In my years teaching sandplay and creative play courses, I have seen many people meeting their traumatised parts for the first time in a sandtray. There in that little wooden box are the lost parts that call out in our dreams. Now we see them in all their 3-D numinous glory. Once a kind witness sees those parts, unconscious healing – integration – begins to take place.
I have seen it happen hundreds of times, but every time someone’s heart opens like this is unique, magical and a privilege to witness. It is amazing what our psyches are capable of doing once we get out of our own way. The simple act of arts and crafts bamboozles the ego, yet comforts it in a way that enables it to step aside. Then the soul can start what Carl Jung called its instinctual desire to make us whole.
In addition, using imaginative play is a compassionate way of exploring trauma. When I started this company, I read everything I could on trauma. I went on a lot of training courses. To my surprise, none included creative activities or spirituality. I learnt problem solving techniques, nearly all of them verbal. Only bodywork – trusting the wisdom of our selves – resonated for me from those trainings.
I wanted to bring together creativity, talking therapies, trauma models and kind reflection. To create a compassionate synergy of neuroscience, psychotherapy and ancient spiritual traditions. To re-discover the beauty of our quietest and most vulnerable parts.
And here it is – Jill Carter Training. I am working with some of the most experienced creative trainers and supervisors in the UK. They are all experts in creative play and are seeing clients – children, adolescents and adults. They have also met their own fractured parts in a wooden box or on a piece of paper.
Some of my courses build on those I taught at the Association of Integrative Sandplay Therapists. This includes introductory weekends for anyone interested in creative play. There is a Certificate in Integrative Sandplay and a Certificate in Expressive Integrative Art. I now teach from a wider therapeutic base, including skills from object relations, gestalt, person-centred, Jungian and transpersonal schools. Every course is trauma-informed. Also, there are Diplomas in Integrative Sandplay and Art to deepen our spiritual and self-knowledge. There are opportunities to paint draw and discover other creative ways to use fine motor skills. The groups are always small – there will never be more than 10 people.
This is a space for non-judgmental, supportive guidance
There are also new additions: the ‘Working Creatively with Trauma’ courses – introduction, certificate and diploma – to explore and develop these skills. And a new raft of supervision courses. It’s a difficult time to be a supervisor, there are so many regulations and responsibilities. The space for independent, supportive guidance is in danger of being squashed. We want and need breathing space and it’s our aim to provide it.
Words alone in therapy can simply go above the head of our hurt, younger parts, which respond better to painting or music. It is by charming and coaxing these younger parts that we integrate our wounds, and begin to glue back together that ‘shattered self’.
But Jill Carter Training is not just about teaching; it is also about engagement and communication skills. So, feel free to let me know your feelings about counselling and creativity. All our blogs are open for comments.
If you want to find out more about creative trauma therapy why not sign up for one of my trauma training courses?
They’re the only courses in the UK to explore evidence-based models of trauma therapy using sandplay and expressive arts. For more information, give me a call on 07932 694 779.