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Creative Arts Therapies Department

Innovative Courses Taught By Field Leaders

Internationally recognized faculty train culturally aware and culturally sensitive therapists dedicated to serving a diverse client base.

Creative Arts Therapies Department

Innovative Courses Taught By Field Leaders

Internationally recognized faculty train culturally aware and culturally sensitive therapists dedicated to serving a diverse client base.

Creative Arts Therapies Department

Innovative Courses Taught By Field Leaders

Internationally recognized faculty train culturally aware and culturally sensitive therapists dedicated to serving a diverse client base.

Creative Arts Therapies Department

The Department of Creative Arts Therapies provides students with the most comprehensive and the highest-quality education in their respective creative arts therapy discipline.

Through an integrated blend of classroom, experiential and practical learning in the field, students learn side-by-side with future colleagues in the other creative arts therapy specialties.

Program courses are taught by faculty that are national leaders in their respective fields. Students take advantage of Philadelphia’s lively arts community, which nourishes the artist, dancer and musician within and enables you to continue practicing your art form while pursuing graduate study.

The Department and Diversity

As a community of learners, Drexel’s Department of Creative Arts Therapies is committed to cultivating a diverse and dynamic student population. We are interested in, and enriched by, diversity, including but not limited to: culture, race, ethnicity, gender identification and expression, socio-economic class, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, learning styles, and political perspectives. We value these identities, shaped by experience, which support empathetic understanding and enlivened critical thinking in and outside of the classroom and in field placements.

Here in this community, we are aware of our past and present shortcomings and deficiencies. We understand that our programs, like the society in which we live, have too long habitually failed to provide just and plentiful opportunities and resources to all people, a perpetual misstep that has resulted in recurrent exclusion for some and disproportionate inclusion for others. We strive for an expansion of diversity. We recognize, embrace and proclaim that it is only by welcoming all people that we may reach our full, and true, potential as an educational community.


The Department of Creative Arts Therapies offers three Master of Arts degrees: Art Therapy and Counseling, Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling, and Music Therapy and Counseling. The 90 quarter-credit curricula can be completed in two years on a full-time basis. We encourage full-time enrollment, yet part-time study can be arranged.

We also offer a PhD in Creative Arts Therapies, an innovative and unique research degree for art therapists, dance/movement therapists, and music therapists who are interested in focusing their careers on scholarly pursuits and academic leadership in their specific discipline.

Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling
Engage in art therapy at a prestigious health center aligned to a school of fine arts.

Master of Arts in Dance/Movement Therapy Counseling
Integrate dance and movement into a whole-body approach to mental health.

Master of Arts in Music Therapy and Counseling
Study in the only music therapy program housed within an academic health center.

PhD in Creative Arts Therapies
Earn your PhD in a culture of creativity, innovation, initiative, and support.

Creative Arts Therapies Faculty

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News & Events



Kendra Ray, a PhD in Creative Arts Therapies candidate, directed a three-year study to determine whether introducing therapeutic music-based activities reduced symptoms of dementia in nursing home residents.

Not only did the findings of this study -- which involved three different Brooklyn nursing homes and was funded by a grant from the New York State Department of Health -- show that music therapy is an effective, nonpharmacological way to reduce agitation and depression for nursing home residents diagnosed with dementia, it also resulted in a curriculum, called Music Therapy: Keys to Dementia Care that may be creating a better experience for nursing home residents and caregivers at more than 600 nursing homes throughout the state of New York as well as several other U.S. states. Ray’s protocol is set to make a global impact on elderly care as it’s currently being used in Canada and adaptations are in development in Israel and Spain.

“This training manual presents an innovative music therapy program that uses a multidisciplinary care planning process led by a music therapist, aided and supplemented by certified nursing assistants. In addition, the guidebook teaches clinicians how to use iPods to calm agitation during activities of daily living,” said Ray. Bathing and wound-care are among the daily activities made less stressful by music-assisted care. The music therapy in the study is now the basis for training nursing home caregivers to do music-based activities.

Approximately 50% of all residents in nursing homes have a dementia diagnosis. According to Ray, music therapy can help reach these individuals is significantly different ways than alternatives like communication and art. “This is one of few modes of therapy that can actually trigger memories and bring the person in the here and now,” she said.

It has been shown to be especially helpful with bathing – an activity that requires assistance for an estimated 90% of nursing home residents. “A lot of people with dementia resist going into the shower room. It’s a totally different experience from their bedroom. It might be cold. It is a big trigger of agitation,” said Ray.

The music-assisted care intervention outlined in the guidebook encourages caregivers to start out the experience with music that is familiar to the resident. Though the play list in the book is generic, featuring songs like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Beyond the Sea”, assessments help determine what music works best for each person. Whether the music is already playing in the shower room, or the iPod and speakers are brought into the space with the resident, it helps to create a more relaxing environment.

“Once they are relaxed and singing along with their health care provider, the music really acts as a distraction. Instead of thinking about the experience, they’re thinking about the memories associated with a song.” Although many nursing assistants were already using music, this tool gives them a structure.

The efficacy of Ray and her team’s work at MJHS, one of the largest health systems in the New York metropolitan area, is also profiled in Emmy-winning documentary, Divine Prescription.

Ray concluded, “This groundbreaking music therapy work continues to be so gratifying—professionally and personally. Receiving the grant money from New York and then ongoing funding from MJHS has allowed what started as a hypothesis to become a data supported theory that is literally helping change the lives of vulnerable patients, their loved ones and the health professionals who provide the care morning, noon and night.”


Ribbon Cutting at Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services (by invitation only)

November 11, 2015

11 a.m. - 1p.m.

Faculty and staff are invited to attend an open house at Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services

November 13, 2015

2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

850 N. 11th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19123


Inside the Simulation Studio

November 14, 2015

10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Philadelphia, PA

To register visit:


Annual Day of Trauma

November 14, 2015

7 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Courtyard Mariott

21 N. Juniper Street

Philadelphia, PA 19107

To register contact the Office of Continuing Medical Education 215.762.2580


Jose “Pepe” Barcega Memorial Service

December 5, 2015

Commemorative service from 1 – 2 p.m.

Reception from 2 – 3:30 p.m.

Mitchell Auditorium – Bossone Research Center


Reception and Dedication of the New Oral Health Center  (Invitation Only)

At Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services

December 10, 2015

4 – 6 p.m.

850 N. 11th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19123

RSVP by December 4th to Steven Evans at


Universal Design for Learning: Is it Universal?

Part of the 2016 “Raising the Bar” webinar series

January 12, 2016

11 a.m. -  1 p.m.



Evidence Based Practice Nursing Colloquium

February 10, 2016

8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Drexel University

Creese Student Center, Behrakis Grand Hall

3210 Chestnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19104


Transforming the Educational Landscape: Simulation, Innovation and Technology

March 14-15, 2016

Hilton Clearwater Beach

400 Mandalay Ave

Clearwater, FL 33767

To learn more visit:


Department of Creative Arts Therapies Reception for Music Therapy Alumni

March 19, 2016

Hilton of Harrisburg

1 N. 2nd Street

Harrisburg, PA 17101

Held in conjunction with the American Music Therapy Association Mid-Atlantic Region Conference call 1.888.DU.GRADS to RSVP


Screen Capture Tools – Common and Uncommon Uses

Part of the 2016 “Raising the Bar” webinar series

April 12, 2016

11 a.m. -  1 p.m.



Forensic Trends in Health Care

April 15-17, 2016

Drexel University Center City Campus

Philadelphia, PA

For more information visit:

Save the Date

More details to follow


Alumni Weekend

May 6-7, 2016
Alumni Weekend is the largest and most exciting event to bring alumni back to campus each year! The Class of 1966 will be inducted into the Golden Dragon Society at the annual luncheon and recognize outstanding class members. The Class of 1991 will become Silver Dragons, as they celebrate 25 years since they were students at Drexel. If you graduated in 1966 or 1991 and you would like to help plan your reunion celebration at Alumni Weekend, as well as invite your classmates back to campus, contact Lauren Villanueva BA '04, MS '10, executive director of alumni relations at

All alumni are invited and encouraged to attend events throughout the weekend. Stay tuned for more information coming soon!


The Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University operates as a patient-centered, integrated and trauma-informed model of care. Integrative health care creates a seamless engagement for patients, most of whom represent a vulnerable population and are residents of public housing and caregivers in the full range of physical, psychological, social, preventive and therapeutic factors known to be effective and necessary for the achievement of optimal health throughout the lifespan. The center is a nationally-recognized model of nurse-managed, community-based care for the education of health professions students and for faculty practice.

A new wing, which added 17,000 square feet of space to the practice, opened to patients on June 29, 2015. The new addition accommodates the expansion of primary care services, and includes space for nursing, nutrition sciences, couple and family therapy, creative arts therapies and a new fitness center.

John Kirby is the director of community health and wellness at Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services, responsible for overseeing the fitness center, providing exercise coaching and fitness classes and working to inform, learn from and collaborate with the community in order to create a culture of health.

Describe the new fitness center. What are some new features?

Our new 1,500+ square foot fitness center has moved from the original building to the second floor of the new building addition. The new space has windows spanning two sides of the gym, allowing members to get great natural sunlight and a beautiful view of the city while getting fit. We have 11 pieces of cardiovascular training equipment, including treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, an arm ergometer and a recumbent stepper. We also have plenty of resistance training equipment, from free weight to cable machines, for gaining strength and getting lean.

Has the new wing allowed you to add any additional patient services? What seems to be most appreciated by patients?

Yes, with the new space we are now able to expand our class offerings. With dedicated studios for music therapy, art therapy and dance movement, we can hold group fitness classes like boot camp, dance classes, BLT (butt, legs and thighs), toning and more in the yoga/fitness studio. We can also hold more yoga and mindfulness classes for people of various ages and abilities. Our new space has more storage room, so we can get the equipment necessary to make our classes even more fun and challenging.  We can now hold classes simultaneously that would have needed to happen in succession before. Patients seem to appreciate our new dedicated spaces and the possibilities that come with it.

What is the patient response to the new fitness center?

Patients are loving the new space! Many of them have been excited to see the new facility since the moment they heard it was being built. They say the extra room makes the space feel more airy and fresh, and they have also expressed that sunlight and views the sprawling windows provide allow them to enjoy their workouts just a little bit more.

How is the new wing improving the experience for staff and patients, alike?

Both patients and staff seem happier with the space. While they appreciated what we had before, our new space allows for more possibilities. Because the fitness center is larger, physical therapy has more room for patient treatment to proceed, while fitness center members are also enjoying their workouts. Our new office and breakout consult room will allow patients and staff more privacy when discussing their health history and goals with our fitness and physical therapy providers.

Photo credit: Halkin/Mason Photography
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