“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
                                                                                                                             – Nelson Mandela

The Lighthouse Sand Play Therapy Technique

Mary Pat and Gretchen were first introduced to Sand Play in 2000, and found the process to be transformational both personally and professionally.  Since that time, they have studied the technique extensively through trainings and research (from both Jungian and Play Therapy frameworks), engaged in personal Sand Play process work and received extensive supervision in Sand Play Therapy.

After years of study, it became clear that there was limited access to professional Sand Play Training in the State of New Jersey, as well as a perception that formal Sand Play Therapy Training was too costly, required extensive travel and was too time consuming to pursue. Mary Pat and Gretchen felt that all clinicians should have the ability to access training in Sand Play so that this culturally sensitive, client-centered healing technique could be available to clients everywhere.

In 2005 Mary Pat and Gretchen created a comprehensive Play Therapy Training Program with the mission of bringing Sand Play to clinicians and clients throughout the Tri-State area. These trainings are informed by Play Therapy (directive and non-directive), Depth Psychology, Developmental Process, Trauma Theory, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Mindfulness and Trauma Sensitive Yoga.  This multifaceted approach to teaching Sand Play Therapy also stresses the need for experiential training in order to best develop practical skills.

The extensive feedback we have received from clinicians who have attended training at Lighthouse is that they have easily incorporated Sand Play into their existing therapeutic milieus.

Play Therapy Training in Sand Play

For professionals interested in learning Sand Play Therapy, we offer several levels of instruction, from beginner to advanced. Trainings at Lighthouse Counseling & Sand Play Training Center, LLC use small group experiential format (18 or fewer participants) and are hosted in an aesthetically pleasing and comfortable space. To deepen your Play Therapy education, we also offer individual Sand Play Supervision. If your staff is unable to come to our Center, we offer off-site training at your facility. Please see below for the current training schedule.

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.  Mary Pat and Gretchen are the co-owners and founders of the Center and are the creators of the Lighthouse Sand Play Training curriculum.


Mary Pat and Gretchen have trained over 1500 clinicians in Sand Play Therapy since 2005 (both nationally and internationally).  They both are graduates of The University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice,  former adjunct professors in Graduate Level Social Work Programs (Gretchen at Monmouth University and Mary Pat at Rutgers University) and are Registered Clinical Supervisors with the State of New Jersey.  Mary Pat and Gretchen have had articles published about Sand Play Therapy and have undergone over 150 hours of hours of personal Play Therapy Training (with a focus in Sand Play), supervision and personal process work. Additionally, they had had over 150 hours in training in trauma and body-centered psychotherapy (including EMDR, Thought Field Therapy, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Trauma Sensitive Yoga and 60 hours of training with Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.).


Three-Full Day Introduction to Sand Play Training Series

Presenters: Mary Pat McGeehin, LCSW and Gretchen Morgan, LCSW
This Series is a three-day, intensive exploration of  Sand Play. Clinicians will learn the theoretical background of Sand Play Therapy, including: Erikson’s Developmental Tasks as applied to Sand Play, basic Jungian concepts (psyche, self, ego, individuation, collective unconscious), stages of Sand Play Development (Kalff and Neumann), Play Therapy applications (directive and non-directive) and the basic tenets of Family Sand Play Therapy (with a special focus on Lois Carey’s work).

Participants will have an extensive, hand’s on experience of building their own Sandtray, facilitating the Sand Play Process for others (“holder” skills) and participating in experiential exercise with multiple participants in the Sandtray. Contact Gretchen Morgan for more information.


COST $550 ($50 discount for Students)

November 5-7, 2017 –  FULL



Intermediate Sand Play Therapy Training Series

Presenter: Gretchen Morgan, LCSW
For those who have completed our three-part Introduction to Sand Play Therapy Series, we offer an Intermediate Level of Sand Play Therapy Training. The format is small group (4 to 8 participants) and highly experiential. Intermediate groups meet one time per month for three hours, and participants are required to make a 6-month commitment to study. Some topics that will be covered include: Complex Trauma, Defense Mechanisms, Resource Development, Somatics and Symbolism. All intermediate trainings are approved for CE by NJ CE Collaborative, APT and NBCC . Contact Gretchen Morgan for more information.

Cost $900 – Fee may be divided into six (6) monthly payments of $150 each.

2016 Intermediate Trainings:

Nov 29, 2017 10:30 – 1:30 (then first Wed of each month for 5 months)- 8 spots left
Nov 30, 2017: 5pm-8pm (the forth Thursday of each month for 5 additional months)
8 spots left

Register Today


Advanced Sand Play Therapy Training Series

Presenter: Mary Pat McGeehin, LCSW
For clinicians who are interested in a deeper level of training to enhance their Sand Play Therapy practice, we are pleased to offer an Advanced Level of Sand Play Training. Completion of Introductory and Intermediate Sand Play Training Series is required. The format is small group (4-8 participants) and highly experiential. Advanced groups meet one time per month for three hours, and participants are required to make a 17 month commitment to study.  All advanced trainings are approved for CE by NJ CE Collaborative, APT and NBCC. Contact Mary Pat McGeehin for more information.

Female Archetypes $1500 – Fee may be divided into ten (10) monthly payments of $150
Male Archetypes $1050 – Fee may be divided into seven (7) monthly payments of $150

Advanced Trainings:

Male Archetypes

Check back in 2018.

Female Archetypes

November 15, 2017 (3rd Wednesday of each month for 9 additional months) 1030-130 2 SPOTS LEFT

**** New Schedule offering****
December 7, 2017 (every other month for 6 hours) 2:00 – 8:00pm  2 SPOTS LEFT

Register Today


Individual Sand Play Process/Analysis

Mary Pat is accepting appointments for clinicians who are interested in completing an individual Sand Play Process. In addition to coordinating Intermediate and Advanced Sand Play Trainings at the Center, Mary Pat brings over 20 years of clinical experience and over 15 years of  Sand Play study to the therapeutic dynamic. Contact Mary Pat McGeehin for more information.

***Continuing Education is not available for process work***


Clinical Supervision

Mary Pat and Gretchen are both Registered Clinical Supervisors for the State of New Jersey and offer private supervision sessions.  In addition, Mary Pat offers group clinical supervision for the rate of $100 for a two hour group and $150 for a three hour group.  A minimum of three participants is necessary to offer group supervision.

Clinical Supervision Groups:
Every fourth Friday of the month from 10:30 – 1:30 pm.  This is an open group for all clinicians who have completed a minimum of the Intermediate Sand Play Therapy Training and are enrolled in or have completed the Advanced Sand Play Training  You must contact Mary Pat to join this group. 


Private Trainings

Lighthouse is excited to offer several options for private trainings at your site our at our Center.

Our entire training curriculum can be offered to your private group at our Center or your site. The cost for the Introduction to Sand Play Training is $6000 for up to 10 participants and $600 per person over that amount. The Intermediate and Advanced Trainings cost $200 per person (minimum 8 people). If traveling more than two hours to your site, travel expenses will also be billed to the sponsoring group (gas, hotel, airfare, etc). Lighthouse does NOT provide food for private trainings. Contact Gretchen Morgan for more information.

Cost $6000 (price includes up to 10 people; $600 per person after maximum of 10 is reached)

Cost $1200 per person (OFF-SITE: 6 person minimum)

Female Archetypes – Cost $2000 per person (OFF-SITE: 6 person minimum)
Male Archetypes – Cost $1400 per person (OFF SITE : 6 person minimum)

Future Trainings: Private trainings must be scheduled directly with Gretchen

Register Today


Free Play Therapy Training

This is a wonderful way to introduce your agency, school or community group to the basic tenets of Sand Play Therapy.  Gretchen will provide a free 1.5 hour clinical training about Sand Play Therapy at your site.  A minimum of 8 participants is necessary for the training and there is no maximum. Free trainings can only be offered within a 90 minute drive from our Eatontown, NJ office.

Continuing Education will be awarded for clinical staff (see Continuing Education).