Lighthouse Counseling & Sand Play Training Center was conceived in 2000 by Gretchen Morgan and Mary Pat McGeehin. At that time, they opened a small psychotherapy practice in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, that operated under the name, Lighthouse Counseling. The primary focus of the practice was psychotherapy, specializing in children and trauma. Their search for effective treatment led them to include their use of both Sand Play Therapy and EMDR. This evolution was in response to the expanding body of research which illustrated that the mind-body connection was integral to the healing of mental health issues. In 2004, they expanded their practice to include like-minded affiliate clinicians and moved to a larger facility in Eatontown, New Jersey.

In 2005, after hearing many fellow clinicians discuss a lack of Sand Play Therapy Training courses in New Jersey, Mary Pat and Gretchen designed the Lighthouse Sand Play Training Program and became approved providers for Continuing Education for the Association for Play Therapy, The California Board of Social Sciences and the National Board of Certified Counselors.  Lighthouse Counseling & Sand Play Training Center, LLC is the only Association for Play Therapy approved training center in the Northeast of the United States that exclusively specializes in Sand Play Therapy Training.  In 2013, the Center obtained approval from NASW-NJ to offer a Certificate In Sand Play Therapy, a comprehensive training curriculum that offers 87 hours of Continuing Education and 10 hours of clinical supervision. To date, they have trained over 2000 clinicians both nationally and internationally (in Costa Rica and Ireland).

Both owners have been adjunct faculty of undergraduate or graduate level classes, have had advanced Sand Play Therapy training and are members of the Association for Play Therapy, Inc., the Sand Play Therapists of America and The East Coast Sand Play Association. In addition, all our partners are Level II EMDR practioners and have had extensive training in trauma. Gretchen and Mary Pat are members of the National Association of Social Workers and are Certified Clinical Supervisors for the State of New Jersey.