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Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling

Program

The Art Therapy and Counseling graduate program equips students with the skills and knowledge to apply the theory of art therapy in various treatment situations. Working with specified treatment objectives, students learn to combine art therapy theory and practice with psychodynamic and psychotherapeutic technique. They can work with individuals and/or groups using the theoretical and clinical education they have received. This integrated approach provides a comprehensive foundation for sound clinical work with many different clinical and culturally diverse populations.

This distinctive program was founded in 1967 at Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital; it was the first continually operating program in the world to offer graduate-level art therapy education. Committed to progress within the field of art therapy and counseling, the program provides students with extensive exposure to current psychological, developmental, psychotherapy, and art therapy theory and practice.

The Art Therapy and Counseling program's 90-quarter-credit curriculum is designed to meet the Pennsylvania Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) educational requirements. Be advised, however, that licensure requirements vary widely from state to state, and may change at any time. Therefore, if you are or will be interested in counseling licensure in the future, you are strongly advised to access and check the requirements for any state(s) in which you plan to work and practice. It is the students' responsibility to know and understand the requirements for any type of future licensure.

What you'll learn

Through a dynamic and multi-dimensional learning process, students of the Art Therapy and Counseling program develop a clear understanding of the significant role that imagination and empathy for the patient plays in art therapy. The students also learn about themselves and the role that their cognitive and emotional reactions play in the relationship between themselves, as art therapists, and the patient/client.

The Art Therapy curriculum is a synthesis of multiple dynamic and interactive educational components including theory, practice/clinical, intersubjective experience, clinical supervision, and research. Together, these interactive components provide a foundation for the development of an understanding of the complex interaction that occurs in the art therapy process between the therapist, the patient/client, and the art process. 

Key program components include:

  • Advanced education in the theoretical and clinical foundations of art psychotherapy;
  • Multiple supervised clinical placement opportunities with a range of populations in a variety of settings, such as medical and psychiatric hospitals, inpatient and outpatient behavioral health facilities, schools, continuing care facilities, community health centers, correctional facilities and more;
  • Emphasis upon the study of emergent art making within the context of the therapeutic relationship;
  • Integration with students of other creative arts therapies while helping each student develop a strong identity as an art therapist;
  • Master’s thesis research or capstone project guided by a chosen multidisciplinary committee;
  • Experiential art making processes integrated with theoretical, clinical and self-exploratory learning.

What makes the Drexel Art Therapy and Counseling program unique?

  • This groundbreaking program was the first of its kind.
  • Students combine art theory with real-life clinical fieldwork.
You are part of the Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions with access to various practice environments, the arts studio and educational facilities.

COMPLIANCE

The College of Nursing and Health Professions has a compliance process that may be required for every student. Some of these steps may take significant time to complete. Please plan accordingly.

Visit the Compliance pages for more information.

Admission Requirements

Background checks:

As a student of the College of Nursing and Health Professions you will be required to satisfactorily complete a criminal background check, child and elder abuse checks, drug test, immunizations, physical exams, health history, and/or other types of screening before being permitted to begin clinical training.

You will not need to submit documentation of these requirements as part of your application to the master’s program. Failure to fully satisfy these requirements as directed upon enrollment may prevent assignment to a clinical site for training.  A background check that reflects a conviction of a felony or misdemeanor may affect your ability to be placed in certain facilities, and later, to become board certified and licensed.

Deadline:

Priority deadline: completed applications due December 15. Regular deadline: completed applications due January 15.

Degree:
Bachelors of Science or Bachelors of Arts from program fully accredited institution and a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 or above on all previous coursework.

Standardized Tests:
N/A

Transcripts:

  • Official transcripts must be sent directly to Drexel from all the colleges/universities that you have attended. Transcripts must be submitted in a sealed envelope with the college/university seal over the flap. Please note that transcripts are required regardless of number of credits taken or if the credits were transferred to another school. An admission decision may be delayed if you do not send transcripts from all colleges/universities attended.
  • Transcripts must show course-by-course grades and degree conferrals. If your school does not notate degree conferrals on the official transcripts, you must provide copies of any graduate or degree certificates.
  • If your school issues only one transcript for life, you are required to have a course-by-course evaluation completed by an approved transcript evaluation agency
  • Use our Transcript Lookup Tool to assist you in contacting your previous institutions

Prerequisites:
18 credits in studio art courses demonstrating range of media; 12 credits in psychology, including mandatory courses in developmental psychology and abnormal psychology. Behavioral research methods course recommended.

References:
Three letters of recommendation required. At least two recommendations should be from current or former academic instructors. Letters of recommendation should be requested and submitted electronically through your online application.

    Personal Statement/ Essay:
     A 300-750 word typed essay. Considered an autobiography, this essay is intended to serve as a writing sample while telling us more about you.

    Interview/Portfolio:
    Art portfolio:
    Submit a portfolio of 10-15 works of art that demonstrates facility with a range of media and personal understanding of creative process. Must include image descriptions documenting title, media, dimensions and year. Submit through drexelgraduate.slideroom.com.


    Interview: Select applicants will be invited to attend a required, in-person, group interview. International applicants will be contacted individually to arrange for a video or telephone interview. Due to the number of applications received, we are not able to schedule an interview with every applicant.

    CV/Resume:
    Required. Include relevant education, work and service/volunteer experience.

    Additional Requirements for International Applicants

    • Transcript Evaluation: All international students applying to a graduate program must have their transcripts evaluated by the approved agency: World Education Services (WES), 212.966.6311, Bowling Green Station, P.O. Box 5087, New York, NY 10274-5087, Web site: www.wes.org/.
    • TOEFL: Applicants who have not received a degree in the United States are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). An official score report must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service. For more information visit the Web site: www.ets.org, then click on TOEFL.
    • I-20/DS-2019 and Supporting Financial Documents (international students only): Please print, complete, and submit the I-20/DS-2019 Application Form (PDF). 

    International Consultants of Delaware, Inc.
    P.O. Box 8629
    Philadelphia, PA 19101-8629
    215.222.8454, ext. 603

    Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools
    3600 Market St., Suite 400
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-2651
    215.349.8767

    World Education Services, Inc. (WES)
    Bowling Green Station, P.O. Box 5087
    New York, NY 10274-5087
    212.966.6311

    Tuition and Fee Rates
    Please visit the Tuition and Fee Rates page on Drexel Central

    Application Link (if outside organization):
    N/A

    Curriculum

    The MA in Art Therapy & Counseling is a 90-quarter credit curriculum that can be completed on a two year full-time plan of study or a three year decelerated plan of study (per-term credit loads still meet university full-time minimums for financial aid eligibility). The majority of classes are taught in-person on Drexel's College of Nursing and Health Professions campus in Center City, Philadelphia with select classes offered online.

    The coursework consists of both Art Therapy-specific and general mental health counseling coursework. Art Therapy-specific topics include:

    • Assessment and treatment planning for children, adolescents, adults, older adults and families
    • Group dynamics in art therapy
    • Neuroscience and trauma approaches
    • Studio art for art therapists
    • Media, materials and processes
    • Social and cultural foundations in art therapy
    • Symbolism, creativity and metaphor in art therapy
    • Professional identity for art therapists

    Mental health counseling coursework covers theories and skills in:

    • Human psychological development
    • Psychopathology and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
    • Social and cultural foundations in counseling
    • Behavioral research
    • Group dynamics in counseling
    • Theories of counseling and psychotherapy
    • Career counseling
    • Clinical appraisal and diagnosis
    • Professional ethics
    • Foundations of Creative Art Therapies

    Clinical experience is integrated with classroom learning, with students participating in two practicums and one internship throughout the course of the program. For more information on the clinical education component of the Art Therapy program, click on the "Clinical Practices" tab above. 

    A Culminating Project rounds out the curriculum. Second-or third-year students conduct a Culminating Project that integrates practice with theory and/or research. Under the guidance of their Culminating Project advisor, students design a project that explores aspects of both their respective Creative Arts Therapies discipline and counseling. Examples of Culminating Projects include development of a method, a community engagement project, research thesis or artistic project. Culminating Projects may be connected to a student's internship, but it is not a requirement. At the end of each academic year, students present their Culminating Projects to peers, faculty, friends and family at their respective program's Colloquium. Students are also encouraged to submit projects to regional and national conferences when applicable. 

    Accreditation

    AATA: Approved by the American Art Therapy Association. www.arttherapy.org/

    Clinical Practices

    The students learn how to apply the theory of art therapy in various treatment situations. Working with specified treatment objectives, students learn to combine art therapy theory and practice with psychodynamic and psychotherapeutic technique. They can work with individuals, groups or families using the theoretical and clinical education they have received. This integrated approach provides a comprehensive foundation of sound clinical work in different treatment settings and with different clinical populations.

    The Art Therapy program offers 1200 clinical art therapy educational hours. The number of clinical practicum and internship hours offered by the program meets the educational standards of the American Art Therapy Association and exceed the hours required in most art therapy graduate programs. Students begin their clinical experience as soon as they enter the program. The clinical education parallels the classroom education and is enhanced by 3 to 3.5 hours of individual and group supervision per week. As part of the clinical and supervisory experience, students receive a visual/verbal log in which to record their clinical experiences in words and artwork. They use these logs in their supervision in order to better articulate and understand the complex dimensions of the art therapy process.

    First-year students have three clinical practicum experiences, one in each quarter. The first quarter clinical practicum is accompanied by an intensive course on Professional Orientation and Ethics I. The first practicum experience is one in which the art of clinical art therapy observation is taught through practical experience, role modeling, and art therapy supervision. The second practicum emphasizes a gradual increase in active participation in art therapy sessions while integrating their learned observational skills. This occurs with the guidance of the on-site art therapy supervisor. The degree of involvement in the art therapy process increases concomitant to the student’s skill development which is discussed in various clinical supervision venues, and evaluated through the clinical evaluation process. The third quarter is a continuation of practicing art therapy under the guidance of an art therapist wherein observation skills and art therapy skills begin to mature. In order to provide a range of clinical art therapy experience, the student spends the first two quarters at one clinical site and the third quarter at a different clinical site. Consequently, the student experiences two different treatment settings, two different human service provider systems with different organizational dynamics, and two different clinical populations. These clinical practicum experiences are assigned by the Clinical Coordinator, and require that an art therapist be on site with the student during the first year. The on-site art therapist serves as a role model for the first-year student to observe.

    The second-year internship offers an opportunity for students to mature and specialize as clinical interns. With the guidance of the Clinical Coordinator and the clinical guidelines and requirements students can choose their own clinical site which need not have an art therapist on site. This internship lasts the entire academic year and gives the student the experience of being part of a treatment team. Often when students choose an internship site where there is not a pre-existing art therapy service, they receive first hand experience of developing this service, with administrative and clinical supervision. The result of this experience often is the creation of job. A large percentage of the students are offered jobs at the conclusion of their internship in sites where they have created the service. Students receive off-site supervision by a registered art therapist as well as two group small supervisions on campus.

    News & Events

     

    11/30/17

    Sarah Wenger, PT, DPT works with a patient in the gymAccording to the Institute of Medicine, chronic pain is a major health issue affecting approximately 100 million Americans and amounting to a cost of roughly $635 million a year. The healthcare community has a history of poor outcomes for chronic pain that have frustrated both patients and providers. Chronic pain can be very challenging to treat. It is an evolving condition with remodeling of neurological structures and biological, behavioral, environmental and societal influences. The focus is shifting from eliminating pain completely to minimizing the impact of pain on quality of life and building resilience to better cope with chronicity. The opioid crisis has drawn attention to how chronic pain is understood and managed. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that nonpharmacological therapies be the first line treatment of chronic pain. Mental health, physical therapy and a variety of other professions and wellness strategies are fast becoming that first line defense. Interdisciplinary approaches are considered best practice in treating both chronic pain and substance use disorders. Interdisciplinary care that addresses health and wellness across physical, mental, and social domains is most effective. Healthcare providers need to have a good understanding of chronic pain neuroscience, biopsychosocial components of pain management, issues related to substance use disorders and pain management strategies so that they can effectively integrate their expertise within the context of interdisciplinary care and reinforce strategies used by other team members.

    Sarah Wenger, PT, DPT works with patient using a exercise ballAt Drexel University’s Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services, we developed a psychoeducational group called Power Over Pain (PoP). Research has indicated that an interdisciplinary approach aids in improving the functional status and quality of life of patients with chronic pain. PoP is an interdisciplinary program that empowers patients through education to self-manage their pain. The group is based on a framework we developed, the Clinical Reasoning Model for Chronic Pain.

     

    Power over Pain Plan of Care

    The top of the diagram represents the goal of treatment: patients who are using healthcare services appropriately as they self-manage their pain with little or no opioid use. To reach this goal, patients need education, mentorship for behavioral change, help to address cognitive-affective factors and an understanding of the roles various healthcare providers serve in their health and wellness.

    Sarah Wenger, PT, DPT in the gymThe middle of the diagram depicts an interdisciplinary team that includes the patient. All members of the interdisciplinary team collaborate to arrive at unified goals and a unified plan of care. This differs from a multidisciplinary approach where patients see different professionals who are not functioning as a cohesive team, each providing different goals and treatment plans leaving the patient to sort through an often overwhelming amount of information and action items. Good communication among professionals, the patient, the patient’s family and other stakeholders is essential in forming the collaboration needed for efficient and effective care management.

    Each pillar at the bottom of the model represents a different area of research important for chronic pain management. While each team member specializes in their discipline, everyone should have a broad knowledge of all areas so that they can effectively situate their expertise within the fabric of the whole patient and a holistic treatment approach that will prepare patients for a resilient path forward.

    The PoP group will be re-starting at Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services and will be offered for the first time at Parkway Health and Wellness in this spring. Information about the group and its curriculum can be found at http://poweroverpain.sarah.pt/.

    *Note: Wenger's article, “Reducing Opioid Use for Patients with Chronic Pain: An Evidence Based Perspective,” is getting published in the Physical Therapy Journal in print in April and on-line early 2018. 

    By Sarah Wenger, PT, DPT, OCS

    Associate Clinical Professor, Coordinator of Experiential Learning
    Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences Department

    11/30/17

    Sheila M. Cronin, MCAT `74, published a new novel Best of All Gifts which is a continuation of her award-winning novel, The Gift Counselor.
     
    Jennifer M. Rule, BS `00, senior manager of credential services at ECFMG, was recognized on the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Leadership Philadelphia, Class of 2018.
     
    Jessica A. Heimall, PT, DPT, C/NDT, CBIS, DPT `13, physical therapist and brain injury specialist at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Toms River, New Jersey, was a guest on the Faces of TBI podcast with Amy Zellmer. 
     
    Patrick C. Kilduff, DO, MPT ’98, was named best family doctor in the Dallas Post's "Best of the Back Mountain Reader’s Choice Awards" for the second year in a row. Dr. Kilduff is a physician at InterMountain Medical Group in Shavertown, Texas.
     
    Jennifer Nolan, MSN `12, PMC `16, psychiatric nurse practitioner at Newport Academy in Connecticut, won a seat on the Thomaston Board of Education in Thomaston, Connecticut.
     

    11/29/17

    Annette Willgens, PT, PhD and Michele Rattigan, MA, ATR-BC hosted an interprofessional workshop titled “Mindfulness: for Clinical Practice & for Life” on October 4, 2017. In their own words:

    Multi-colored mindfulness illustration“We had over 55 students from a variety of CNHP disciplines join us to learn about the theory of mindfulness. Our goal was to introduce students to a practice that could promote self-care and wellness during their time here at Drexel University. In the current culture of esteem building, competition and perfectionism, we challenged students to consider excellence, intention and compassion for oneself instead.

    We talked about stress, the allostatic load, self-criticism and conflict and shared the evidence base for mindful practice and the neural circuitry associated with default mode as compared to mindful awareness. We discussed a fMRI scan of "this is your brain on meditation," and then we practiced meditation. Students participated in an art-making activity to elucidate their thoughts and feelings. As we move forward with more planning, we are reminded that shared goals such as student self-care give everyone a strong foundation. Excellence, humility, temperance and resilience—these are the qualities of the future healthcare provider.”

    The IPER Collaborative is awed by the many faculty and students who are creating and experiencing enriched learning opportunities with their CNHP peers. Any faculty member who has an idea about developing an interprofessional experience or project should contact iper@drexel.edu or any IPER Collaborative member. We are happy to support you in your endeavors!

     

    Thank you, 

    IPER Collaborative

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