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Art therapy has its roots in ancient healing practices. Shamanic rites and practices with their dramatizations, creations of drawings on sand or animal skins, musical improvisations, all this became the beginning of this trend in psychotherapy.
Natalya Sakovich, a well-known art therapist, author of books in the field of art therapy and sand therapy, author of the Diagnostic Complex Sand Therapy and courses, already being a high-class specialist, she was trained by specialists in the field of art therapy and sand therapy in Israel. Natalia has been practicing art therapy for 22 years and was one of the first graduates. Her interest in the connection between psychology and art appeared much earlier, when she was writing her thesis at the Institute of Culture on the influence of the human factor on the choice of role. In 1998, she entered the art therapy course of Alexander Ivanovich Kopytin (St. Petersburg). It was the first set of art therapists in the post-Soviet space. After completing this course, having received a diploma as an art therapist and joining the Association of Art Therapy (Russia), the psychologist began to practice this method.
At the time of the decision to study in Israel in 2000, Natalia received additional education in sand therapy on the course of June Utterton (Irish Institute of Sand Therapy). After that, she opened the Academy of Postgraduate Education at the State Educational Institution, where she worked at that time an art therapy and sand therapy room, which became the first such room in Belarus. The question arose about the training of such specialists and she developed her own courses in these areas, which were certified by the Ministry of Education (2005). During the training, students received knowledge of the theory and methodology of art therapy, practical skills in music, dance and movement, isotherapy, fairy tale therapy, sand therapy, the basics of training and individual counseling. Within the framework of the courses, Sakovich developed and introduced such a form as museum art therapy. With the students of the courses, they went out for several days to the leading museums of Minsk and there, using psychological knowledge and knowledge from the theory of art therapy and psychiatry, they learned to understand the paintings of artists from the side of their personality, psychological profile, the characteristics of the severity of personality radicals, discussed the mechanisms for compensating for a particular condition the artist through art. These classes have become unique. In parallel, she wrote 15 books and collections in these areas, a series of books on fairy tale therapy commissioned by the pharmaceutical company “Solvay-Pharma”.
Despite the already existing author trainings and an impressive writing career, Natalia Sakovich decided to study in Israel. “When I had in my hands the book translated into Russian by Lenore Steinhard “Jungian Sand Psychotherapy” I just fell in love with this author and specialist. I found in her book a confirmation of how I see the art therapy process, what is close to me, a systematic approach in understanding the client’s problem field and a lot of experience,” explains Natalia. She had a dream someday to go and meet or take Lenore's course. In 2018, Natalia applied to participate in a training project on sand therapy, which was conducted by the Israel Sendplay Therapists Association (ISTA), Chairman Bert Meltzer. The training took place in Jerusalem. The audience was Russian-speaking specialists from different cities. They had the opportunity to learn sandplay therapy from professionals such as Bert Meltzer – Chairman of the Israeli Sandplay Therapists' Association (ISTA) until 2016 of the British and Irish Society of Sandplay Therapy; Israeli Association of Sandplay Therapists; International Society of Sandplay Therapists; Michal Bella Troudart is engaged in private practice and teaching at various institutions: Bar-Ilan University, the Israel Institute of Jungian Psychology, etc. In addition to training, students were given the opportunity to receive supervision from these specialists, presenting cases of their clients, their work. It was very valuable.
In June 2019, Natalia joined the sand therapy course by Lenore Steinhard, an analytical psychologist, Jungian psychotherapist, who since 1991 developed and directs the art therapy curriculum at the Kibbuth College of Education in Tel Aviv, is the ISTA representative on the ISST Council.Training received in Israel helped Natalia take a broader look at her practice. Training with Lenore Steinhard minimized concerns about the author's vision of the sand therapy process. Even before her course, Sakovich began to develop her approach in this method “Systemic Sand Therapy”, which is different from the classical one. After training, she established herself in her vision of this theory. Lenore Steinhard, with whom Natalia shared her thoughts and views on the development of the method, approved of her progress in this. Natalia has developed an author's training course within the framework of her theory and has been teaching art and sand therapists for the third year already. Psychologists simply need professional interaction and exchange, mutual training of specialists from different countries. This allows you to unfold ideas about the possibilities of art and integrate them into psychological practice, which in turn provides new opportunities for clients.
At the moment, Natalia is finishing work on the book “Systemic Sand Therapy, author's approach” in which he describes his theory and experience of his practice in this approach. The book will contain a theoretical part, in which she substantiates a systematic approach to organizing art therapy practice with clients, introduces her own typology of sand therapy (based on psychological tasks), provides a rationale for each type of sand therapy and their detailed content with examples of author's techniques and client cases.
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