There are 3 routes to becoming
a certified member of ISST

If you live in a country with an ISST member / regional society

Follow your local society guidelines

Whilst ISST sets the minimum requirements, candidates living in a country with a member society have to fulfil the ISST requirements and the requirements of their member society.

If you are a member of IAAP

Follow ISST’s modified requirements

If you live in a country without an ISST member / regional society

You have two options

Register as an Independent Route Candidate (IRC)
This is optional but recommended by ISST as those who register will be officially recognised as working towards ISST certification.


Fulfil requirements below as an individual member.

Follow steps below to become an Individual Member of ISST

“As a Teaching Member you stand as a direct link between Dora Kalff, the originator of our method and founder of ISST, and future members of ISST. This brings with it privileges as well as responsibilities. We trust that you will continue to grow and develop in your sandplay teaching practice and your preparation of students within the tradition of high professional standards promoted by ISST and outlined in this handbook. We also hope that you will take an active part in the running and development of our society which aims to provide a container for our members and maintains our standards of training.”

Alexander Esterhuyzen (President ISST 2019).

ISST Requirements

The requirements represent an absolute minimum which we hope will provide a common base for all practitioners who are interested in being part of our international organization.

For the updated Exception Period Due To the Covid-19 Pandemic, please click here or scroll to the bottom of this page.

Step 1: Become familiar with ISST requirements for membership

A. Personal Process in Sandplay Therapy

Must be with an ISST Member and precedes, if possible, a regular course of training in sandplay.
The personal process therapist may not be your advisor, supervisor or symbol paper/case reader.

B. Theoretical training

This must be of a minimum of 100 hours in training seminars in the tradition of Dora Kalff and based on the principles of the psychology of C.G. Training in Sandplay Therapy. Must be with a certified ISST Sandplay Teaching Member.

C. Two written symbol papers

These must be at least 10 pages in length, but no more than 20 pages with 1.5 spacing. At least one paper must include clinical sandplay material.

D. Supervision of practical work

This must be with at least two different Teaching Members for a minimum of 80 hours. Thirty (30) of the 80 hours must be individual supervision. Up to fifty (50) hours of group supervision is acceptable provided the student candidate presents his/her own clients’ material for at least 1 hour out of every five group supervision hours. All the supervision hours can be individual as group supervision is optional. The applicants personal sandplay Therapist cannot be one of the supervisors.

Additional information

Scroll down for further details on online training and supervision.

E. A written final case study

The final case study must be at least 30 to a maximum of 50 pages of text with 1.5 spacing. The case study must be read and evaluated by three ISST Teaching Members, who are recognized Case Readers. If the applicant lives in a country with an ISST Member Society at least one of the case readers should be from their ISST Member/Regional Society and at least one from a Member/Regional Society different to that of the applicant. The applicant’s personal sandplay therapist, advisor and any supervisor/consultant cannot be one of the readers. Each reader will provide an evaluation report of the case study to the Case Advisor. Once the Case advisor is satisfied that all three readers are in agreement, the outcome and readers reports are sent to the applicant. The case reader’s fee is determined by themselves unless it is set by their Member Society. All requirements a-d above must be completed before submitting the ISST Final Case to readers. And a copy of the applicants Appendix D must accompany the case material sent to the readers.

Download guidelines for writing a case study

Step 2: Keep a record of your training

If you wish, use Appendix D form to keep track of your progress. Please be aware that several of the items require signatures verifying completed work. It is best to ask for a certificate of attendance to verify your work (supervision or teaching) from the Teaching member at the time that you attend. Keep these certificates as part of your evidence of completed work towards certification.

Step 3: Select a Training advisor

Before writing the required symbol papers, ask a certified ISST Teaching Member to serve as your training advisor. The Teaching member needs to have been certified as a Teaching member for at least two years. Their role will be to guide you through your professional development towards certification. You might want to consider formally registering as an ISST Independent Route Candidate.

Step 4: Writing your Final Case

As you work towards completing your training and supervision hours and two symbol papers you may be ready to start working on writing up your final case study. You can take the advice of your supervisor(s) as to which case may be suitable. You can then choose a Final Case Advisor to support you with writing up and submitting your final case as well as choosing readers. The final case advisor can be your supervisor, your training advisor or another ISST teaching member.

After you have completed the ISST required training hours and two symbol papers, but before submitting your ISST Final Case to readers, your Record of Training should be completed and copies submitted to:

Your Final Case Advisor, who will review your Record of Training to verify that you have completed all ISST training requirements before you submit your final case study to your readers.

Your final case advisor will review your record of training and must send a copy of this, your professional resume and the final case study to your ISST final case readers.

Your Final Case readers will report the outcome of their evaluation of your paper to your advisor, who will then contact you. A written evaluation of your paper from each of your readers or a joint evaluation from all three will be available to you.

Step 5: Complete Appendix D

If your paper was approved by your readers, complete the last part of Appendix D

Step 6: Submitting your Application

Your final case advisor will submit your completed Appendix D form together with case comments to the ISST secretary who will log the date, check that all contents are completed and forward your application to the certification committee. You will be advised of the outcome.

Requirements for ISST Membership for Qualified Jungian Analysts ( IAAP Members)

Sandplay was developed by Dora Kalff and is based on the psychological principles of C.G. Jung. Fully qualified Jungian Analysts may undergo an adapted training for ISST membership. This training should include, as a minimum:

  1. Personal Sandplay process with an ISST member.
  2. 60 hours specific Sandplay teaching seminars.
  3. Clinical case supervision: 40 hours of which a minimum of 15 must be individual supervision hours. A maximum of up to 25 group supervision hours are acceptable. The candidate should present their own clinical work in one of every five hours of group supervisions.
  4. One relevant seminar paper with Sandplay clinical material.
  5. Submission of written clinical case study as outlined in Appendix A b-f in the rules of procedure.

Summary of COVID-19 Exceptions and Updated Training and Supervision Requirements

1 January 2024

COVID-19 Exceptions

Exception period:  1 February 2020 through 31 December 2023

Conditions of exception:  All training and supervision hours that met ISST requirements completed during the COVID-19 exceptions period, whether they occurred in-person or online– will be counted as in-person hours for the purposes of certification.  This is to ensure clarity and fairness, as most trainees during this time had no choice but to receive training and supervision online.

Updated Training and Supervision Requirements

Effective date:  1 January 2024


Up to 50 hours of the required 100 hours may be completed online, as long as training is synchronous, meaning live and interactive.  While previous ISST rules of procedure made no distinction between different types of online training, it is now clarified that in order to count toward certification, online training hours must be live and interactive. 

Note:  Exceptions for pre-existing asynchronous online training programs may be considered upon approval of the ISST Board.


Individual supervision- At least 30 of the total required 80 hours of supervision must be completed in an individual format (1:1 with the Teaching Member).  Individual supervision may occur online or in-person.  You may complete all of the required  supervision hours individually, or you may opt to complete a portion of these hours in a group format. 

Group supervision- Up to 50 of the total required 80 hours may be completed in a group format, providing that the group structure meets ISST requirements AND the trainee presented their own case material for at least 20% of the total group supervision hours submitted.  This means that they do not need to present their own case material during every group supervision event, but they must have presented their own case material for at least 20% of the total group supervision hours listed in Appendix D on their ISST Application.  For example, if an applicant lists 50 hours, they must have presented their own case material for at least 10 of those hours; if they list 40 hours of group supervision, they must have presented their own case material for at least 8 of those hours, etc.)

In-person group supervision:  A maximum of 10 participants/trainees is allowed for in-person group supervision; however, the preferred number is 6.

Online group supervision:   Effective 1 January 2024 up to 30 of the maximum 50 hours of group supervision allowed, may be completed online, as long as the following additional requirements are met.

The supervisor must have an individual meeting with each group member prior to the commencement of an online group. This meeting may take place in-person or online. The purpose of this meeting is to get to know the trainee, establish rapport, and learn about their professional background and Sandplay training.

There may be no more than 5 participants/trainees in an online supervision group. Each participant/trainee takes turns presenting their own case material.

Online group supervision sessions must meet for a minimum of 2 hours per session, during which time only one group member may present case material.

The composition of online supervision groups must remain consistent for at least one full cycle, meaning the same group members meeting with the same supervisor until each group member has presented case material for at least one session.