Becoming a certified member

[Important] Statement from ISST Board regarding online training hours

Revised November 21st, 2020

In the following statement, the “Exception Period Due To the Covid-19 Pandemic” means the period from February 1st, 2020 to June 30th, 2021. (Note: The ISST Board will continue to monitor the impact of pandemic on our Member Societies. This period may be modified at the discretion of the ISST Board if the impact of the pandemic ceases or becomes significantly less serious earlier than June 30th 2021.)

In recognition of restrictions imposed on in-person meetings and gatherings as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the ISST Board has voted to allow the following exceptions regarding the limits of online training and group supervision hours for the Exception Period Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Already established in-person supervision groups may transition to online meetings:

In-person supervision groups that were already established prior to February 1st, 2020 may transition to online meetings during the ISST Exception Period Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic (February 1st, 2020 - June 30th, 2021) as long as:

  • Groups were already established and meeting on a regular basis prior to February 1st, 2020
  • Groups consist of the same ongoing members and supervisor
  • Online sessions are a minimum of two hours in length, with one person presenting case material per session
  • Throughout the course or duration of a group, group members present case material for supervision equal percentages of the total time.
  • (Additional condition) The limit of “No more than 4 group members” in the condition written in [Note 1] does not apply to this very exceptional case of online group supervision and the group remains the same both in-person and online. 

Previous ISST Exceptions Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic as of September 26th, 2020

1. Online Theoretical Learning
In addition to a limit of 20 hours of online theoretical training, which is permitted according to the ISST statutes, all hours of theoretical training carried out online during the Exception Period Due To the Covid-19 Pandemic (i.e. between February 1st, 2020 until June 30th, 2021) will be accepted.

The limit according to our existing statues is that up to 20 of the 100 hours of theoretical training may be acquired online, so applicants need to be sure to designate the dates of any online lectures, course, webinars, etc. on the Appendix D form of their application to be clear that it occurred during the Exception Period Due To the Covid-19 Pandemic (i.e. between February 1st, 2020 until June 30th, 2021).

2. Online Group Supervision
According to existing ISST statutes, up to 50 hours of case supervision can be in groups. From that 50 hours, 24 of these hours may be online (providing they meet the other requirements for online group supervision.)

However, during the ISST approved Covid-19 pandemic exceptions period (the Exception Period Due To the Covid-19 Pandemic, i.e. between February 1st, 2020 until June 30th, 2021), up to 50 hours of group supervision online is acceptable – as long as they meet the existing approved criteria for online group supervision [Statement revised on September 26th, 2020].

[Note 1] (Approved criteria):

• No more than 4 group members who meet regularly with the same supervisor
• Each group member presents case material
• One presentation per session is allowed with a minimum of two hours for each session

[Note 2]:

In 2018 the ISST Board approved the following agreement: ISST strongly encourages the establishment of a face-to-face relationship with group members prior to beginning online group supervision. In cases where this is not realistic due to distance or cost, the supervisor may establish a relationship by meeting with each individual group member individually online prior to beginning online group supervision. This could be accomplished by conducting one or more sessions of individual online supervision, obtaining the CV with information about professional background, experience, sandplay training, etc. for the person being supervised. [Malta BM, 2018].

On Appendix D of the application form, applicants will need to be sure to designate the hours and dates of any online group supervision during the Exception Period Due To the Covid-19 Pandemic, i.e. between February 1st, 2020 until June 30th, 2021.

The ISST Board recognizes that the global Covid-19 pandemic is an evolving and unpredictable situation and will therefore continue to monitor the situation into 2021 and later and to consider further exceptions as necessary.


It is imperative that the candidate make clear the dates of the online group supervision to distinguish between those hours of group supervision that have been completed prior to the Exception Period Due To the Covid-19 Pandemic, i.e. between February 1st, 2020 until June 30th, 2021 (up to 24 hours) from those additional hours allowed according to the current exceptions to the ISST rules and regulations. These hours need to be clearly stated on form Appendix D.

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 a  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 applicants  personal sandplay therapist and the supervisor on the case 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.