EMDR and Sand Scenes: Shifting to Adaptive Narratives for Traumatized Adults

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Barbara Sheehan-Zeidler, MA, LPC

Denver, CO October 12, 2019

Family Resource Pavilion: 9700 E. Easter Ave., Centennial, CO 80112

9:00 am program begins

12:00 lunch on own

4:00 pm program concludes

Price $135

6 EMDRIA Approved CE credits

EMDRIA Approval #15013-08

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6 NBCC Approved CE credits

EMDR Center of the Rockies EMDR Basic Training has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6934.  Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified.  EMDR Center fo the Rockies is responsible for all aspects of the programs.



 “Often the hands know how to solve a riddle with which the intellect has wrestled in vain.” Carl Gustav Jung, MD  

“Make the implicit explicit and make the explicit experiential.” Diana Fosha, PhD


When using sand play as an adjunct to EMDR therapy, client’s gain access to traumatic memories through the bottom-up/top-down neural processing pathway providing an opening to heal from limiting conscious and subconscious beliefs and behaviors. This experiential modality, combined with EMDR therapy’s foundational principles of AIP, window of tolerance, and dual attention stimulation, can enhance a client’s cognitive, emotional, and physiological experience as the maladaptive memory networks synthesize with more adaptive memory networks. Focusing on working with adult clients with complex trauma, this training goes over the benefits and challenges of working with adults and sand, important neurological considerations and what mindful therapists do for greatest therapeutic impact, as well as teaches participants how to thoughtfully integrate EMDR therapy with adults using sand play.



We cannot integrate what we do not know, and what we do not know can keep our trauma-based stories active and alive within us in unhelpful ways. Research shows that the human brain is wired to survive and we create stories about ourselves and the world around us that support this primitive, internal wiring. What if the story we tell ourselves is no longer true but is still held as a belief? This one-day training will educate and demonstrate how we can access and heal this non-verbal, core traumatic memory.

In this experiential training, participants will learn of the benefits and challenges of working with adults and sand, review adaptive information processing (AIP) and window of tolerance, learn essential prerequisites for each therapy session to maximize clients’ therapeutic gains, and specific steps to take to integrate EMDR therapy’s Phase 4 with sand play for adults. Learning how to support healing from attachment and developmental trauma through a brain-based lens including top-down/bottom-up processing, right-brain to right-brain attunement, and incorporating vital therapist skills to mindfully co-regulate with clients is a central component to this training.  A live demonstration, case studies, and videos as well as experiential activities are part of this dynamic day. Throughout this training participants will be offered tips and techniques to effectively integrate sand play with EMDR therapy so adult clients may heal inner wounds and reclaim their story.




At the end of this one-day training, participants will:

·     State 3 therapeutic benefits of incorporating sand scenes with adults

·     State 3 potential challenges when working with adults and sand scenes

·     Essential prerequisites for each therapy session to maximize clients’ therapeutic gains

·     Understand the value of right-brain to right-brain connection and specific ways the therapist can mindfully co-regulate

·     Compare and contrast between top-down and bottom-up processing in EMDR therapy and sand scenes

·     Conceptualize how the AIP model works within the framework of creating sand scenes 

·     Discern when to apply DAS/BLS to clients working the sand based on principles of the Window of Tolerance in phase 4 of EMDR therapy

·     Incorporate EMDR therapy, phase 4, with sand scene with specific guidelines




Barbara Sheehan-Zeidler is a licensed professional counselor, an EMDRIA Approved Consultant, and professional speaker who owns and operates Creative and Caring Counseling in Littleton, Colorado. Barbara focuses her clinical work with dedicated, courageous adults who have traumatic, complicated histories. In addition to her private practice, Barbara provides EMDR consultation for EMDR trained colleagues and is a group facilitator for EMDR Center of the Rockies. Barbara is a lifelong learner and describes herself as a neuropsychologically informed, playful, experiential therapist.  Barbara has been inviting clients to participate in sand scenes since graduating from Regis University in 2009 and has been on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Sandplay Therapy Association since 2013.