Outline of BISS Theoretical teaching

BISS theoretical teaching is provided by a wide variety of trainers. It is not an alternative psychotherapy training, but focuses specifically on Sandplay in relation to a number of topics considered to be of central importance. Where ever possible theoretical material is always related to, and illustrated with actual Sandplay images and case material.



The 150 hours of formal teaching required for BISS and ISST membership are currently divided between nine topics. Naturally, there is considerable overlap between these topics and they are presented, not in isolation from each other, but as part of an integral whole and specifically related to Sandplay practise.

The relative weighting of the different topics is as follows:
a) topics marked (a) in blue below require 25 hours each = Total of 100 hrs
b) topics marked (b) in green below require 12 hours each = Total of 36 hrs
c) topics marked (c) in orange below require 7 hours each = Total of 14 hrs
total = 150

a) Sandplay practicalities and practice: Pertinent issues of experience and practice of Sandplay therapy (outside of the actual contents of the tray itself) will be explored.
a) Symbols: An exploration of the concept, characteristics and experience of symbols. Differentiating, signs, symbols and archetypes. The image and power of symbols as they present in the sand. The transcendent function. Methods for studying symbols and writing symbols papers.
a) Sandplay cases and case material: Exposure to case material provides a rich and essential platform for familiarisation with, and apprehension of, paths and patterns of psychic energy as it constellates in the tray: and of the effect this constellation has on the player.
Whole cases, part cases, or single sessions will be used to study and explore their intrinsic dynamic and significance, and to highlight particular issues and concepts. More than one teacher may present case material around a core theme on the same day.
a) Image and Healing: An essential component of Sandplay is working with images. This topic explores what makes the activity of image making valuable in practice and includes an exploration of its context in human culture beyond the sand tray.

b) Jungian perspectives: Key themes from Jungian psychology and their use as a framework for Sandplay work.
b) Cultural perspectives: Introduction to the symbolic language of myths and fairy tales, working with specific tales and their use in understanding psychological process. Examples of Myth in Sandplay. film, artwork and literature and how they inform our understanding, practice and experience.
b) Child development in relation to Sandplay: Core aspects of the development of the personality and a sense of self. The impact of trauma and the potential use of Sandplay and pre-sandplay. The interplay of inner- and outer- worlds in the child psychological development.

c)Psychopathology: The purpose of this series is not to make diagnosticians of trainees. It aims to develop trainee's skills in thinking about, and being alert to the possibility of formal illness, its varied presentation and meaning, and how to set up and use an appropriate support network in this regard.
c)Historical perspectives: Differentiating Jung as a historical figure from the many fictions about him and placing him and his work in the context of the emergence of modern psychology and psychotherapy. Background, history and contexts of Sandplay.