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Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling


The Art Therapy and Counseling graduate program prepares students with beginning skills and knowledge to apply theoretical and relevant art therapy practices. To do this, classroom didactic learning and individual to small group supervisions dynamically support the students’ applications of informal to formal assessment and treatment planning, health care and related documentation, and contemporary ethical practices. The intercultural impacts of health and relational contexts, discrimination and stress, and wellness and resilience are emphasized as well as the value of media and materials discernment in forming therapeutic relationships and connections. Students combine art therapy and counseling methods within multiple systems of care for engaging diverse individuals, groups, and families for collaborative goals. The program, at a minimum, aims to prepare competent entry-level Art Therapists in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains.

The Art Therapy and Counseling program's 90-quarter-credit curriculum is designed to meet the Pennsylvania Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) educational requirements for state licensure and the Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Educational standards for professional Art Therapy Credentials Board national certification (ATR-BC). While art therapy educational standards are a part of national accreditation, state licensure requirements for professional therapists and counselors vary widely from state to state and may change at any time. Our Art Therapy and Counseling program is licensure-eligible in the state of Pennsylvania and not automatically portable state to state. Therefore, if you are or will be interested in counseling licensure, you are strongly advised to access and check the licensure requirements for any state(s) in which you plan to work and practice to make sure they align with the curriculum content and field education outcomes of this program.

What you will learn
Through a multifaceted learning process, students of the Art Therapy and Counseling program learn the significant impacts that creativity, cultural humility and self-awareness, and empathy play in helping relationships and interpersonal development. The students learn to engage and strengthen their trauma-informed facilitation and group skills that include active listening, creative media use, and effective verbal, written, and meta verbal communication as well as self-regulation and compassion.

The Art Therapy and Counseling curriculum is a synthesis of multiple interactive educational components including theory, applied practice via field education, small group and individual supervision, and creative-based scholarship. Experienced together, these interactive learning components mirror the complex interplay that can occur between participants, creative processes and therapeutic spaces, and the metaphysical materiality of media in art therapy. The contemporary practices that our art therapy and counseling curriculum align with are prevention and social support, lifestyle and community connection, wellness and resilience, rehabilitation, therapeutic assessment, and social action and advocacy.

Key program components include:

  • Advanced education in the theoretical and applied foundations of art psychotherapy; art as therapy; open studio approaches; counseling theories and micro-skills; social action, advocacy, and ethics of care; and systems perspectives within community-based, wellness, and preventive initiatives;
  • 2 - 3 supervised field placement opportunities, beginning with practicum and developing over experience into a more independent internship, with a range of populations in a variety of systems of care including medical and psychiatric hospitals, outpatient and interdisciplinary behavioral health facilities, schools or other educational supports, assisted living care facilities, recovery-focused systems, community health centers, shelters, foster care, and more;
  • Emphasis on cultural humility skill acquisition including understanding and articulating how intersectional identities and social positionality (privileged and oppressed) can impact and augment therapeutic relationships and goals of therapy;
  • Counseling courses that have integrated learning across the CATs (Creative Arts Therapies or Art Therapy, Dance/Movement Therapy, and Music Therapy);
  • Master's culminating project that is creative based scholarship disseminated via an end of academic year online community platform;
  • Experiential art-making processes that inform both classroom and didactic learning to support the students’ sequential field education (practicum & internship) experiences

What makes the Drexel Art Therapy and Counseling program unique?

This groundbreaking program was the first United States graduate program in North America to matriculate arts therapy students and continues to support innovation and excellence in the creative arts therapies fields.

Students combine art therapy and counseling practices with integrated learning across the CATs (Creative Arts Therapies or Art Therapy, Dance/Movement Therapy, and Music Therapy) and real-life fieldwork and quality Delaware Valley area supervisors.

Students opting for the two year plan of study start their field work experiences upon the start of their first quarter.

Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions has critical access to various practice environments, interdisciplinary opportunities including collaborative culminating projects, and research facilities and infrastructure.

This distinctive program was founded in 1967 at Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital.

Welcome to the Art Therapy & Counseling Admissions page! Here you will find information to help you get started and sustain your application journey.

The deadline for applications for the Fall 2022 cohort is Thursday, December 30, 2021

What do I need to apply for this program?

A Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution (college, university, community college) and a minimum overall GPA (Grade Point Average) of 3.0 or above.

Send your official transcripts 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 to Drexel University, Applications Processing, PO Box 34789, Philadelphia, PA 19101, OR submitted through a secure electronic transcript delivery service to 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.

What prerequisites need to be included in my transcripts for my application to be considered for an interview and acceptance?
We require foundational coursework and demonstratable skills and exploration in psychology and studio art subjects as essential “building blocks” to our graduate art therapy and counseling curriculum to follow undergraduate study. If you are still completing your undergraduate degree and/or plan to take additional courses to fulfill these prerequisites not currently on your transcript during this application process, please indicate this in your essay or communicate your plan or timeline for completing them before your entry to our program.

Studio Art:
18-semester credits (or 27-quarter credits) of studio art coursework that can include a variety of 2D and 3D mediums that can include drawing, ceramics, printmaking, fiber and textile arts, painting, sculpture or fabrication, digital media including photography, video, and animation, and costume or set design.

Psychology coursework:
12-semester credits (or 18-quarter credits) of psychology coursework, including one 3 semester credit (or 4.5 quarter credit) course in developmental psychology and one 3 semester credit (or 4.5 quarter credit) course reviewing psychological phenomenon of mental illness, addiction, and adversity. The remaining six-semester credits (or 9-quarter credits) of psychology pre-requisites could be in areas of each applicant’s interest and/or courses available.

What do I need to prepare and submit along with my application and transcripts?
The following list includes all required elements for your application.

  • Three Letters of Recommendation: You can electronically request recommendations by listing your recommenders and their contact information on your application or through the Discover Drexel portal after you submit your application. Choose recommenders who can speak to your coursework, paid or volunteer jobs, artistry, and scholarship such as previous or current professors, supervisors, or employers. Once requested, please follow up with your recommenders to ensure they received your recommendation request — they may need to check their junk mail or Spam folder. Be sure to confirm that your recommenders will submit letters by your application deadline and follow up with those who have not completed their recommendations.
  • A Personal Statement/Essay: Please submit a 500 to 750-word typed personal essay that is intended to serve as a writing sample while telling the application review team more about you. Some things you could include are: Why are you applying to our program? What inspired you to follow a career in art therapy? What level of and insight into human service experience do you have? If you feel comfortable to share, please bring in aspects of your race or ethnicity, gender or gender identity, dis/ability, nationality, immigration status, religion, sexual orientation, and any other relevant cultural affiliation/s that connect your learning or future work goals to intercultural experiences or community perspectives.
  • CV/Resume: Include your relevant education, work, and service or volunteer experiences.
  • Visual Art Portfolio: Submit a portfolio of 10–15 works of art that demonstrate facility with a range of media and your understanding of the creative process. Include an image or file list (title, media, and dimensions) and any relevant context or descriptions along with the artworks shared, and within the portfolio. The purpose of this portfolio is for us to understand your media and materials expression and exploration. Refrain from uploading prescriptive assignments from foundational art classes, unless you like how they turned out! As shared above, your creative works can include a variety of 2D and 3D mediums such as drawing, ceramics, printmaking, painting, sculpture or fabrication, fiber and textile arts, digital media including photography, video, and animation, and costume or set design. We invite you to share your more recent and current projects, ideas, and innovative media practices to evidence both breadth and depth of materials use rather than a more singular focus or “consistency” in your portfolio. Art therapy portfolios tend to be contrastive in content compared to fine arts examples. Visual Art Portfolios are to be uploaded through SlideRoom.

What happens after I apply?

  • All applications are collated into the Drexel Graduate Admissions database and uploaded after the final December deadline for faculty review in early January.
  • Invitations to interview will be delivered to select applicants via our Creative Arts Therapies Admissions e-mail by early February, with options to attend a group interview on dates in late February or early March.
  • Selected international candidates will be contacted via Creative Arts Therapies Admissions email to schedule online interviews if they cannot be present for in-person interview days.
  • All candidates invited to enroll in the next Fall cohort will be notified via email from both Creative Arts Therapies Admissions and Drexel Graduate Admissions by the end of March via email.
  • Those applicants not invited to interview, or not accepted after the group interviews are completed, will be notified by the Drexel Graduate Admissions office.

Who can I contact for more information about the admissions process and if I have any questions?
A Creative Arts Therapies admissions coordinator is here to answer your additional questions. Please email:

What if I have more questions and/or am not yet ready to apply?
Reach out to us. We would love to hear from you! Ask our Admissions Coordinator about our next online Q & A session and/or upcoming on-campus visit day.

Diversity, equity and inclusion:
Please review the CNHP (College of Nursing and Health Professions) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion website as to our program, department and greater college and university commitments in making our learning and work environments diverse and inclusive, or places where all voices and persons are heard and honored for their lived experiences. We also value how intersectional experiences and perspectives intrinsically enrich education, research and practice.

Did you know Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions is an age-friendly college?
Learn more at:

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


Art Therapy and Counseling students study the vital roles that creativity, empathy and cultural humility augment our professional work and interpersonal growth. The 90 quarter-credit curriculum includes specific art therapy coursework in areas such as:

  • foundations of creative arts therapies;
  • assessment and treatment planning for children, adolescents, adults, older adults and families;
  • trauma and systemic approaches;
  • creativity, symbol and metaphor;
  • digital media use;
  • mindfulness;
  • professional identity;
  • addictions and recovery.

Students also take classes in general counseling topics including:

  • psychological human development;
  • DSM and psychopathology;
  • social and cultural foundations;
  • professional ethics and orientation;
  • career counseling;
  • clinical appraisal and assessment;
  • theories of counseling and psychotherapy;
  • behavioral research;
  • group dynamics.

The Art Therapy and Counseling program is a high-residency program, meaning that students must attend in-person classes at Drexel’s Philadelphia campus during the Fall, Winter and Spring quarters. All Summer term courses are offered completely online, and to accommodate students’ abilities to work and/or be in locations other than Philadelphia for reasons of rest or return to family and friends while completing their summer course work. Classes and practicums/internships are scheduled for weekdays (Monday through Friday) and generally during daytime hours (8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

Students may enroll in an accelerated (7 quarters) or a decelerated (11 quarters) plan of study, which span the coursework and field education experiences over two or three years, respectively. We do not refer to the three-year, decelerated plans of study as part-time because in all terms, students will register for enough credits to be considered full-time for the federal financial aid requirements. At a minimum, decelerated plan of study students need to be available two days a week in their first year, three to four days a week in their second year, and 4-5 days a week in their final year. There are additional time commitments needed weekly to complete variable assignments, prepare readings or other learning materials, and/or engage in small group activities for courses and supervisions.


The Drexel University Art Therapy and Counseling program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs ( upon the recommendation of The Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education. Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs

Both ACATE and CAAHEP cooperate with the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) to establish, maintain and promote appropriate standards of quality for educational programs that meet or exceed the minimum standards. The Drexel University Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling program also meets the educational requirements for the Registered Art Therapist (ATR) or ATR-BC (board certification) with the Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB).

Benefits of Accreditation
CAAHEP accreditation attests to the quality of an educational program that prepares for entry into the art therapy profession.

  • For the public, accreditation promotes and protects the health, safety, and welfare of the communities that art therapy professionals serve
  • For prospective students, accreditation provides assurance the program has been evaluated and has met accepted standards established by and with art therapy stakeholders
  • For prospective employers, accreditation assures that the curriculum covers essential skills and knowledge needed for today's contemporary practices and healthcare trends
  • For graduates, accreditation represents an indicator of a program's quality and viability
  • For art therapists, accreditation involves practitioners in the establishment of standards and assures that educational requirements deliver essential services while inspiring adaptive and innovative approaches
  • For the faculty and program administrators, accreditation promotes ongoing program evaluation tools and practices for continuous improvement and accountability
  • For the University, college, department or program, accreditation represents peer recognition and sustainability

Field Education

Field Education for Art Therapy and Counseling students
The number of practicum and internship (Field Education) hours provided by our Art Therapy and Counseling program meets the educational standards of the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) and the Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education (ACATE) and often exceeds the hours required in most art therapy graduate programs.

  • In the two-year plan of study, students begin their field education experiences as soon as they enter the program. The field education parallels the classroom learning content, and both are enhanced by individual and group supervision every week.
  • In the three-year program plan of study option, students begin their practicum in their second year of the program.

Practicum Field Experience
All students have one to two practicum experiences that span over three quarters, either their first or second year. The first quarter clinical practicum is accompanied by a Counseling Skills course as well as small group supervision. The first practicum experience is one in which art therapy observation is gained through the direct experience of each student working with an art therapist who role models and supervises the students on what they are experiencing in various milieus and care systems. The degree of involvement in the art therapy process and responsibilities is tailored to the student's skill development, which is discussed in various supervision venues and concretized through evaluation processes. Depending on the site and supervisor availability, practicum student experiences may be gained in one to two different treatment settings during three academic quarters (Fall, Winter, Spring). The practicum locations, throughout Philadelphia, parts of New Jersey, and surrounding areas, are assigned by the Field Education Director and require that an art therapist be on-site with the student during the formative first year of applied experience.

Internship Field Experience
The second or third-year internship experience offers opportunities for students to mature and specialize as interns in a new field placement. With the guidance of the Field Education Director and art therapy educational requirements, students can self-choose an internship experience that can, but does not require an art therapist on-site. These internship experiences also span three-quarters of the school year (Fall, Winter, Spring) and have a three day a week commitment to provide the students more advanced and integrated responsibilities. When students choose an internship site where there is not a pre-existing art therapy service, they receive firsthand experience of developing their role and responsibilities with administrative support alongside off-site art therapy supervision and weekly small group supervision groups. Students selecting internships with pre-existing art therapy services also participate in on-site supervision and small group supervision groups for sustained learning and support.

Arts-Based Authentic Learning Formative Assessments
All practicum and internship students are required to keep written and visual journals that assist with developing observational skills as well as greater emotional and cognitive capacities to discern, tolerate, and understand the various internal experiences that emerge for an art therapist and counselor in training (these are shared and developed directly in small group supervision groups). Moreover, understanding these internal experiences alongside the observation of systems and milieu practices and lived experiences of clientele and groups, fundamentally inform the art therapy and counseling field education of each graduate student. Articulating and integrating these components over time and as distinct processes are key competencies. Attributes to such integrated learning can fall into many areas gained via processes of self-reflection and growth, interpersonal collaboration, and social learning such as:

  • critical and creative thinking;
  • group dynamics awareness;
  • ethical problem solving and intercultural communication;
  • cultural humility.


We identify the following nine integrative program goals for Art Therapy and Counseling Student Learning Outcomes. Students will learn/engage:

  1. That intersectional identities (privileged and oppressed) and cultural humility can impact and augment therapeutic relationships and goals of therapy.
  2. Creativity and creative methods for learning can engage innovative problem solving.
  3. Any necessary interpersonal work, self-care, professional disposition development is lifelong and ongoing.
  4. Various art therapy theories can be applied to practices, methods and applications relevant to client or systems of care goals and intentions.
  5. Formal to informal assessments assist in conceptualizing how to integrate relevant art therapy methods alongside counseling micro-skills.
  6. Comprehensive foundations for creative and ethical art therapy and counseling work connect directly to field education experiences within multiple systems of care and with culturally diverse groups and persons.
  7. Individualized state licensure pursuits can be attained via ongoing academic advisement, multiple licensure workshops and post-graduation activities.
  8. A Master's culminating project can be both research and creative-based and disseminated.
  9. Class experientials and didactic learning inform and support the students’ sequential field education (practicum & internship) experiences.

News & Events

Drexel Health Sciences Building Updates


Click to enlarge photos

April 2022

Sidewalk leading to nearly complete-looking Health Sciences Building facade

Sidewalk leading to nearly complete-looking Health Sciences Building facade

February 2022

Health Sciences Building level 3

Health Sciences Building Level 3

Health Sciences Building Level 3

Health Sciences Building level 3

Health Sciences Building level 6

Health Sciences Building level 6

Health Sciences Building level 12

Health Sciences Building level 12

Health Sciences Building Level 11

Health Sciences Building roof

Health Sciences Building roof

January 2022

The Health Sciences Building is going strong. The steel stud framing is beginning on level 12, the final floor! Drywall is completed up through level 8 with the medical gas systems installed and tested on levels 7 and 8.

The service elevators (cars 11 and 12) will be up and running for construction use within the next six weeks.

Tower cranes have been removed, and they will begin removing the hoist and closing up the curtain wall panels immediately after the elevators start up.

Carpet install is to begin February 1. Resinous flooring on level 12 (anatomy spaces) will begin March 11, and the finishes trades are scheduled to begin once space is temperature controlled.

Click to enlarge photos.

Ground floor of the Health Sciences Building looking north

Health Sciences Building 300 Person Active Classroom view looking east

Health Sciences Building third floor classroom looking east

Health Sciences Building fourth floor

Health Sciences Building fifth floor - booth alcove

Health Sciences Building sixth floor community breakout space in the center of the building

Health Sciences Building twelfth floor looking from west to east end of building

Health Sciences Building penthouse

December 2021

The Health Science Building now has permanent power, and it is watertight with curtain wall (exterior) completed. The service elevators should be operational by early March, and the passenger cars up and running by end of March. The flooring installation should be starting on the second floor within three weeks. The HVAC system chilled beam has been installed up to the fourth level. Things are moving along!

Click to enlarge photos.

Exterior of Health Sciences Building

Exterior of Health Sciences Building

Exterior of Health Sciences Building

Exterior of Health Sciences Building

October 2021

Construction on our future home is moving along! The building perimeter is almost complete and should be “zippered up” by the end of November.

Core and shell work (elevators, toilet rooms and stairs) are really taking shape. The HVAC work is in place, metal stud installation is up to the 12th floor and drywall work is underway on the lower floors. Visible spaces and rooms are replacing the big empty floors. Interior photos to come soon.

Click to enlarge photos.

photo from ground looking up at new health sciences building mid-construction

distance photo from end of sidewalk of new health sciences building with cranes on roof

June 2021

Photo of Drexel Academic Tower construction

May 2021

Cement trucks ready to start pouring concrete floors of the new building.

Cement trucks ready to start pouring concrete floors of the new building.

March 2021

Six cement trucks lined up to pour the concrete floors.

Cement trucks ready to start pouring concrete floors of the new building.

Cement trucks ready to start pouring concrete floors of the new building.

Click images to magnify

January 2021

Photo of Drexel Academic Tower construction 

Photo of Drexel Academic Tower construction 

Photo of Drexel Academic Tower construction

December 2020

When the announcement about a new home for the College of Nursing and Health Professions was made in May 2019, no one could have imagined that construction would be delayed by a global pandemic. It was expected that groundbreaking would be in spring 2020 with a substantial completion delivery of mid-2022. Beginning in late July, it is still the hope to maintain the same timeline.

Google Earth screenshot of the location of the Drexel Academic Tower

With CNHP being the first occupants of the new facility, some of the College of Medicine’s administrative functions, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies and its first- and second-year medical program will join the College in phases. President Fry, in a message to the University in late 2019, said “at the new academic building, many of Drexel’s health-related programs will be under one roof, enhancing opportunities for interdisciplinary education in a facility that affords health sciences students, faculty and professional staff the best possible environment for continued development and growth.”
















Shining a Black Light Week Four


Week four of our Black History Month 2022 feature celebrates members of the CNHP community who contribute daily to the success of the College.

Kevin Mitchell, PhDKevin Mitchell, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Health Administration Department. He has functioned in this role for over five years and served as the undergraduate program director. He is a member of the student affairs committee and advisor for the Association of Healthcare Administrators. Dr. Mitchell loves teaching and partnering with students to help them uncover and pursue their dreams. His research is centered around academic assessment, healthcare leadership and medication adherence. Dr. Mitchell believes that extending loving kindness in every interaction and relationship is key to nurturing equity and inclusion. Dr. Mitchell loves family and enjoys spending time with them during holiday events.


headshot of Marisol NorrisMarisol Norris, PhDis an assistant clinical professor in the Creative Arts Therapies Department and director of the Music Therapy and Counseling Program. She has actively contributed to the College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP) community through culturally sustaining arts therapies education and leadership, designing anti-oppressive agendas on the CNHP's Curriculum Visioning committee, and participating in panel discussions exploring representation across health professions and enacting systemic change to deepen environments of care. Dr. Norris provides community-centered trauma prevention programing at the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services Center utilizing therapeutic songwriting to cultivate health and wellness. As an organizer, Dr. Norris collaboratively transforms education and research across arts therapy disciplines. She is a co-founder and facilitator of the BIPOC Student Fund and the Journal of Music Therapy's , providing immediate need-based assistance for BIPOC arts therapy students and supporting the critical scholarship of emerging researchers. She is also an active member of the American Music Therapy Association's Commission on the Education and Training of 21st Century Music Therapists geared towards developing recommendations that guide the future direction of education and clinical training practice for the music therapy profession. Dr. Norris recently published a special issue on Black Aesthetic & the Arts Therapies in Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy and looks forward to furthering her scholarship on Black aesthetics in music therapy and the applied practice of radical healing frameworks across music and health settings within Black communities.

On the heel of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I continue to center the magnitude of Dr. King's work that stood squarely against anti-Black racism and was unapologetically tethered to radical anti-colonial, anti-capitalist movements. Recognizing Dr. King's dream for justice demands the active dismantling of hierarchical structures proudly upheld across CHNP that oppress minoritized students, staff, faculty and the broader Drexel community. 

headshot of Jamesa JacksonJamesa Jackson is currently a first-year Master of Health Science Physician Assistant student in the class of 2023. I am a member of the College of Nursing Health Professions Physician Assistant Minority Alliance (PAMA) and am very interested in finding ways to better support PA students in all facets. I take pride in being a team player and a leader. I am very proactive in all my endeavors—the things I have brought with me to Drexel— while also managing my time skillfully between school and my service in the U.S. Army Reserves. In my spare time, I love to volunteer for various organizations supporting the communities where I am, most recently with Global Citizens for Greater Philadelphia’s Martin Luther King Day of Service at the African American Museum in Philadelphia.

Despite it being only my second quarter here at Drexel, I am very pleased with how open this school is about addressing matters and concerns when it comes to equity and inclusion. I appreciate the strides that the College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP) is taking to be more inclusive of minority groups when it comes to acknowledging the healthcare inequities within the minority community, as well as being open to communication on ways in which we can possibly improve some of these disparities.

Fun Fact about me is that I really love traveling and learning languages. So much so that I even taught myself how to read Hangul, the Korean alphabet.

Photo of Christina Marrero, an instructor in Creative Arts TherapiesChristina Marrero is currently teaching a class on the therapeutic uses of gaming, which is offered through the Creative Arts Therapies Department as an undergraduate elective. Therapeutic gaming is a developing field of interest for mental health professionals. Through gaming, emotional struggles related to accessibility, marginalization and emotional trauma can be accessed and healed. Personally, I would like to see more visible efforts at Drexel to improve the accessibility of course materials, learning systems and opportunities for contribution. Particularly with the increase in remote learning, there are opportunities to explore and provide more accessible learning experiences.

A fun fact about me is that I have recently begun exploring fragrance making as a form of creative expression!


headshot of Lena WardLena Ward, MHS, is a new clinical instructor in the Physician Assistant (PA) Department. Some of the projects Ward continues to work on are, the Physician Assistant Minority Alliance (PAMA), an alumni-lead group aimed to support minority PA students at Drexel, the podcast for the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (JAAPA), and the Physician Assistant student society, W.W. Oaks. In fall 2021, Ward was named as one of the honorees of College of Nursing and Health Professions’, “People of Purpose.”

Since fulfilling her role as clinical instructor in the PA program and alumni leader of PAMA, she has noticed a decrease in attrition of minoritized students, which has been a positive historical change for the program and the PA profession.

Though this observation provides hope, she notes continual efforts are needed to increase admission and recruitment of underrepresented minoritized students in medicine and faculty into the PA program, which she hopes to help improve.

**Fun fact, Lena is a graduate of Drexel’s Health Science/PA accelerated program she was also featured in a story about the JAAPA podcast Passing the Mic

headshot of Ethel Joy Bullard-MooreAs a licensed professional counselor and board-certified music therapist, Joy Bullard-Moore, MA, ML, MS, MT-BC, LPC was initially appointed to an adjunct faculty position within the Drexel University’s Department of Creative Arts Therapies in 2020 and currently teaches Social and Cultural Foundations of Counseling. Her professional background includes various clinical roles with specialized focus on grief and loss, such as providing emotional support for hospice patients and bereaved caregivers as a Penn Medicine Bereavement coordinator. Most recently, she has used her clinical skill set combined with further education in legal studies and clinical psychology as a foundation for fully transitioning her career into a supervisory role as the senior manager of Place-Based Initiatives for the Philadelphia Housing Authority. In this role, she has channeled her passion for striving to work collectively toward fostering and sustaining healthy, equitable communities. Bullard-Moore's work involves providing administrative oversight in accordance with HUD regulations and guidelines; managing the development and implementation of supportive services provided by a team of employees with social services backgrounds; and fostering community partnerships to address health and wellness, safety, employment, education and financial asset-related needs of residents impacted by the federally funded Sharswood Choice Neighborhood Initiative revitalization project; North Central Choice Neighborhood Initiative Endowment; and the six-neighborhood based PHA public housing sites who are the recipients of the federally funded Resident Opportunity and Self Sufficiency (ROSS) program.

Bullard-Moore's academic background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a minor in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and once relocating to Philadelphia, PA, a Master of Arts in Creative Arts Therapy with a specialization in music therapy, and a post baccalaureate certificate in Pre-Medical Studies from Drexel University. Her interest in the intersection of psychology and law, especially regarding grief, loss and the potential applications of therapeutic jurisprudence within healthcare and the criminal legal system, she also obtained a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and Master of Law from the University of Pennsylvania Law School by the conclusion of 2020.

“Ultimately, I view teaching not only as focused on clinical practice and scholarship, but also as promoting involvement with advocacy. Specifically, my intent is to teach in a manner that is always mindful of the following question: How can we, as creative arts therapists, facilitate social change and empower individuals of marginalized identities within our communities? Furthermore, how can we support these individuals in having more therapeutic, rather than antitherapeutic, interactions within healthcare, criminal legal system, educational and employment settings, financial and housing sectors, etc.?”

A fun fact about me: I love karaoke! I've missed it so much, especially during the early months of the pandemic, but thankfully, I connected with an online community where we have virtual karaoke nights on a regular basis.  My "go to" song is usually anything from Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill album, but I'm thinking about trying a couple of songs by A Tribe Called Quest soon!

Finding our Lanes in DEI: Using art as a starting place for action


Two white women and one Black male sitting around a table looking at a piece of art.What is art therapy?

Art Therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship. Art Therapy, facilitated by a professional art therapist, effectively supports personal and relational treatment goals as well as community concerns. Art Therapy is used to improve cognitive and sensory-motor functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change. (American Art Therapy Association, 2017)

Many people are confused about what art therapy is. It sounds a little mysterious or magical but looking art someone’s artwork is not like reading tea leaves. Yes, we may be moved by someone’s art, or their art may tell a story that their words cannot, or perhaps their art helps them find the words they could not before. But looking at the art, while meaningful, also requires context and relationship. Therefore, art therapists honor the creator and the meaning the artists give to the creation. Art therapists also recognize that art therapy is not just about the final product. Art therapy is about the therapeutic relationship between the art therapist and the client, the media and materials, the use of materials, and the process of making the art. There is much power in the creative and physical energy involved in art making and the stimulation and emotional responses spurred by various materials, the social climate, the current surroundings during the time of making, etc. All of these elements are essential in an art therapy session.

There is an upcoming Tuesday Topic called Finding our Lanes in DEI: Using art as a starting place for action. Is art therapy a part of this event?

Tuesday Topics graphicThat’s a great question because the art will be a part of it but not therapy! Art can be therapeutic, which can be a part of art therapy at times but can also exist completely separate from it. Therapeutic art making does not require a relationship with an art therapist. Sometimes therapeutic art making is facilitated by an art therapist, resident artist, socially engaged or community artist, art educator or just someone who wants to make their own art. I am an art therapist and licensed professional counselor and will be present at the DEI “Finding Our Lanes” event with the intention to facilitate a therapeutic arts-based experience for attendees who may or may not consider themselves as skilled artists. To be clear, no art skills are required, and my presence is to be a support and to help people get started if they feel stuck.

Can you explain how art can be a “starting place for action”?

Just like art can tell a story or help an artist find the words to say, art can also be a starting place for action. Poet Cesar A. Cruz wrote that, “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” In other words, our images and our creations can be a source of our power. They can be the inspiration to speak up and out, to make a statement, to dissent, to support, to agree and disagree, to raise awareness, to be seen, and to educate.

The purpose of the structured creative painting activity planned for the Tuesday Topic lays the groundwork for participants to have courageous conversations on race and ethnicity. The process of making the art together is intended to provide us opportunities to explore our similarities and differences, and to discover new ways of looking and understanding. At the end our time, participants will have a tangible art piece that symbolizes the space we shared and will live beyond our time together to carry the conversation forward. It will also give us a physical reminder that we have the option to take action and find our lanes in DEI beyond the art making session.

Finding our Lanes in DEI: Using art as a starting place for action

  • When: Tuesday March 8, 2022, 4-5 p.m. ET
  • Where: Center City Campus, Three Parkway, Room 1021 or via Zoom



Registration is required.

  • No artistic skills are required.
  • Space for in-person is limited.
  • Supplies are available for in-person, but not for on-line registration. On-line participants can follow along but will need to get their own supplies or can watch and do their own creative project such as reflective writing and creative witnessing and response art in another form.

People interested learning more about art therapy can check out or contact Drexel Art Therapy and Counseling (ATC) faculty member Michele Rattigan.

Written by Michele Rattigan

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