    The county town of Dorchester has two railway stations, Dorchester South (South Western Main Line) and Dorchester West (Great Western Railway) - both stations are approximately a 10 minute drive to Godmanstone.

    Both stations in Dorchester are small, therefore it would be advisable to pre-book a taxi if needed. Local taxi firms include: A-line Taxis 01305 264 747; Dorchester Taxis 01305 251 097; Dorset Cars 01305 250 666

    Godmanstone Village Hall address is Church Lane, Godmanstone, Dorset, DT2 7AQ.

    I will send detailed instructions of how to find the village hall once booking is made as needed, and my contact details on the day for if you have any difficulties or delays.

    Is there any accommodation and places to eat an evening meal nearby?

    The county town of Dorchester has a range of accommodation, shops and eateries. Within walking distance of the centre of Dorchester, the Brewery Square development (0.1 mile from Dorchester South & 0.5 miles from Dorchester West Stations) has a Premier Inn and a variety of places to eat such as Pizza Express, Zizzi, Wagamama, Nandos and Cote Brasserie. Parking is available on site and close by at £4 a day/night.

    If you have a car you will find various accommodation on AirBnB and country inns with rooms and pub food in the surrounding villages such as Cerne Abbas (3 miles), Charminster (3 miles), Piddletrentide (7.5 miles) and Maiden Newton (8 miles).

    N.B. In light of the current Covid 19 pandemic please do check availability of accommodation and places to eat - many of the village pubs whilst not fully open have been offering takeaway meals on certain days but these often need to be pre-ordered (see individual business' websites and/or Facebook pages for more information)

    Is there any follow-up support available once using SandStory Therapy® in my practice?

    Currently in the planning are a monthly SandStory Therapy® Reflective Practice group to be held in the Dorchester area for those who have completed the SandStory Therapy® training (for a pay as you go fee).

    If this is something you may be interested in, do complete the section on the application/evaluation forms or email me to be kept up to date on the development of SandStory Reflective Practice groups.

    I can't get to Dorset for training, can SandStory Therapy® come to me?

    Yes, if you are interested in having SandStory Therapy®: Chapter 1 training can come to you in the UK please get in touch on - whether you have a group of colleagues in mind or just want to find out more do contact me to see what and when arrangements can be made.

    Please note price per person will be more to cover costs of travel, accommodation and time.

    I have another question, how do I contact you?

    Absolutely! If there is anything else you would like to ask please do get in touch I look forward to hearing from you and hopefully welcoming you on one of the SandStory Therapy® training dates 😊

    Start your story in the sand now
    Enrol & download an application form or email me to agree a payment plan