First Lee University MFT Graduate Students Begin Sandplay Therapy Training


Students graduating from Lee University’s Marriage and Family Therapy Program are Lee’s first doctoral students to receive specialized introductory training in sandplay therapy techniques. The students participated in the additional training opportunity as part of their doctoral course in Advanced Strategies of Play Therapy taught by Dr. Constance Ratcliff.

“It is extremely rewarding to teach sandplay therapy to the next generation of therapists,” Dr. Ratcliff said. “Students are excited and intrigued to experience their own sandboxes, learning firsthand how sandplay therapy promotes growth, insight, neural integration, wholeness, and healing in children and adults of all ages.”

Dr. Ratcliff teaches part-time in Lee’s MFT program and is a state-licensed marriage and family therapy clinician, supervisor, and educator. According to Dr. Ratcliff, the students developed knowledge in facilitating evidence-based therapeutic sandplay interventions with children and adults, which enhances their clinical and supervisory skills as marriage therapists. and approved families.

“Sandplay therapy gives the client the unique opportunity to achieve positive changes, new ways of being and seeing reality, a clearer understanding of current problems, possible solutions, inner strengths and resources available through the completion of multiple sandboxes,” said Dr. Ratcliff. “The universal symbols represented by miniature sandplay figures provide the pathway and language for an individual to express that which was previously inexpressible only through verbal means.”

Sandplay therapy uses sand, water, a sandbox and a wide variety of miniature figures and building materials to facilitate the client’s creation of a three-dimensional pictorial world in an open and protected space. by a highly qualified therapist. In sandplay therapy, the client selects and chooses miniature figures that represent animate and inanimate beings found in the outer world and the inner fantasy world. This non-verbal therapeutic method is based on the work of the famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung and was developed by Margaret Lowenfeld and Dora Kalff.

According to Dr. Ratcliff, sandplay therapy is used worldwide as a non-verbal method to help people of all ages “say the unspeakable” to overcome trauma, anxiety, depression, grief and loss, eating disorders, ADHD, behavioral and developmental difficulties, and more. Unlike traditional talk therapy methods, sandplay therapy interventions do not rely on verbalization and are cross-culturally effective with diverse populations, making it a widely sought-after clinical method for children, adolescents , adults, couples and families.

For more information about the MFT program at Lee, visit


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