In my nine years teaching integrative sandplay and art courses, I have experienced many people (including myself) meeting their traumatised parts for the first time in a sandtray. There in that little wooden box are the lost parts that call out to us in our dreams and in our acting out, in all their three dimensional numinous glory. And 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 creative play 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 instinctive desire to make us whole.
It is clear to me that using creative imagination is a compassionate way of exploring the complex and complicated world of trauma (and trauma treatment!). So, of course being me, I read everything I could on trauma and went on a lot of training courses. To my surprise, none included creativity or spirituality. I learnt useful techniques, nearly all of them verbal. Bodywork – trusting the wisdom of our selves – resonated for me from those trainings.
So the idea came to bring together creativity, talking therapies, trauma models and kind reflection. To create a compassionate synergy of neuroscience, psychotherapy and ancient spiritual traditions, which have always known the beauty of our quietest and most vulnerable parts.
And here it is – Jill Carter Training. I will be working with some of the best and most experienced creative trainers and supervisors in the country. All of whom are currently working with children, adolescents and adults. And all of whom have met their own fractured parts in a wooden box or on a piece of paper.
The structure will mirror the courses I taught at the Association of Integrative Sandplay Therapists. There will be introductory weekends for anyone interested in creative play. There will be a Certificate in Integrative Sandplay and a Certificate in Integrative Art, teaching the skills from object relations, gestalt, person-centred, Jungian and transpersonal schools in small interactive groups. There will be Diplomas in both Integrative Sandplay and Art to deepen our spiritual and self-knowledge.
There will also be new additions: the ‘Working Creatively with Trauma’ courses – introduction, certificate and diploma – to explore and marry all the different ways of holding and healing our vulnerable parts. And a new raft of supervision courses. Lord knows it’s a difficult time to be a supervisor – so many regulations and responsibilities (yes life is sometimes about those and we teach those too) but the space for independent, supportive, nonjudgmental 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 often don’t cut the mustard. They can simply go above the head of the hurt younger parts in us, which respond better to painting or music. It is by charming and coaxing these younger parts into the therapy that we can begin to integrate all our wounds, to glue back together that ‘shattered self’.
This company is about more than teaching; it is about listening too. So, this space is also yours. To come and train yes of course. But also to comment and to discuss your feelings about counselling and creativity. So all our blogs will be open for comments.