For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

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

View Profiles

News & Events



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


Multi-Institution, Multi-Disciplinary Community Health Internship Program Creates Impactful Experience for Students

When it launched at the University of Pennsylvania in 1991, Bridging the Gaps aimed to combine health-related service in economically disadvantaged communities with the education of future health and social service professionals. Just five years later, the initiative grew to a city-wide collaborative effort involving all of Philadelphia’s academic health centers, including Drexel.  Bridging the Gaps is now also in Erie, Pittsburgh, the Lehigh Valley and New Jersey.

Elissa Goldberg, MSS, program director at Drexel University College of Medicine’s Office of Community Experience said, “I think that’s one major strength of this program. Students that are involved in it get to not only go out into the community, but they also get to meet other students from all of the different schools studying different health and social service disciplines. That kind of exposure is really powerful.”

A key component of the program is its Community Health Internship. Goldberg works to assign eligible Drexel students from creative arts therapies, public health, the law school and the medical school to different sites and teams. “We work with 75 different sites across Philadelphia. Each student is assigned to a site, usually in teams,” she said. For a limited time – seven weeks, four days per week – students dive into projects that aim to help them better understand the lives and needs of community members. “During that time we hope that they get as much experience as they can engaging with people in real ways, teaching, while also learning a lot themselves about other people’s lives,” said Goldberg.

This summer marked the 25th anniversary year of the Bridging the Gaps program, and five students from the College of Nursing and Health Professions Creative Arts Therapies Program participated, including art therapy, dance/movement therapy and music therapy students. Among them was Akash Bhatia (’16), a student in the Music Therapy and Counseling Program. From June through August 2015, Bhatia worked at the Attic Youth Center (a Philadelphia-based LGBTQ youth center) focusing on a project which was based on the “black lives matter” movement.

“Helping the youths become interested and invested in this movement, which was very personal and relevant to many of them, was rewarding,” said Bhatia. “I helped give them the resources to articulate their thoughts, emotions and beliefs.”

Bhatia’s participation came from his goal to have a career in a community health setting. He not only got to gain valuable experience, but he was able to make an impact on the lives of the youths at the Attic Youth Center. The work suits him well, as he continues to volunteer there.

Goldberg says the program leaves a powerful impression on student participants. “Students get to really learn about all of the different factors that affect people’s health and well-being. So health is not just if you’re coughing or not, but it’s about the whole fabric of your life – if you’re friendly with your neighbors, if you’re engaged with the community, how much education you have. This gives students a chance to go into different neighborhoods and meet real people who are living in those neighborhoods and see that they are people just like them with hopes and dreams and desires and stomach aches and joy.”


After spending 10 years abroad in Russia, Israel and Denmark, Minh-Anh Nguyen, PhD, has finally landed in the Creative Arts Therapy Department to work on his research as a Fulbright Visiting Scholar. His pursuit of scholarship and desire to bring creative arts therapies to his native Vietnam are the driving forces behind his tenure at Drexel.

“I want to design a program that contains practical activities for teachers in Vietnam and America,” said Nguyen when asked about the main objective of his fellowship. With a background in clinical psychology, Nguyen knows there’s value in creative arts therapies and a need for them to be used proactively.

“We can use art therapy theory to create activities like coloring, drawing, collage-making, clay manipulation, and storytelling to help children better express themselves,” said Nguyen. “These activities have nurturing factors that can transfer humanity and tolerance to children.”

Nguyen believes that the proactive and targeted use of creative art therapies, primarily to children 5 to 6 years old, has the capacity to act as a preventative measure. “We want to give children the tools they need to express themselves now so we can prevent issues further down the road.” The Creative Arts Therapy (CAT) Department will be instrumental in assisting Nguyen with his research project. His mentor and faculty member of the CAT Department, Nancy Gerber, PhD,hopes to connect Nguyen with the Philadelphia Public School system and Drexel’s Master’s and Doctoral students to provide him the resources he needs.

“I want to learn what has and hasn’t worked for our Master’s and PhD students to assist with the development of my research project,” said Nguyen.

When compared to Vietnam, the United States has implemented creative arts therapies much more universally. Nguyen hopes to learn strategies to successfully implementing programs so he can bring his work to Vietnam, but he’s certainly not a newcomer in this space.

During his time abroad, Nguyen successfully implemented emotional intelligence programs for kindergarten-aged children in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, so he has a bit of confidence his program will work back home.

At the end of the day, Nguyen believes in the power of creative art therapies and hopes to raise awareness of the field. “Art has the power to transfer your imagination and emotions into positive perspectives.” So it’s only a matter of time before teachers in Vietnam are using his techniques.

More News & Events