Art Therapy (Major)

Art Department

Cathy Goucher, MA, ATR-BC, LCPC, LCPAT

Degrees offered



Main Campus

The NDMU Bachelor of Arts in Art Therapy represents study related to one of the newest, unique specializations in the helping professions.   The Program of Study includes the study of studio art, photography and art history, and a psychology curriculum stressing a sequence of counseling, therapy, and developmental psychology classes.  A practicum in the student's senior year will provide a clinical experience orientation.

The BA in Art Therapy was designed to promote and support the advancement of women in a field in which many women express interest and where state and regional need is growing in hospitals, schools, and community health endeavors.

Students who enroll in the bachelor’s degree Program of Study should plan to pursue the master’s degree toward licensure at NDMU or other universities in order to meet requirements for practice in the field.  

Four-Year Plan

Below is a sample Program of Study for full-time Art Therapy Majors. Students should consult with the Program Coordinator for their academic plans as many courses are offered on alternating years.

First year      
ENG 101 College Writing 3 PSY 203 Child and Adolescent Psychology 3
PSY-101 Introduction to Psychology 4 ART 102 Color and Design 3
NDMU-100 First-Year Seminar 4 MA 215 Statistics 3
ART-101 Drawing I 3 ART 120 or 121 Art History 3
Foreign Language Requirement 3 Foreign Language Requirement 3
[17 credits]    [15 credits]  
Second year      
PHL 201 Introduction to Philosopy 3 ATH 2xx Introduction to Art Therapy 3
PSY 210 Research Methods 4 RST 201 Introduction to Biblical Studies 3
PSY 205 Theories of Personality 3 PSY 233 Human Growth and Development 3
ART 103 Three-diminsional Art 3 Natural Science Requirement 4
Foreign Language Requirement 3 Basic or Digital Photography 3
[16 credits]   [16 credits]  
Third year      
ART 142 Painting I 3 ART 202 Painting II 3
PSY 207 Psychopathology 3 PSY 306 Theo. and Tech. of Couns. and Psyc. 3
ART 201 or 321 Drawing 4 COM 106 Fundamentals of Oral Communication 3
ATH 3xx Art Therapy: Theory and Practice  3 UL Philosophy Course 3
Literature Requirement 3 Gender Studies Gen Ed Requirement 3
[16 credits] Physical Education Requirement 1
  [16 credits]  
Fourth year      
ART 204 Watercolor Painting 3 ATH 4xx Practicum in Art Therapy 4
PSY 409 Psychometrics 3 ART 301 Drawing III 3
ATH 4xx Senior Capstone 3 Values Gen Ed Requirement 3
UL Religious Studies Course 3 History Gen Ed Requirement 3
General Elective 3 Cross-Cultural Studies Gen Ed Requirement 3
[15 credits] [16 credits]


           *Some courses meet more than one general education requirement.

          **Depending on the level of foreign language proficiency, three to nine credits are required.

 Additional information on the Master of Arts in Art Therapy

The co-ed Master of Arts in Art Therapy meets a regional and national need for more practitioners in one of the important contemporary helping professions.  Students may enroll in the 60-credit Program of Study on a full- or part-time basis.  The Program includes advanced courses in counseling and therapeutic techniques, creative art-making modalities specific to art therapy and advanced courses in painting, ceramics, sculpture, and photography.  Courses are offered in on-ground and hybrid formats.  In addition, substantial clinical hours are required at off-site externships.  Art therapists serve in a number of hospital, school, and community health settings. 

The Program received approval from the Maryland Higher Education Commission in Fall 2017.

The University is actively pursuing accreditation status for this program.  The course of study is aligned with licensure requirements.


ATP-201 Introduction to Art Therapy

Explores the discipline of Art Therapy through a critical theoretical framework along with examining empirical evidence while providing an overview of Art Therapy as a discipline. The discipline of Art Therapy, its influences, its history, then nature of the discipline, and applications to clinical practice will be explored. This course will also focus on the developmental and healing aspects of art and the creative process, as well as an understanding of the basic principles of how our unconscious thoughts reach expression in images rather than words that can be used in clinical practice. Students will engage in art making experiences as a means to explore the creative process and its relationship to the psychological and emotional self and to understand the relationship of art making to the treatment process. Prerequisites: PSY-101. [3 credits]

ATP-310 Art Therapy Theory and Practice

Engages students in tangible exporation of the symbiotic, therapeutically significant relationship between art and psychology through didactic instruction and art-based experientials. Professional art therapists working in a variety of settings in the region will serve as guest lecturers, providing clarity as to the therapeutic needs of their clients, goals of Art Therapy with these populations, and demonstrations of their approaches. Materials and methods will be emphasized throughout the course and synthesized with supporting pschological theory and practice relative to the treatment populations explored. Development of emphatic responsiveness and self-awareness through experiential learning, small group and dyadic collaboration, and written and art-based self-reflection will be central. Prerequisite: ATP-201. [3 credits]

ATP-501 History and Theory of Art Therapy

Explores the rich underpinnings of the field of Art Therapy predating its formal establishment as a discipline, including psychiatric interest in spontaneous image creation and the  relationship to behavior, psychiatric condition, and expression of experience. Through examination of historical texts and theory, as well as examination of contemporary literature and research in the field, students will gain understanding of the history and development of the discipline of Art Therapy and how it is practiced today within clinical and community based settings. Attetion will also be given to how both the process and product of Art Therapy are integral to growth and healing for clients.  Students will work toward understanding how art "speaks" and how internal experiences find expression through creative materials and provide products that promote interpersonal connection and psychologically restorative  opportunities. Art making in and outside of class will provide a critical means through which students learn how the creative process is informed by and is an expression of the self and one's internal, psychological experiences. This course is a prerequisite to all other graduate Art Therapy courses. Prerequisite: Enrolled in Graduate Art Theraphy Program (MA). [3 credits]

ATP-502 Professional Ethics and Legal Issues

Integrates understanding of ethical, professional, and legally informed practices toward development of professional identity as an Art Therapist. Examines service provision and ethical decision making in mental health, educational, medical, and community-based settings. The critical roles of supervision, documentation, collaboration with related service professionals, advocacy for client needs and for the profession of Art Therapy, and professional organizations and credentialing agencies will be explored. Prerequisite: Enrolled in Graduate Art Therapy Program (MA). Corequisites: required with or prior to ATP-501 and practicum or internship.  [3 credits]

ATP-503 Human Development and Art Therapy

Examines the stages of human groth and development and offers students opportunity to scaffold assessment and treatment of typical and atypical individuals across the lifespan.  Study of normative developmental stages of art will provide students a contextual les for assessing and considering how atypical development might be therapeutically addressed. Students will additionally consider the influences of culture upon an individual or family's growth and development. Students will gain and demonstrate uderstanding of development as a continuum and clients' capacity for growth withinin the continuum across the lifespan. Prerequisite: Enrolled in Graduate Art Therapy Program (MA).  ATP-502 taken previously or concurrently.  [3 credits]

ATP-504 Art Therapy in Counseling

Explores various theoretical approaches including psychodnamic, cognitive/behavioral, and humanistic approaches along with current counseling trends and their relation to art psychotherapy approaches, emphasizing integration. Introduces and provides initial opportunity, via in class experiential exercises, for practice of establishing and developing the therapeutic relationship through verbal and art mediated counseling proccesses. Students will develop an approach sensitive to clients' and counselors cultural backgrounds, personal philosophies, wellness, and presenteing needs. Case presentations and experiential exercises will guide class discussions. Students will articulate their own developing theoretical orientations. Prerequisite: Enrolled in Graduate Art Therapy Program (MA). ATP-501 taken previously or concurrently. [3 credits]