Master of Arts in Art Therapy

Department

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

Degrees offered

Master's

Campuses

Main Campus

Summary

The NDMU Master of Arts in Art Therapy represents study related to one of the newest, unique specializations in the helping professions.   The Program of Study focuses on engagement with theory and processes of Art Therapy. Study weaves together counseling and psychological theory and techniques toward distinct art psychotherapy practices. This is coupled with rich practical understanding of the creative process and facility with art materials and methods aimed at advancing healing and growth for clients. 

The MA in Art Therapy was designed with an intentional focus 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 should plan to pursue licensure in order to meet requirements for practice in the field.  

Program Objectives

The Art Therapy Program, housed in Notre Dame of Maryland University’s historic Women’s College and the College of Graduate Studies, will prepare women and men for entry into the field of art therapy, with an emphasis on graduates who are strong practitioners and clinicians within the field.  Further, building on its tradition to educate students who transform their communities and work toward a culture of inclusivity and social responsibility, the program intends to have a strong emphasis on preparing clinicians who will give back to and meaningfully serve their communities, in addition to their work with clients. 

Art Therapy is an integrative mental health profession that combines knowledge and understanding of the visual arts and the creative process, as well as of human development, psychological, and counseling theories and techniques for helping clients improve cognitive abilities, psychological health, and sensory-motor functions.  Art therapists are trained in the theories of art therapy, psychotherapy, counseling, and standards of practice, assessment and evaluation, individual and group, as well as family therapy, human development, research methods, and multicultural issues.  Through the use of art media, the creative process, and often verbal processing of produced imagery, art therapists help clients manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, reduce anxiety, increase self-esteem, reconcile emotional conflicts and improve overall wellbeing. Notre Dame offers a comprehensive training program with a focus on the unique ability of art and art making to reveal thoughts and feelings, while ensuring students learn the skills involved in safely managing the reactions the creative process evokes in therapy and counseling with individuals at all stages of life. 

NDMU’s Masters in Art Therapy (MA) Program has been designed to ensure students will graduate with the necessary coursework and clinical internship hours needed for meeting the Art Therapy Credentials Board’s (ATCB) requirements for professional credentialing (ATR-BC), as well as Maryland licensure requirements (LGPAT/LCPAT). Students will submit application to the Maryland Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists as they complete their studies in demonstration that educational requirements have been met and to ask that permission be granted to allow them to sit for the licensing exam required.  Achieving a passing score on this exam, the MA graduate will be licensed as an LGPAT, gaining entry into the field and eligibility to work as an art therapist in a variety of clinical settings including hospitals, social service facilities, senior centers, government agencies, correctional facilities, schools, and community settings. Additionally, licensed art therapists have sufficient training across a variety of courses and disciplines as to be marketable not only in art therapy, but in general therapy and counseling positions, community programming, and within special education. 

The Master’s in Art Therapy is offered in a traditional face-to-face, full time or part time format in the liberal arts tradition. In the full-time format, the 64 credit Program of Study, including 1,000 total hours of practicum and internship, should be completed within three years.  Students must maintain a 3.0 (B) Cumulative Grade Point average to remain in Good Academic Standing. Students whose Cumulative Grade Point Average falls below 3.0 will be placed on Academic Probation status. Students on Academic Probation will be given three semesters (in which they register for a course) to raise their Cumulative Grade Point Average to 3.0. Failure to do so, or receiving more than two grades below a B, will result in Academic Dismissal from the graduate program. These provisions do not apply to students admitted provisionally; provisions governing that status are identified in the Letter of Admission.

NDMU is committed to preparing competent entry level Art Therapists in the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective learning domains that have been defined by the American Art Therapy Association Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education. As the curriculum is informed by the requirements set forth by the Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education for educational programs in Art Therapy, graduates will have knowledge and ability to:

      1. Understand the historical development of Art Therapy as a profession, Art Therapy theories and techniques, as a foundation for contemporary Art Therapy professional practice.
      2. Distinguish among the therapeutic benefits of a variety of art processes and media, strategies and interventions, and their applicability to the treatment process for individuals, groups, and families. 
      3. Recognize that Art Therapy, from a multicultural perspective, takes into consideration the specific values, beliefs, and actions influenced by a client’s race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, religion, socioeconomic status, political views, sexual orientation, geographic region, physical capacity or disability, and historical or current experiences within the dominant culture.
      4. Select culturally and developmentally appropriate assessment and evaluation methods and administer and interpret results to identify challenges, strengths, resilience, and resources for Art Therapy treatment planning.
      5. Develop culturally appropriate, collaborative, and productive therapeutic relationships with clients.
      6. Know federal and state laws and professional ethics as they apply to the practice of Art Therapy.
      7. Recognize and respond appropriately to ethical and legal dilemmas using ethical decision-making models, supervision, and professional and legal consultation when necessary.
      8. Recognize clients’ use of imagery, creativity, symbolism, and metaphor as a valuable means for communicating challenges and strengths and support clients’ use of art-making for promoting growth and well-being.
      9. Recognize the legal, ethical, and cultural considerations necessary when conducting Art Therapy research.
      10. Apply principles of human development, artistic and creative development, human sexuality, gender identity development, family life cycle, and psychopathology, to the assessment and treatment of clients.
      11. Understand professional role and responsibility to engage in advocacy endeavors as they relate to involvement in professional organizations and advancement of the profession.
      12. Continuously deepen self-understanding through personal growth experiences, reflective practice, and personal art-making to strengthen a personal connection to the creative process, assist in self-awareness, promote well-being, and guide professional practice.
      13. Pursue professional development through supervision, accessing current Art Therapy literature, research, best practices, and continuing educational activities to inform clinical practice. 
      14. Recognize the impact of oppression, prejudice, discrimination, and privilege on access to mental health care, and develop responsive practices that include collaboration, empowerment, advocacy, and social justice action.
      15. Understand the basic diagnostic process and the major categories and criteria of mental disorders, corresponding treatments, and commonly prescribed psychopharmacological medications.

Courses will include a balance of didactic and experiential, art media and process enriched, aspects. This intentional construction of coursework will enhance the integration of theoretical approaches with practical application.  Full time students may enroll in nine to fourteen credits during fall and spring semesters; nine credits for summer semester. Part time study is possible, though can be challenging, and study is best completed within several years. Students considering part-time study are advised to contact the Program Director to discuss the potential for mapping out clear expectations and a course of study. Classes are scheduled in the evenings and occasionally on weekends to accommodate working professionals and to allow for greater flexibility within daytime hours for practicum/internship experience. The Program will culminate with a Capstone Thesis.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Master of Arts in Art Therapy Program of Study at NDMU, applicants must have completed a BA or BS degree with a Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.  There is no GRE requirement for admission. Applicants must first complete the General Application for Graduate Admission, including the general essay, and submission of all transcripts for verification of prerequisites needed. Prerequisites are as follows:

  • A minimum of 18 credit hours in studio art including drawing (3), painting (3), and ceramics or photography (3);
  • A minimum of 12 credit hours in psychology including child/adolescent or human development and abnormal psychology; and,
  • At least 12 hours of the studio art and at least 9 hours of the psychology must be completed prior to admission with the remaining being completed within the first year of enrollment in the program.

If contacted for an interview, applicant will be expected to then provide the following:

  1. A statement of purpose in APA format detailing: affinity for working with people; motivation for pursuing career in art therapy; personal meaning of art and/or creativity in the candidate’s life; creative strengths and areas of anticipated growth.

    This essay is in addition to the general essay required for the Graduate Application.

  2. Two letters of recommendation.
  3. Art portfolio for review. Portfolio to include: minimum of 15 pieces reflecting knowledge of a range of materials (two and three dimensional media) and techniques. Actual works or high resolution photos of work acceptable. Expressive work and those not exclusively created as assignments preferred.

Admissions Requirements are consistent with the standards set forth by the American Art Therapy Association Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education and Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs

Curriculum (64 credits)

 


Courses

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. Attention 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 Therapy 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 growth 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 understanding of development as a continuum and clients' capacity for growth within 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 psychodynamic, 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 processes. Students will develop an approach sensitive to clients' and counselor's cultural backgrounds, personal philosophies, wellness, and presenting 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]

ATP-505 Internship I

Engages student in an initial embedded field experience comprised of observation and clinical practice of art therapy in an appropriate setting in regular consultation with a site supervisor and faculty supervisor. Following successful completion of this initial fieldwork (100 hours), student seamlessly begins official internship within the same setting, including enhanced clinical practice opportunities extended over time under continued on-site supervision. Weekly individual supervision is provided directly at the Internship site in addition to weekly group supervision provided at the university by art therapy faculty for shared learning and clinical consultation. Prerequisite: Enrollment in the Graduate Art Therapy Program. ATP-501 and ATP-504 will be taken prior or concurrently. [ 1 credit ]

ATP-506 Internship II

Engages student in a continuation of the field experience undertaken in Internship I. Internship II steadily builds upon initial skills and supports the student toward developing competency in diagnostic formulation and treatment planning; conducting individual and co-developing group art therapy sessions; effective observational, listening, and communication skills, including documentation and presentation; diversity issues; and evaluation of the dynamics of the treatment milieu and the role of art therapy within the setting. Skills development in these areas is steadily promoted through continued on-site clinical supervision. Weekly, individual clinical supervision is provided directly at the internship site by a licensed art therapist (LCPAT) or related licensed mental health professional. On campus, students will benefit from further integration of knowledge and skills during the seminar course taught by art therapy faculty. Prerequisite: ATP-505 and technical standards as evaluated by the Program Director; enrolled in the Graduate Art Therapy Program (MA). Corequisites: ATP-508 and ATP-509 prior to or concurrently. [ 1 credit ]

ATP-507 Assessment, Testing and Evaluation

Examines a wide range of specific art therapy procedures and tools used in therapeutic appraisal and evaluation. Exploration of the validity and reliability of art therapy assessments, related current and ongoing research with regard to art based appraisal, and parameters as to the extent to which assessments inform a client's diagnostic profile and impact treatment planning will be a focus. Report writing and understanding of rudimentary statistical concepts will be included. Attention will also be given to cultural, ethical, developmental, and legal consideration in administration and interpretation of art therapy and related mental health assessments and exams. Skills will be demonstrated for conducting bio-psychosocial assessment, mental status exam, and substance abuse disorder assessments.  Prerequisite: Enrolled in the Graduate Art Therapy Program (MA). [ 3 credits ]

ATP-508 Psychopathology: Art and Diagnosis

Examines major categories of psychiatric diagnoses using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) multiaxial system, as well as theories of psychopathology. Students will engage further through examination of relevant literature and develop skills involved in the evaluation of potential art-based and behavioral indicators of mental disorders and the process of differential diagnosis. Ethical considerations and the effects that culture and society have on individuals with mental illness will be highlighted. A basic introduction to psychopharmacology will be included in the course, as well as ongoing conceptual developments in neuroscience. Prerequisite: Enrolled in the Graduate Art Therapy Program (MA). [3 credits ]

ATP-509 Process: Art Therapy and Counseling

Engages student in a deep, experiential understanding of the creative process as essential to practice of art therapy and how one might view and integrate counseling theories through such a lens. Students will practice counseling skills through course based role play opportunities and will explore and practice incorporating art therapy skills within the practice of establishing and developing the therapeutic relationship. This integration will challenge students to apply knowledge of creativity, symbolism, metaphor, and artistic language within the therapeutic relationship and to demonstrate belief in the value of using art making as a means to exploring self. Multicultural considerations, as well as application within group and individual formats, will be interwoven in the course material. Prerequisite: ATP-504, Art Therapy in Counseling and enrolled in the Graduate Art Therapy Program (MA). [ 3 credits ]

ATP-510 Creative Techniques and Materials of Art Therapy

Explores traditional and non-traditional art therapy. Experiential study of current research, including the Expressive Therapies Continuum, regarding the properties and effects of art processes and materials and their use in treatment with particular client populations will be undertaken. Students will integrate psychological properties and stimulus potential of a wide range of art materials with skills in the provision of art making processes and materials in an ethical, safe, and culturally informed way. Discussion of technology applications relevant to art therapy will be included. Consideration of best practices for adaptation of materials and methods for greater accessibility in work with individuals with disabilities will be incorporated. Contraindications for use of various materials and methods and the benefits and contraindications of public display of client art will also be explored. Additionally, through this course and engagement with varied media, students will explore personal and professional artistic identity and personal symbolic language. Prerequisite: Enrolled in Graduate Art Therapy Program. [ 3 credits ]

ATP-510 Creative Techniques and Materials

Explores traditional and non-traditional art
art therapy. Experiential study of current
research, including the Expressive Therapies
Continuum, regarding the properties and effects
of art processes and materials and their use in
treatment with particular client populations will
be undertaken. Students will integrate
psychological properties and stimulus potential
of a wide range of art materials with skills in
the provision of art making processes and
materials in an ethical, safe, and culturally
informed way. Discussion of technology
applications relevant to art therapy will be
included. Consideration of best practices for
adaptation of materials and methods for greater
accessibility in work with individuals with
disabilities will be incorporated.
Contraindications for use of various materials
and methods and the benefits and
contraindications of public display of client art
will also be explored. Additionally, through this
course and engagement with varied media, students
will explore personal and professional artistic
identity and personal symbolic language.
Prerequisite: Enrolled in Graduate Art Therapy
Program. [ 3 credits ]

ATP-510 Creative Techniques and Materials

Explores traditional and non-traditional art
art therapy. Experiential study of current
research, including the Expressive Therapies
Continuum, regarding the properties and effects
of art processes and materials and their use in
treatment with particular client populations will
be undertaken. Students will integrate
psychological properties and stimulus potential
of a wide range of art materials with skills in
the provision of art making processes and
materials in an ethical, safe, and culturally
informed way. Discussion of technology
applications relevant to art therapy will be
included. Consideration of best practices for
adaptation of materials and methods for greater
accessibility in work with individuals with
disabilities will be incorporated.
Contraindications for use of various materials
and methods and the benefits and
contraindications of public display of client art
will also be explored. Additionally, through this
course and engagement with varied media, students
will explore personal and professional artistic
identity and personal symbolic language.
Prerequisite: Enrolled in Graduate Art Therapy
Program. [ 3 credits ]

ATP-511 Art Therapy with Children and Adolescents

Explores the practical, theoretical, and ethical considerations involved in treating diverse children and adolescents using art therapy in a variety of clinical and educational settings. Appraisal of developmental level, identification of clinical treatment issues through administration of the Kramer assessment, and application of art therapy techniques specifically designed for children and adolescents of varying ability will be the focus of coursework. Crisis and trauma informed art therapy interventions for children and adolescents, as well as appraisal of self-harm and suicidal indicators in the art and behaviors of children and adolescents will also be addressed. Prerequisite: Enrolled in the Graduate Art Therapy Program. [ 3 credits ]

ATP-512 Internship III

Engages student in a continuation of professional competency development begun during the first academic year of graduate study linked to seminar courses Internship I and II. Within a new, second academic year placement, Internship III focuses on advancing skills in continued domains and supports the student toward advancing competency in: diagnostic  formulation and informed, collaborative treatment planning; critically constructing, conducting, and evaluating outcomes of art therapy treatment; critical observational and listening skills; clear, professionally collaborative communication skills, including facilitation of art based dialogue, documentation and presentation; cultural considerations; and critical evaluation of the dynamics of the treatment milieu and maintaining the role of art therapy within the setting. Skill development in these areas is steadily promoted through continued on-site clinical supervision. Weekly, individual clinical supervision is provided directly at the internship site by a licensed art therapist (LCPAT) or related licensed mental health professional. On campus, students will benefit from further integration of knowledge and skills during the seminar course taught by art therapy faculty. Prerequisites: ATP-501, ATP-502, ATP-503, ATP-504, ATP-505, ATP-506, ATP-507, ATP-508, APT-509 and enrolled in the Graduate Art Therapy Program. Students will take ATP-514, Group Therapy Techniques in Art Therapy andATP-513, Art Psychotherapy and Trauma prior or concurrently with course. [ 1 credit ]

ATP-513 Art Psychotherapy & Trauma

Provides a specialized examination of the theory, biopsychosocial underpinnings, and treatment of trauma-related issues and disorders. Various forms of trauma will be defined and the science of and personal impacts of traumatic stress will be explored. Study of art-based indicators of trauma and treatment through art therapy, will be central, introducing students to trauma-informed art therapy practice that integrates body-mind through the creative process and imagery. Culturally informed modalities and methods will be highlighted. Procedures for reporting and responding to acute crisis will be addressed. The importance of self-care for the professional will also be a focus. Prerequisite: ATP-508, Psychopathology: Art and Diagnosis and enrolled in the Graduate Art Therapy Program. [ 3 credits ]

ATP-514 Group Therapy Techniques in Art Therapy

Develops students' skills toward integrating theory, processes, and dynamics of group work to form and facilitate ethically and culturally responsive art therapy groups. Principles of group purpose, design, and goal setting as related to the population served will be a focus. Group dynamics, therapeutic factors, member roles, leadership, group composition including selection criteria, the essential communicative role of art within the group, and time-limited, as well as long term group processes will be explored. Course will include instructor facilitated experiential art therapy group practices integrating theory and practice, leading to students then taking on leadership roles in class to practice running groups and further examine group dynamics. Prerequisites: ATP-509, Process: Art Therapy and Counseling Techniques and enrolled in the Graduate Art Therapy Program. [ 3 credits ]

ATP-515 Research Methods

Examines the purposes, methods, and cultural, legal, and ethical considerations of social science research in support of students demonstrating the requisite skills to design and conduct of study. Specific art-based research methodologies related to the field of art therapy will be taught, as well as qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches. Additionally, the use of research to assess effectiveness of art therapy and mental health services will be explored. Students are expected to critically read and apply art therapy research literature to develop and submit a proposal to conduct art therapy research in accordance with university requirements, namely the IRB process. Prerequisites: ATP-507-50 Assessment, Testing and Evaluation and enrolled in the Graduate Art Therapy Program. [ 3 credits ]

ATP-516 Art Therapy and Substance Use Disorder Counseling

Explores the application of art therapy when treating and supporting those struggling with substance use disorders and addiction. Students will be introduced to the etiology, theories, biophysical roots and risk factors, and treatment models specific to the field of substance use disorders counseling. Students will revisit and deepen practical knowledge of screening assessment for substance use disorders, as well as differential diagnosis supported by art process and product. Culturally sensitive art therapy techniques employed in the treatment of substance use disorders with adolescents and adults in a variety of treatment settings will be identified and explored. Instruction as to accessing and referral processes for community resources toward integrated, wellness-oriented care will also be included. Prerequisites: ATP-507, APT 508, ATP-509, ATP-510, ATP-511, ATP-513, ATP-514 and must be enrolled in the Graduate Art Therapy Program. [ 3 credits ]