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Factors to Consider When Selecting an Art Therapy Graduate School

Higher Education Articles March 1, 2016

Artistic creativity and psychoanalysis find utilization in art therapy as a therapeutic means to rehabilitate and evaluate patients. Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) in Art Therapy and Master of Arts (M.A.) in Art Therapy are available graduate programs in art therapy.

Selecting an Art Therapy Graduate School

Four-year colleges and universities offer master’s degree programs in art therapy. In this article we take a look at some important factors to consider when you select an art therapy graduate school.

Artistic Interests

An art therapy graduate program with an emphasis on the artistic abilities of the therapist and patient, alike, would suit the needs of students seeking to pursue personal artistic interests. Some art therapy schools operate on the principle that there is a direct correlation between the growth of the therapist and the patient’s growth and health.

Other schools do not assign the same importance to the artistic goals of the therapist and instead stress the psychoanalytical opportunities entailed by observing the creative nature of a patient. Incoming students to these programs are typically required to have completed more psychology prerequisites than art prerequisites during their undergraduate education.

Internship Options

Each art therapy program may have internships of varying intensity. Weekly clinical practicums are requirements in some programs; over 800 hours of supervised internship experiences over the duration of the program are necessary for others. The school location may also be a factor in selecting an art therapy program. Students enrolled in schools in diverse metropolitan areas can enjoy more internship opportunities in various settings.

Time Span

Although few, some schools offer 5-year programs that combine both the undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Students can attend 2-year master’s degree programs in art therapy that they can complete separately from a 4-year undergraduate degree program.

Master of Arts (M.A.) Program in Art Therapy

A senior project, comprising a thesis along with one or more substantial research-based essays, augmented by a supervised internship, is typically included in a master’s degree program in art therapy. Creative approaches to the therapeutic process are available through art materials. In an art therapy program, students have to complete coursework that is a combination of instruction in psychotherapy and the visual arts, which includes the diagnostic treatment of all age demographics. Core coursework typically covers topic areas such as:

•Cultural diversity
•Child art therapy
•Family art therapy
•Research methods
•Group art therapy

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