Graduate Art Therapy Courses

Art Therapy Core Content

ATP 520 History and Theory of Art Therapy – 3 credits

This course provides a foundational examination of the definitions, theoretical keystones, and historical and current trends within the field of art therapy.  Course topics include psychotherapeutic theories, techniques and rationale of practice and the development of art therapy as a distinct therapeutic practice.

ATP 533 Seminar: Family Systems – 3 credits

This course focuses on the principles of art therapy work with couples and families including an overview of systems theories and stages of family life cycle development.  Contemporary definitions of “family” are explored as well as expression of family dynamics and treatment through creative approaches..

ATP 539 The Studio as a Therapeutic Environment – 3 credits

This course provides direct experience of a studio model in art therapy and will focus on self-exploration in an open studio environment. Students will explore varied art media properties used in the context of art therapy with varied populations and will investigate how different materials can promote and inspire the creative process.  Students will gain a better understanding of an artist as therapist approach to art therapy treatment.

ATP 547 Investigations in the Treatment of Trauma – 3 credits

This course presents information on the physical, psychological, emotional and social causes of trauma.  Topics of resiliency and application of creative therapy techniques with various client populations including rationale of art media properties will be explored.

ATP 549 Cultural Perspectives – 3 credits

This course will provide experiential exploration of aspects of cultural diversity and personal heritage including gender, race, ethnicity, class, religion, sexual orientation, and disability.  Considerations of biases and stereotypes that interfere with effective treatment are addressed as they relate to the development of a therapeutic relationship.

ATP 552 Group Process in Art Therapy – 3 credits

This course provides students with an introduction to the theory and methods of group work in art therapy.  Students will develop an experiential understanding of group art therapy and counseling methods including processing skills as related to imagery.  Principles of group dynamics, therapeutic factors, member roles and behaviors, and leadership styles will be explored as related to short and long-term treatment.

ATP 555 Professional Ethics for Art Therapists – 3 credits

In this course students explore basic legal and ethical standards of practice in art therapy.  Responsibilities relating to the use of client artwork in presentation, publication, and exhibition are emphasized.  Navigating the role of the art therapist within the structures of professional identity, credentialing and licensure, public policy and advocacy for clients and for the profession will form the basis for discussion.

ATP 559 Artistic Development across the Lifespan – 3 credits

This course explores symbolic expression and stages of artistic development across the lifespan including visual aspects, psychological parallels, theories of development and cultural and environmental influences.  Developmental phases from typical progressions to deterioration of graphic representations will inform effective art interventions and materials as related to the developmental abilities of individuals.

ATP 572 Art Therapy in the Treatment of Addictions – 3 credits

This course is designed to educate the student about the dynamics of addictions, including the cycle, resistance and an individual’s recovery from a range of addictions including drugs, alcohol, sexual addiction, eating disorders, self-harm, and gambling.  The inclusion of art therapy as a treatment modality will be the main focus of this course along with creative alternatives such as poetry, drama, movement, and music. 

ATP 575 Theories of Assessment in Art Therapy – 3 credits

This course will explore the fundamental legal and ethical issues regarding art therapy evaluations.  Emphasis on formal instruments used in assessment practices from art therapy and related fields will be presented and discussed including statistical concepts of reliability and validity, selection and administration of the assessment tool, effects of cultural factors, documentation, and formulation of treatment goals.  Discussion will include how images illustrate participant strengths and approaches to life tasks as well as how levels of psychological health and physical, emotional, and intellectual development are manifested in artwork and art making processes.

ATP 610, 602, 603, 604 Fieldwork/Group Supervision – 3 credits each

This course provides the student with an opportunity to explore field experience and develop art therapy clinical skills within a structured group supervision setting.  The student will participate in weekly group supervision where the focal questions from the students’ practicum are addressed.  There will be a structured format for the discussion of problems, challenges, and successes in the practicum experience.  Supervision by the on-site master’s level art therapist or related professional is required and will be combined with support and guidance from the course instructor.  Each class session will include the development of skills in clear, focused supervision questions and responsive art making to develop the student’s ability to receive and make use of feedback from peers and supervisors.

ATP 620 Culminating Project: Case Study – 3 credits

Related Content

ATP 501 Research Methods for the Art Therapist – 3 credits

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of research methodologies with exploration in qualitative and quantitative methods, including basic theories, principles, and techniques.   Students will learn how to critically evaluate and apply the implications of research to the practice of art therapy. 

ATP 505 Systems of Psychotherapy – 3 credits

This course addresses the integration of verbal and nonverbal counseling methods within the practice of art therapy.  Empathic listening, assessment skills, and treatment planning are emphasized, along with ethical standards and cultural competence.

ATP 534 Psychopathology – 3 credits

This course covers the development, symptoms, and patterns of maladjusted behavior.  Criteria of psychiatric diagnoses as related to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, theories of psychopathology, typical development and relevant literature will be introduced.  The goals of the course are for students to evaluate abnormal behavior and personality theories as related to ethical, cultural and environmental influences as well as from a multidisciplinary framework in order to better understand individual strengths and mental health processes.

Studio Content

ART 535, 536, 537 Advanced Studio Problems – 3 credits each

The course content will provide an open forum for students, together with their peers and faculty, to discuss and critique each other’s works in progress as well as after completion.  These in-depth critiques are aimed to have students understand and reflect each other’s artistic approach, ideas presented in their work, overall methodology, material and spatial realization, and contemporary cultural context.  The aim of the Group Critique sessions is to provide a forum for productive and respectful engagement of ideas.  Students are encouraged to work toward defining a series of philosophical positions as they reflect upon their own work and that of their peers.  To support this process the course instructor will introduce strategies for catalyzing interaction among students.