Dee Preston Dillon, PH.D

Dee Preston Dillon, PH.D is the Continuing Education Director of Starbright Training Institute.


Dee Preston Dillon, PH.D

Dee Preston-Dillon, M.A., Ph.D, founder of the Center for Culture and Sandplay, clinician educator, and professor of psychology, for 45 years Dee infused creativity into her graduate counseling and clinical psychology courses. Her cross-cultural research compared Jungian conceptualization of sand scenes with three indigenous perspectives. She completed her process in Sandplay in the early 1980s.

Dee has presented at over 40 local, national, and international conferences on clinical use of symbols in sand. She developed Likert scales for therapist competency with Sand Therapy; a set of twelve scales assessing skills and dispositions to understand and respond to sand scenes. She holds that therapists should develop a keen awareness of their own visceral and intuitive experience, attune to layers of meaning . . . be an alert gatekeeper and attentive witness during all work with sand, and remain mindful of client safety and depth while engaging symbols in sand.

Grounding therapeutic skills in humanistic and existential philosophies, integrating neuropsychology with narrative and therapeutic metaphors, Dee encourages clinicians to immerse in an exploration of meaning in their own sand scenes, to enhance creative process and flow prior to experimenting with clients. Emphasizing symbols in sand as a projective process, Dee demonstrates ways to reclaim voice during case consultation, small training groups, and staff retreats. Dee’s online course, Sand Therapy Competencies Level I, is a 6-part course integrating theory, ethics, with teletherapy demonstrations.

An affiliate faculty for the George Washington and Johns Hopkins’ graduate counseling and art therapy programs, Dee presents on trauma in sand scenes for the Forentz Institute, and teaches the Advanced Clinical Sand Therapy certificate program through Maryland’s College Park Youth Services. A master’s in counseling from the University of Northern Colorado, a doctorate in psychology from Saybrook Graduate School, San Francisco, her work with clinicians is an active engagement to validate clinician insights and extend their capacity to resonate with client representations in sand scenes.