About The Opengate Institute

We are the leading provider of training, supervision, ongoing professional development and support in Sandtray Therapy in Australia.

Our Vision

Empowering children, teenagers & adults towards healthy self-development and psychological well-being

Our Mission

Justice for children, adults & families

Our Values

Our values: Integrity, Honesty, Trust, Accountability, Passion, Fun, Continuous Learning.

Our Aim

To promote the development and practice standards of education and training in Integrative Sand Therapies. To respect and support the diversity of approaches within the field. To provide a united training standard for current and emerging practitioners, to foster professional identity, support training and research, and ensure public accountability.

Honouring the Two women who developed Sand Play Therapy – Dr Margaret Lowenfeld (paediatrician) and Dora Kalff

“We use toys, as does everyone who plays with children, or children who play with themselves. My own endeavour in my work with children is to devise an instrument with which a child can demonstrate his own emotional and mental state without the necessary intervention of an adult either by transference or interpretation, and which will allow of a record being made of such a demonstration.
My objective is to help children to produce something which will stand by itself and be independent of any theory as to its nature. The central task of psychotherapy is that of making contact with the whole of the patient’s mind, not only by intuition but by direct and conscious knowledge and understanding of the laws of mind. There are certain points about the nature of children’s thought that make this task particularly difficult.
A child does not think linearly as the adult is capable of doing: thought, feeling, sensations, concept and memory are all inextricably interwoven. A child’s thought is fluid and movement can take place on several planes at once. A child’s feeling is absolute in that any emotion, while it is present, holds the whole field of consciousness”.

Dr Margaret Lowenfeld

“In my Sandplay work with children and adolescents, I have observed the Self of the child – the center of his psychic totality – separate itself from the Self of the mother. In a second phase, the child experiences more security in the relationship to the mother through her caresses and displays of tenderness. A relationship of trust grows out of this experience.
The security that results from this primary relationship is the basis of the third phase. During this phase, which begins around the end of the second year of life, the centre of the Self is stabilized in the unconscious of the child and begins to manifest itself in symbols of wholeness. During this time, the child plays or speaks in symbols of wholeness, using the same language of symbols that man has used consciously or unconsciously to express his wholeness throughout the ages and in all cultures.
The symbol plays a great role in Sandplay therapy, which I have expanded from the Lowenfeld World Technique. Hundreds of small figures of every conceivable type are provided. The child arranges any figure he chooses in the sand. The sand picture that is produced by the child can be understood as a three-dimensional representation of some aspect of his psychic situation”.

Dora Kalff