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Becoming a Certified Member


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.


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).


Steps to Become a Certified Individual Member International Society of Sandplay Therapy (ISST)

An Individual Member (IM) is a Sandplay Therapist who is accepted into ISST and does not live in a country with an ISST Member/Regional Society.

If you live in a country that has an ISST Member or Regional society please refer to your local society for their guidelines. ISST sets the minimum requirements only. Please note that members of IAAP have modified requirements for training as outlined below.

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.

B. Theoretical training 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, 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 by 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.

Note about On-line Supervision: Individual supervision hours can take place on-line provided the supervisor and supervisee have met each other before and the supervisor knows the credentials of the supervisee. Regarding On-line Group Supervision: At the 2018 ISST Board meeting the following was agreed: It is important that the supervisor has knowledge of each supervisee individually through meetings prior to commencement of the on-line supervision group.

Examples are: individual face to face or on-line meetings; through attendance at face to face group supervisions or through personal interactions during training events. A maximum of 24 hours of online group supervision is allowed with the following conditions: 1. All 24 hours must be completed with the same supervisor and in the same group.2. The group maximum is four (4) people.3. One presentation per session is allowed with a minimum of two hours for each session.

E. A written final case study of 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 National/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 National 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. You may, 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:

Once you have completed your training and supervision hours and two symbol papers you are 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 Case Advisor to support you with writing up and submitting your final case as well as choosing readers. The 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 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.

After your advisor reviews your Record of Training, send a copy of the Record of Training, a 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:

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


Step 6:

Your 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 (members of IAAP).

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.