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Utilising Sandplay in Treating the Impact of Refugee Trauma: A case study of an Iraqi boy

Sanja Stefanovic

Most children from refugee backgrounds and their families have survived multiple traumatic events that had a negative impact on the children’s development and their psychological wellbeing. Assisting the child’s recovery and addressing the traumatic memories can be challenging for the therapist due to the child’s still developing cognitive and verbal abilities, and the implicit nature of traumatic memories. The use of non-verbal techniques is often required. Sandplay therapy engages children in symbolic play in a free and protected space. Through the use of the sand tray and a selection of figurines, in the presence of a therapist, the child is able to process traumatic material at their own pace, in a way that is congruent with their developmental stage. The case of an 8 year old Iraqi boy will be used to demonstrate Sandplay therapy at STARTTS. Sanja will outline the rationale for this approach, the process of sandplay with this child and the therapeutic outcomes.

Clinical Master Class Evening
16th June 2014

Sanja Stefanovic
Sanja  Stefanovic
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Sanja Stefanovic

Sanja Stefanovic is a Child and Adolescent Counsellor at STARTTS. Before becoming part of STARTTS team she has been working with families and young people in Croatia in a Family Community Centre. Sanja completed Psychology studies.

Her passion for working with people affected by war started while still in her native Croatia where she had worked as a psychologist. Sanja has worked at STARTTS for the last six years, providing refugee children, adolescents and their families with psychosocial assessments and therapeutic interventions using a variety of techniques and approaches. She has worked with clients from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds in both individual and group settings. Sanja completed a Sandplay Therapy course with Karen Daniel in 2011, and since then has incorporated it in her therapeutic work with clients at STARTTS.


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