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Shana Laffy

Role: SandStory Therapy® Training Quality & Development

I found my love of sand back in the early days of teaching young children in schools and nurseries. The powerful use of this sensory medium instantly helped children feel calmer and engage with their true authentic playful selves.

I observed how naturally children shared their untold story through metaphorical play and small world figures. This was an honour to watch and it felt like a window into their inner world.

When I later trained as a child therapist at IATE, I was always drawn to using sand with clients. This creative approach has a pull like no other. I felt so strongly that the sand was a safe container for clients’ emotions; a place of holding and no judgement, a sensitive stage for people to explore ideas. I would see time again the deepest work would come from the sand tray, as children could experience healing and hope, often overcoming challenging external realities in their sand tray narrative.

As I continued to add to my client base training to include working with adults, I knew that sand would be a core therapeutic tool, particularly when the words are hard to find, people could trust their inner knowing and wisdom. Although sometimes adults can be more inhibited than children to start, once they dive into their playful self, the unconscious material would often be so much more accessible to them through a creative lens.

While I loved using sand in therapy, I was always searching for the perfect framework for introducing clients to and supporting them to use this potent material. In 2020 I found the wonderful Lara Kasza and was immediately drawn to this beautiful creation –SandStory Therapy®. A warm fusion of Sand Tray and Sand Play with additions of a gentle, wondering presence to best support therapeutic change - it made perfect sense and resonated with me on so many levels.

So, what better way to dive into my passion for SandStory Therapy® than to help spread the word and teach it to others. I now run in-person Level 1 SandStory Therapy® workshops at the SandStory Centre in North London, multiple times a year. Open to all qualified or nearly qualified therapists, these 2 days are such a magical experience and I come away each time feeling truly blessed to be spending time with such warm passionate souls.

Alongside my private practice in North London where I see individuals, young people and couple/relationship clients, I am also co-founder of Heartful Therapy Training. This is a project set up with my mother Cabby Laffy, who is an Author and Psychotherapist. We offer training to therapists/counsellors and mental health practitioners on a range of topics such as Safeguarding, Relationship Therapy and Trauma Informed Practice. I also support educational staff and parents with 1:1 coaching and deliver group Emotion Coaching workshops, which incorporate contemporary neuroscience and attachment theories into a model of support for emotional regulation.

Random and cool facts!

Best Goal: To write a book

Best Habit: Tidying up as I go

Best Reason to be Happy: My wonderful family

Best Legal Route to Joy: Dancing and petting small animals

Best Flaw: Over analysing things - playing detective

Best Accomplishment: Becoming a mother

Best Motto: The days are long but the years are short

Best Under-Appreciated Skill: Knowing how to use a diablo : )


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