Hello. I'm Lara Kasza [pronounced kash-a!]
I am the creator of SandStory Therapy® and a Creative Arts Therapist using the medium of sand and symbols. I work with amazing Therapists and Counsellors seeking a safe space for personal development.
I have a beautiful and spacious SandStory Centre in North West London [Stanmore] where I also offer Training, Supervision and Coaching in SandStory Therapy®, SandStory Skills® and SandStory Supervision®.
I also work online and during this time of a global pandemic, can often be found at my desk with a coffee - so feel free to grab one yourself [or a tipple of your choice - no judgement!] and maybe a choccy biscuit ... and stay a while.
Before I reached this time in 2020, I had 3 other careers!
In my 20's, I explored a drawing to the contemplative life and spent 6 profoundly life-changing years in an enclosed monastery of Discalced Carmelite nuns in Notting Hill, London.
There I encountered "the ground of Being" [Tillich] through being deeply present within.
I have the wonderful community, the Prioress at the time and the writings of my favourite Carmelite saint Elizabeth of the Trinity to thank for that.
It was an extraordinary 'journey' of un-doing and a gradual coming together, an anastasis of my true Self from the core of my being. Words really do fail here ...
Leaving Carmel in 2000 was a pioneering experience in itself - the world had changed radically as I emerged into it and turned 30. In 2009, an award-winning film by Michael Whyte was made about life in the monastery I had lived in called No Greater Love. It was moving to see the nuns I had known and loved, see the corridors I had walked and the peaceful Chapel I had spent so many hours in.
My second career, however, was waiting for me and I became Assistant and then Director of the Westminster Diocesan Deaf Service near Westminster Cathedral in Victoria.
I learned British Sign Language [BSL] up to Level 2 and loved communicating in sign the beauty of the Mass and other services to the Catholic Deaf community.
My third career began when I became a mother to my best-beloved son and recognised the power of a secure attachment. I became eager to learn about childhood psychological development and wellbeing and, in time, qualified as an Accredited Play & Creative Arts Therapist [PTUK].
I worked in both hearing and Deaf primary schools using the BSL I knew and completed a Masters researching the effectiveness of Play Therapy with Deaf Children from an attachment perspective - for which I was awarded a distinction, much to my joy!
I went on to qualify as a Senior Clinical Supervisor and thoroughly enjoyed supporting the growth of extraordinary Play Therapists.
I also undertook teaching through APAC, PTUK's teaching body, offering the Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills in London, Manchester and Cambridge, validated by Canterbury ChristChurch University and Leeds Beckett University .
I also spent 3 years teaching a blended online Masters in Play Therapy as the Course Director and Academic Supervisor, liaising with the various Universities and the Exam Boards as well as supporting the team of Academic Supervisors.
My current, fourth career began in 2014 as a response to a gentle nagging, a constant soul-tugging that had grown from my passion for sand as a gentle, yet unmistakably powerful medium for therapeutic change. This began in my training as a Play Therapist and developed through watching the experience of my young clients.
I went on to train and qualify as a Registered SandPlay Therapist [with Eunice Stagg, AST] and then underwent excellent training in SandTray Therapy [with Kirsty Bilski in Wales].
It was in response to the adult clients who came to see me that I forged the union of both SandPlay and SandTray approaches into the 'love-child' that is SandStory Therapy®.
Qualifications & Registration
I am a member of BACP [the British Association Of Counselling and Psychotherapy] and am on the BACP Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists [registration number 174056] accredited by the Professional Standards Authority [PSA] for Health and Social Care, an independent body accountable to Government.
The BACP Register of Counsellors & Psychotherapists is a public record of therapists who have met BACP's standards for registration. These standards cover training, supervision, continuing professional development and a commitment to BACP's Ethical Framework.
Along with other professionals also on the PSA Register, I was invited to be in their film which explains in a clear and succinct way what the Register means - please take a look by clicking:
I hold a current DBS and indemnity insurance; I am clinically supervised by an experienced and qualified Supervisor and undergo annual CPD training to deepen my knowledge and ensure the safety and effectiveness of my practice.
Phew! That's about it.
You've made it to the end - and either your coffee has gone cold or you've drained the dregs of your cup.
I hope you feel that what I offer is a good fit for you. Contacts below - I hope to connect with you soon.