Dr. Roz Heiko

Dr. Roz Heiko

I work with therapists to navigate the deep waters of our work through Sandplay, a process that creates a restorative space for stories to come to life for clients and therapists alike.

On any given day, I am speaking to a group of therapists overseas about the meaning of symbolic play, putting together a training on therapeutic presence and courage, or writing a journal article on aspects of case consultation.

I specialize in working with brave therapists looking to revitalize their own practices by introducing them to Sandplay. This training and consultation is for both beginning and seasoned mental health professionals who are looking to offer clients a more deeply engaged, nuanced and creative approach to conventional therapies.

I believe in preparing others for the beauty of the breakthrough moment, moments that come when children and families experience the power of Sandplay for the first time and begin to conquer their own definition of impossible.
for the first time and begin to conquer their own definition of impossible.

In my clinical practice,

I might be working with:

  • a teen on their Sandplay journaling and dreamwork,
  • gently guiding a client through their first clinical hypnosis session,
  • or introducing a child to the benefits of EMDR therapy and guided imagery.

My schedule rarely looks the same from one day to the next – and I like it that way! I work with brave people who wish to explore their emotions with someone who provides competency-based, compassionate services in a sheltered and respectful therapeutic environment. I don’t set out to “fix” my clients, but rather, help them express their own emotions in order to get to a place of self-confidence and strength.

I’ve worked with

  • children, teens
  • adults
  • and families.

…for over 40 years, beginning during my college years at Syracuse University. Since then, I’ve had the privilege of teaching at such institutions as UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State, while also serving organizations like the Sandplay Therapists of America and the NC Psychology Association. As a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor and Sandplay Teacher, I mentor and train therapists nationally and internationally. In terms of my love for writing, I authored A Therapist’s Guide to Mapping the Girl Heroine’s Journey in Sandplay (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018); and am one of the editors with Janet C. Courtney for the forthcoming book Nature-Based Play and Expressive Therapies (Routledge, March 2022), additionally publishing chapters in books edited by Eliana Gil, Grayson & Fraser, and Eric Green.

I am presently on the Executive Board of the World Association of Sand Therapy Professionals, committed to educate and equip mental health professionals to provide an ethical practice of sand therapy to clientele through research support, education, community building, and empirically based standards of practice, as part of an inclusive global community which honors this healing practice.

When I’m not in the office

I love to sing – a passion of mine since childhood. Although I strived to become an opera singer, and was even accepted to the Manhattan School of Music, I knew that a life of waitressing (and juggling plates!) was not my forte. I’ve given up that dream for now, but I believe I’ve stepped into one much better suited for me. I get to transform lives and rekindle spirits every day, and for that, I’m grateful. Playing with my grandchildren is one of my greatest joys, along with yoga, reading, and daily walks with my Cavvie.

To learn more about my background and credentials