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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. The program, at a minimum, aims to prepare competent entry-level Art Therapists in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains. 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:

  • Final deadline: Dec. 30, 2020

Degree:
A Bachelor's degree from an 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 to Drexel University, Applications Processing, PO Box 34789, Philadelphia, PA 19101, or submitted through a secure electronic transcript delivery service to enroll@drexel.edu. 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 of studio art coursework that can include a variety of 2D and 3D mediums, and 12 credits of psychology coursework, including one 3 credit course in developmental psychology, and one 3 credit course reviewing psychological disorders.

Letters of Recommendation
Three letters of recommendation are required. To electronically request recommendations, you must list your recommenders and their contact information on your application. You may request recommendations with your application or through the Discover Drexel portal after you submit your application.

We advise that you follow up with your recommenders to ensure they received your recommendation request — they may need to check their junk mail folder. Additionally, it is your responsibility to confirm that your recommenders will submit letters by your application deadline and follow up with recommenders who have not completed their recommendations.


    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.

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

    Interview/Portfolio:

    • Art portfolio: Submit a portfolio of 10–15 works of art that demonstrate facility with a range of media and personal understanding of the creative process. An image list (title, media, and dimensions) must accompany the portfolio. Portfolios must be uploaded through SlideRoom.
    • Interview: Select candidates will be invited to participate in an on-campus interview. International applicants will be invited to participate in a video conference interview.

    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/IELTS: Applicants who have not received a degree in the United States are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System test. An official score report must be sent directly to Drexel University Application Processing. The minimum TOEFL score is 90, and the minimum IELTS score is 6.5. 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): After confirming attendance to Drexel, students will receive an email from ISSS with instructions for applying for their I-20/DS-2019 and submitting supporting financial documents.

    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 program. The minimum completion time for the program is two years (seven quarters) on a full-time plan of study, although some students may take longer to complete all program requirements, or opt for a decelerated plan of study. 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

    11th Street Dance Movement Therapy: A Patient's Story

    06/17/21

    Graphic for the Dance Movement Therapy Service at Stephen & Sandra Sheller 11th St. Family Health Services“You can be at any place in your life, it can work for everyone,” says Ruth Briggs, a patient at the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services. As a former ballet dancer, Ruth is quick to say that you do not need to have any background in dance to pursue and realize the benefits of dance and movement therapy.

    After meeting another patient who was receiving care at 11th Street, Ruth decided that she would move forward to see someone to address trauma from her past. From the moment she met Lindsay Edwards MA, BC-DMT, LPC, “I knew she was someone I could trust,” says Ruth. “Lindsay really believed in me, and she allowed me to move forward at my own pace. I felt like it was a partnership, rather than sitting there watching someone pass judgment. I never felt judged.”

    After several months of work together, Ruth had several breakthroughs and was able to see there was real progress being made. “It wasn’t about beauty in the movement – it was about reclaiming my strength.” Feeling that she had the ability to move with freedom, Ruth valued the flexibility and individuality in the approach Lindsay took. “She gave me wings,” Ruth shares.

    This experience inspired Ruth to move all her care to 11th Street. “It’s my primary health center – a safe space for everyone, regardless of circumstances. Coming into 11th street is so welcoming, from the pharmacist, to physical therapy, to primary and dental care, to the very kind security staff, the paraprofessional and administrative staff, and my fellow patients, everyone goes above and beyond.”

    Drexel Academic Tower Updates

    06/17/21

    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.”


     

    CAT Alumni Help Patients Express Themselves When Words Cannot

    05/19/21

    Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be very stressful, and mental health challenges may stay with patients long after treatment. Patients cope with illness, especially cancer, in a variety of ways, but the one thing all people are looking for is support. Thankfully, there are many options. During Mental Health Awareness Month, we are sharing the work of two Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions alumni, both creative arts therapists, who worked closely with people facing the long journey through cancer.

    A person creating a collage during art therapy

    Creative arts therapists are board certified and credentialed healthcare professionals who use an expressive process to improve psychological health and general wellbeing. As with other forms of therapy, clients and therapists work toward growth and change, but specific to creative arts therapies, the process taps into the power of art, music, dance-movement, drama and poetry to make meaning, find understanding and develop skills for stress reduction.

    CNHP alumna Maureen Vita, MA ’09, a board-certified art therapist and licensed professional counselor.CNHP alumna Maureen Vita, MA ’09, is a board-certified art therapist and licensed professional counselor, and worked as an oncology art therapist at Hahnemann Hospital for over ten years. The patients she worked with responded well to success-based art therapy interventions—something she found very rewarding. Traditional psychotherapy-based art therapy reveals underlying psychological issues, but when used in a medical setting, particularly around cancer, patients develop much-needed coping skills. “It helps reduce pain, and alleviate depression and tension caused by their diagnosis. Art therapy can also help cancer patients cope with intrusive thoughts, for example, that their cancer will return even after they are given a clean bill of health,” Vita suggested.

    Making books, jewelry, origami, masks, collage or even just coloring a mandala were a few of the projects she used in her art therapy practice. “During art therapy sessions, many patients would express their fears, especially about dying knowing that they could not discuss this with their families,” she said. Art therapy with cancer patients can be a powerful tool to help them heal from both the physical and psychological effects of a cancer diagnosis and treatment.

    Paul Nolan, MCAT ’82, MT-BC, LPC, is an alumnus, adjunct associate professor and retired director of the music therapy program at Drexel University.Music therapy shows similar benefits acknowledged Paul Nolan, MCAT ’82, MT-BC, LPC. An alumnus, adjunct associate professor and retired director of the music therapy program at Drexel University, Nolan offered, “Pain reduction and restoration of the person's mental state and relationships are common outcomes.” He indicated that one of the most powerful transactions in the music therapy relationship is that the patient knows that it is not a medical procedure. This therapy is not used to eradicate the disease directly, but instead works with the person who is undergoing treatment to improve mental and physical symptoms like anxiety, fatigue and diminished quality of life.

    “Like other creative arts therapies, music therapy attracts that which is healthy in the patient,” Nolan described. “These effects seem to re-activate health into the person's awareness and relationships, which helps the person's ego strength in resisting declines in their mental health while also altering the pain experience,” he concluded.Paul Nolan, MCAT ’82, MT-BC, LPC. An alumnus, adjunct associate professor and retired director of the music therapy program at Drexel University.

    Attending to our mental health is essential in living healthier lives. Creative arts therapies offer meaningful ways to manage worry, trauma, depression and a host of other psychological challenges due to a medical diagnosis. Even if you are not facing an illness, creative arts therapist can help you be more successful in navigating the stress of daily life.

    By Roberta S. Perry
    More News & Events