Graduate Art Therapy Courses

Required Content

ATP 501 Research Design and Methodology – 3 credits

This course is designed to teach students the fundamental principles of scientific methodology as applied to clinical phenomena.  The course is intended to provide students with the ability to be critical consumers of research in the field of art therapy, to enable them to think scientifically and apply this mindset to evaluation of clinical work. Upon completion of this course, students will have gained experience in writing a research proposal, translating research problems into testable hypotheses, and considering ethical, professional, and diversity issues related to conducting research with human participants.

ATP 505 Theories and Systems of Counseling Psychology – 3 credits

This course is designed to teach students the fundamental tenets of counseling psychology by providing students with a strong theoretical basis backed by the history of the profession.  This course is intended to provide students with the ability to apply a theoretical framework from which they can conceptualize their clients. Psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, behavioral and affective theories will be established with consideration of ethical, professional, and diversity issues related to the therapy process.

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 Family Art Therapy – 3 credits

This course focuses on the integration of art therapy theories and processes with family systems theory. Students will utilize both didactic and experiential learning methods to explore the use of art therapy within a family context. The course includes an overview of historical and more recent approaches to using art therapy with families. Ethical and cultural issues specific to family therapy are also addressed.

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.

ATP 539 The Studio as a Therapeutic Environment – 3 credits

This course provides direct experience of a studio model in art therapy as students explore their own creativity and inner experience as the subject matter. Students will develop an understanding of the levels of human consciousness to transform individuals and build community. Students will also learn the theoretical orientations specific to 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 based on the most current principles of neuroscience and trauma theory with various client populations will be explored.

ATP 549 Cultural Perspectives in Art Therapy – 3 credits

This course is designed to increase awareness and develop therapeutic skills and treatment approaches with diverse populations. Students will creatively explore aspects of personal heritage and implications that culture, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, geographic region, physical capacity or disability, political views, religion and social status play in effective treatment of individuals, families and communities. Students will examine their cultural identities and identify socio-cultural biases and values and develop the ability to critically understand existing theory and practice from an intersectional pedagogy lens. Students will study issues of power, privilege and oppression as they apply to the therapeutic relationship, including historical and cultural experiences within the dominant culture.

ATP 552 Group Art Therapy – 3 credits

This course will provide an experiential opportunity for students to explore art therapy methods in a group setting.  Students will develop processing skills related to images and metaphor and will explore principles of group dynamics and leadership styles.  Reading and class discussions will explore the varying types of groups including support groups, short-term, time limited, and long-term therapy groups as well as art therapy practices that best support a group’s function. 

ATP 555 Professional Ethics for Art Therapists – 3 credits

This class will cover the basic concepts of ethics and professional practice in art therapy. Specific focus will be on a clear understanding and application of the ethical standards in the field of art therapy and in the larger world of mental health and human services. Clarity regarding credentials and licensure will be covered. Students will also be exposed to professional development and job issues and post-graduate training and supervision. Multi-cultural and diversity issues within counseling and art therapy will be interwoven in terms of ethical and practice dimensions as specifically related to a studio model of art therapy.

ATP 559 Artistic Development across the Lifespan – 3 credits

This course explores symbolic expression through the stages of human growth and artistic development across the lifespan including visual aspects, neurological parallels, theories of development, and situational and environmental influences. Multicultural constructs will be the basis for investigating developmental phases from typical progressions to deterioration of graphic representations.   Ethical and legal considerations of psychopathology, addictions, issues of disability and exceptionality, and factors that affect human development will inform effective art interventions and materials that support an individual’s strengths. 

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 the profession of art therapy will be presented and discussed including statistical concepts of reliability and validity, selection and administration of the assessment tool, effects of cultural and legal factors, documentation, and formulation of relevant 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 620 Culminating Project – 3 credits

The culminating project (CP) demonstrates the integration of the student’s theoretical knowledge and clinical internship experience.  The final project provides a forum for the student to demonstrate critical thinking applications and responsive art making practices important to the identity of the professional art therapist.  Proposals for the CP are submitted and approved in the semester prior to enrollment in the course.  Students ideally register for ATP 620 during the final spring semester of their program with plans to complete the project in conjunction with their final internship experience through the ATP 604 course.  The work will consist of three sections including 1) a literature review, 2) a case example, and 3) a creative enquiry. The work or portions of it may be shared in a public forum as deemed appropriate by the faculty advisor and program director. 

Internship Experiences

ATP 601, 602, 603, 604 Internship/Group Supervision – 3 credits each

These courses provide the student with an opportunity to develop art therapy clinical skills through cumulative internship experiences and to further explore applications of art therapy practice within a structured classroom setting.  The student will participate in weekly group supervision during which time focal questions from the students’ internship will be addressed.  There will be a structured format for the discussion of problems, challenges, and successes presented in class during the internship experience. 


ATP 535 Art Therapy 2D Materials and Methods – 3 credits

The course content will cover various media and methodology of creating and reviewing 2-D art.  The class will provide an open forum for graduate students, together with their peers and faculty, to discuss and review each other’s works in progress as well as after completion.  Group review sessions will provide an opportunity for productive and respectful engagement of ideas.  A research approach to the Visual Arts will be introduced and implemented. Multi-cultural art will be explored and serve as a source for student art-making.

ATP 536 Art Therapy 3D Materials and Methods – 3 credits

The course content will provide an opportunity for art-based exploration in 3-D materials. In-depth reviews are aimed to have students understand and reflect upon each other’s artistic approach, overall methodology, significance of materials used, and how materials could best be used working with a variety of populations. Commitment to personal and archetypal imagery is also explored as part of one’s identity as an artist for the purpose of creating a therapeutic community.

ATP 537 Advanced Topics in Art Therapy Material and Methods – 3 credits

The course content will introduce various creative modalities for an interdisciplinary approach to therapy.  The class will provide an open forum for graduate students, together with their peers, faculty, and specialists in art, music, dance and drama therapy to discuss and prepare for a team approach to treatment. 

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 creative writing, drama and performance, movement, music, and audio-visual media. 



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