Tuesday, 27 March 2018



The consistency of the sand is an essential and fundamental requirement of a well functioning CUSTTAD room. The sand should be damp enough to be able to be moved, moulded and shaped by the child. If it is not then the whole experience of making a scene in the sand tray is diminished - and even spoiled completely.

There is nothing special about a pen that is incapable of leaving clear well defined marks on a Talk and Draw sheet. A well prepared CUSTTAD Trainee or worker who discovers that the pen in a CUSTTAD room they are using for training (or for meeting with a child as a worker) is not adequate will do something about it.

Returning for a further session to the same room with the expectation that the pen will have been replaced in the interim by someone else is not an acceptable option.

This is a profoundly important element in the CUSTTAD approach and if it is presented to the child without complete confidence the child is unlikely to fully grasp how the room functions - and the experience for both the child and the worker is likely to become muddled.

A Trainee should be able to present the script without a moments hesitation. It should have been practised not only in any training session but gone over repeatedly e.g. when having a shower, making a meal and walking the dog. It requires as much attention as you give to learning to drive a car - and presenting the script well is the equivalent of taking your car out on a motor way for the first time. You do not go there until you are completely confident about what you are doing.

We have received several submissions which leave us in doubt about how well the room and the procedures have been presented to a child.

And closely associated with an inadequate presentation of the script is what to do about it. And there should be absolutely no mention or suggestion of the child NOT UNDERSTANDING. The child is hearing about how the room works for the first time. The trainee is supposed to know how it works and be very well prepared for the session.

If a worker senses that their first presentation is in any way muddled and the child seems uncertain about how to proceed at Talk and Draw and Making a Tray (or both) there is only one remedy. The Trainee takes full responsibility for any possible confusion and immediately (if it is obvious they have made a right mess of it) or at the beginning of the next session states clearly that they want to explain again how the room works - as it may be they did not do it very well the first time.