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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;
  • Supervised adult, adolescent, and child clinical placements in psychiatric, medical, forensic and educational facilities throughout the local geographic area;
  • 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

    Thesis

    Students complete a master’s thesis as part of the requirements for graduation. The thesis project stresses the development of research skills and an understanding of the current literature in art therapy. Students may choose to conduct either a research thesis or a capstone thesis. Each student selects a topic with guidance from his or her thesis advisor beginning in the summer following completion of first year courses. The thesis is an independent study project and the time to complete it is variable. Graduating students present their completed thesis to the professional art therapy community, peers, family and friends at the annual spring research colloquium held at the end of their second academic year.

    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. One practicum is with children or adolescents, and one is with adults or adults in geriatric settings. 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

     

    02/16/17

    On January 11, US News and World Report published their 2017 Best Jobs list and 52 of the top 100 are in health care. Nurse practitioner and physician assistant are number two and three on that list with no surprise as the demand for more skilled health care professionals skyrockets. Susannah Snider, personal finance editor at U.S. News said in a press release about the jobs list, "Health care jobs often require a human element, so they can't be exported or entirely replaced by robots – at least not yet.
     
    “Continued growth in the health care sector, low unemployment rates and high salaries make these jobs especially desirable. Plus, individuals can pursue a range of health care positions that require varying levels of skill and education," furthered Snider. While the opportunities for PAs and NPs expand practically every specialty — orthopedics, endocrinology, cardiology, pediatrics — a reported 80% of nurse practitioners choose primary care whereas a study from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) states physician assistants tend to practice outside of primary care. 
     
    Regardless of the position a person chooses, it’s all good news for CNHP. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics cited nurse practitioner and physician assistant among the fastest growing occupations with 35% and 30% growth respectively. This expansion can be attributed to a few factors including a move to patient-centered care models and an aging population. But another reason is the expansion of coverage for an additional 20 million people through Affordable Care Act. “The ACA recognized physician assistants as an essential part of the solution to the primary care shortage by formally acknowledging them as one of the three primary care health providers,” said Patrick Auth, PhD, MS, PA-C, CNHP clinical professor and department chair. “They also committed to expanding the number of PAs by providing financial support for scholarships and loan forgiveness programs, as well as by funding the training of 600 new PAs,” he continued.
     
    “The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allowed millions of Americans to have access to insurance to pay for the cost of their health care. That meant hospitals and providers reduced their cost of indigent care.  While these figures have presented a hopeful outlook on what new health care reform may mean, one recent report has portrayed a potentially much different outcome.
     
    The study conducted by the Commonwealth Fund revealed repealing the ACA, likely starting with the insurance premium tax credits and the expansion of Medicaid eligibility would result in a doubling in the number of uninsured Americans while having widespread economic and employment impacts. In 2019, the study predicts a loss of 2.6 million jobs nation-wide, primarily in the private sector, with around a third of them in the health care industry. Pennsylvania could see around 137,000 jobs lost. 
     
    Elizabeth W. Gonzalez, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, associate professor and department chair of the doctoral nursing program and Kymberlee Montgomery, DrNP, CRNP-BC, CNE ’09, associate clinical professor and department chair of the nurse practitioner program, both suggest that it is too early to tell what any real impact will be to healthcare or employment. “The ACA also lowered Medicare spending by allowing people to enter into share savings plans with accountable care organizations where providers are reimbursed based on the quality, not the quantity, of their services,” Gonzalez said. “This emphasis on quality has resulted in significant savings, lower cost of health care for seniors, individuals with disabilities, low income families, and children. The ACA encourages a focus on the patient experience and this has led to some wonderful innovations because clinicians are being paid to focus on ways to enhance the quality of the care they provide patients,” she added. 
     
    “The Affordable Care Act introduced patients to the role of the nurse practitioner. Patients were forced to see us for primary care — nurse practitioners provided care at a lower cost,” stated Montgomery. “Now patients want to see us because of the level of care we provided.” There are just so many unknowns where the ACA is concerned. While the current administration seems determined to repeal the law, they haven’t yet put forth a replacement that will provide affordable healthcare for those who would undoubtedly lose what they currently have. It’s uncertain whether a new law might be proposed that would guarantee that no jobs created under the ACA are lost or if patient outcomes will decline.” But both Gonzalez and Montgomery feel that advanced practice nursing will continue to be a cost effective way to deliver outstanding clinical services. While it’s tough to speculate, Montgomery thinks opportunities for nurse practitioners will continue to grow regardless. “Who knows, it might make it better for the nurse practitioner especially because we provide high-quality, comprehensive care at lower costs,” she said.

    By: Roberta Perry and Kinzey Lynch `17

     

    02/13/17

    Al Rundio, PhD, DNP, RN, APRN, CARN-AP, NEA-BC, FNAP, FIAAN, FAAN, associate dean for nursing and CNE, became the editor for the Journal of Interprofessional Education & Practice.
     
    Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, Deborah Rutter, director of the Kennedy Center, and renowned soprano, Renée Fleming, serving as an artistic ambassador for the Kennedy Center, sponsored an historic research workshop, “Music and the Brain: Research Across the Lifespan,” on January 26-27, 2017. CNHP’s Joke Bradt, PhD, an associate professor in the Creative Arts Therapies Department, one of only eight music therapists included, served as a panelist and moderator discussing “Music and Music Therapy: Chronic Pain, Anxiety, and Depression.”
     
    Chair of the nutrition sciences program Stella Volpe, PhD, RD, LDN, FACSM and vice chair and director of doctorate physical therapy program Kevin Gard, PT, DPT, OCS ‘92 were interviewed about staying healthy during the winter months for Philly.com.
     
    Stephen F. Gambescia, PhD, MEd, MBA, MHum, MCHES, a clinical professor in the health services administration department drafted an opinion piece in PennLive about the banning of e-cigarettes.
     
    Roberta Waite, EdD, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, ANEF, professor and assistant dean of Academic Integration and Evaluation of Community Programs, doctoral nursing department, participated at the Independence Blue Cross Foundation and American Academy of Nursing. The topic of the January 11 panel discussion, moderated by CNHP’s Professor and Dean Emerita Gloria Donnelly, PhD, RN, FAAN, FCPP, was “Registered Nurses: Partners in Transforming Primary Care: A Critical Conversation.”  Waite addressed using practices and positive outcomes of nurse-led health centers to enhance curricula and reconfigure clinical experiences for nursing programs. She also spoke to how these centers might partner with acute care settings to integrate efforts and focus even more acutely on social determinants of health.  Judging by the questions Donnelly prepared for the panel, a big focus was on evolving primary care delivery and how the nursing profession might contribute to the next ten years, what that looks like for the job market, for improving care experiences and reducing per capita costs.
     
    Nyree Dardarian, MS, RD, LDN, an assistant clinical professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, was quoted in a Jan. 25 Bon Appetite story about how to adjust your diet so you can live longer. 

    01/24/17

    Leon F. Vinci, DHA, CNHP adjunct faculty in Health Sciences Administration, was selected as national Technical Adviser for Climate Change with theNational Environmental Health Association (NEHA) for 2016 - 2017. 

    NEHA is an international organization with over 5,000 members with the mission “To advance the environmental health professional for the purpose of providing a healthful environment for all.” NEHA is recognized as having achieved an established standard of excellence known as the Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian credential.

    As the Climate Change technical advisor, Vinci will review and provide guidance to the NEHA Annual Educational Conference concerning presentations and research in the field of Climate Change and its intersection with human health.



    CNHP second-year DPT students won the 2016-17 VCU-Marquette Challenge’s November “Challenge of the Month!” The VCU-Marquette Challenge is a national competition between physical therapy schools to raise money for the Foundation for Physical Therapy for PT research. For this year's Marquette Challenge, CNHP DPT students created a variety of prints from stamps that were carved into linoleum blocks. Images were related to movement and PT as well as their hometown cities. Their prize is a Whole Foods gift card to share.



    The John and Jinnie Chapel ACHIEVE Center and Dragon Lounge opened on January 18 as the culmination of several years of work by CNHP professor Nyree Dardarian, MS, RD, LDN ‘06. This space is a “hang-out” for student-athletes where they can take advantage of the fueling station. The station extends access to nourishment before and after practice and gives athletes an opportunity to meet and interact with the Dragon’s sports dietitian (and alumna), Andrea Grasso Irvine, MS, RD, LDN ‘13 and Drexel nutrition sciences interns. 



    Roberta Waite, EdD, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, ANEF, professor and assistant dean of Academic Integration and Evaluation of Community Programs, doctoral nursing department, participated at the Independence Blue Cross Foundation and American Academy of Nursing. The topic of the January 11 panel discussion, moderated by CNHP’s Professor and Dean Emerita Gloria Donnelly, PhD, RN, FAAN, FCPP was “Registered Nurses: Partners in Transforming Primary Care: A Critical Conversation.” 

    Waite addressed using practices and positive outcomes of nurse-led health centers to enhance curricula and reconfigure clinical experiences for nursing programs. She also spoke to how these centers might partner with acute care settings to integrate efforts and focus even more acutely on social determinants of health.

    Judging by the questions Donnelly prepared for the panel, a big focus was on evolving primary care delivery and how the nursing profession might contribute to the next ten years, what that looks like for the job market, for improving care experiences and reducing per capita costs.

     

    Maggie O'Neil, PhD, PT, MPH, ’99, associate professor, Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, and Paul Diefenbach, PhD, associate professor, Digital Media Department, Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, were invited to present at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health Special Needs Consortium on January 17, 2016.

    A common theme for the event was the use of technology in working with children with special needs and their families. O’Neil and Diefenbach presented and PSNC participants tried their customized games to promote active recreation, health, fitness and fun children with special needs.


    A study which CNHP Creative Arts Therapies faculty Girija Kaimal, EdD, MCAT ‘01 conducted about the effects of creativity in reducing cortisol was cited in Reader’s Digest Canada. Kaimal was also featured in HERe adding her expertise about using art therapy to help stave off employee burnout. 


    Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, PhD, an associate professor in doctoral nursing and nutrition sciences was featured on Fox29 News about a new treatment for chronic wounds.


    Paul Nolan, MCAT, MT-BC, LPC , ’82, adjunct faculty and former director of the music therapy program, was featured on Newsworks about making resolutions for the New Year that actually work.


    Chair of the nutrition sciences program Stella Volpe, PhD, RD, LDN, FACSM and vice chair and director of doctorate physical therapy program Kevin Gard ‘92 were interviewed about staying healthy during the winter months for Philly.com.


    Stephen F. Gambescia, PhD, MEd, MBA, MHum, MCHES, clinical professor of health services administration drafted an opinion piece in PennLive about the banning of e-cigarettes.


    Nancy Gerber, PhD, MCAT ’77, associate clinical professor and the director of the doctoral creative art therapies program, was interviewed by Philly.com about coloring being a respite from the crazy, fast-paced lives we lead.

    More News & Events