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Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling

Program

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

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

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

What you'll learn

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

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

Key program components include:

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

What makes the Drexel Art Therapy and Counseling program unique?

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

COMPLIANCE

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

Visit the Compliance pages for more information.

Admission Requirements

Background checks:

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

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

Deadline:

  • 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

    Creative Arts Therapies PhD Student to Receive $19,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

    05/04/21

    Headshot of Nalini PrakashA study proposed by Creative Arts Therapies PhD candidate Nalini Prakash has been approved for a $19,000 Research Grants in the Arts award funded by the National Endowments for the Arts (NEA). Nalini received one of 14 awards given in this category for financial year 2021.

    “This award coincides with the 10th anniversary of the NEA Research grants program,” said Director of Research & Analysis Sunil Iyengar. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support this project from Drexel University among others that, in a very challenging year, will investigate the value and impact of the arts.”

    The project will study dance/movement therapy (DMT) to address ethnic bullying in a school setting. Grant money will be used to support data analysis and reporting as part of a study examining the role of school-based dance/movement therapy in fostering empathy and preventing school violence and ethnic bullying. Analyses will include pre, during and postintervention measures of group synchrony, empathy, quality of peer relationships and frequency of verbal and/or physical aggression from middle-school students with diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. Also included for analysis are qualitative data from weekly group discussions and through in-depth interviews of participants' experiences with the program. The study will advance public knowledge about the possibility of offering dance/movement therapy as a complementary and creative resource for existing school-violence prevention programs.

    Nalini will conduct research at a public middle school in Maryland where she has previously provided dance/movement therapy services, which has a racially and ethnically diverse population. Data collection will begin after the school district resumes in-person learning.

    The theme of her research was inspired in part by Nalini’s upbringing. “My interest in social justice developed in India where I was born and raised surrounded by the inequalities of the caste system in addition to religious and socio-economic discrimination,” Nalini said. Her work in India revolved around improving the quality of life for children with disabilities from low socio-economic backgrounds. After moving to the U.S. and working as a clinician in an inpatient psychiatric facility, she began work in violence prevention. “My skills in movement observation and DMT helped me use appropriate interventions that assisted with early de-escalation of clients. My intention was to reduce the frequency of violent incidents at the hospital and ultimately reduce the use of seclusion and restraints that inadvertently dehumanized and retraumatized clients,” she continued.

    Nalini noted that receiving the NEA grant is an honor not just for herself, but for the Department of Creative Arts Therapies. “This is the first study in DMT that addresses ethnic bullying and will add important knowledge that is missing in the context of bullying among racially and ethnically diverse middle school children. Using the arts and specifically dance and movement is an enjoyable and creative way to enhance empathy and build positive peer relationships among groups of racially and ethnically diverse young students. As an international student and as an immigrant myself, I understand the urgent need to address the concerning public health problem of ethnic bullying. I hope that my study will add to the larger movement of creating positive change in the United States by impacting young minds.”

    National Endowment of the Arts logo, black background with white text

    Celebrating Service During National Volunteer Week

    04/20/21

    Building and serving our communities are at the heart of Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions core values and mission. One of the ways we, faculty, students and professional staff, are encouraged to do this is through civic engagement, and there are many of us that help advance health equity and social justice by volunteering.

    Graphic with statistics about volunteerism in PA

    In Pennsylvania, 3.5M volunteers annually contribute 341 million hours of service, according to a 2018 Volunteering in America report. These PA volunteers spread their time across religious organizations, cultural and arts events, educational and youth services, political, professional or international groups, and environmental or animal care endeavors. For National Volunteer Week, we are highlighting individuals at the college who dedicate their time and talent to causes that are important to them.


    Ann MaddenAnnie Madden, MHS, Assistant Clinical Professor, Physician Assistant Department

    What: Madden has been baking desserts for 70 Meals on Wheels recipients for the last year.
    Why: I provide support to those in my community.
    Benefit: I bake with my sons and husband, so it is a time to be together and give back on a monthly basis.




    Michele Rattigan, MA, Clinical Associate Professor, Creative Arts Therapies and DHSc Student at Drexel University's College of Nursing and Health Professions

    Michele Rattigan, MA, Clinical Associate Professor, Creative Arts Therapies and DHSc Student

    What: Rattigan currently is the Gateway Region Officials coordinator for Odyssey of the Mind: NJ and has served as a board member for ten years.
    Why: I have the opportunity to support children's creativity in STEM fields, or more appropriately, STEAM!
    Benefit: I enjoy the comradery of like-minded individuals who believe, like me, that supporting children's creativity can lead to their future innovations and discoveries to make this world a better place.



    Leon Vinci, DHA, Adjunct Faculty, Health AdministrationLeon Vinci, DHA, Adjunct Faculty in the Health Administration department, Drexel University's College of Nursing and Health Professions

    What: Vinci is the vice president of the Virginia Environmental Health Association board of directors and oversee the statewide scholarship program and assist with the professional development of our membership and other environmental health practitioners across the Commonwealth. He is also the chair the scholarship committee and sits on the corporation board of Faculty for the Knights of Columbus in Roanoke, VA.
    Why: I provide guidance and lend my expertise to this statewide professional organization's services and activities. My volunteering enhances the professionalism of our membership, provides scholarship opportunities for students studying in this field, and moves the agenda forward for statewide environmental health initiatives.
    Benefit: Seeing students benefited by our scholarships move-on to their future careers in Public Health is very rewarding. Often, these emerging health professionals become leaders throughout the field. Giving my time and talent is a great way "to give back" and to assist the goals and services of our group: helping people and improving our community. Providing college scholarship funds to students helps them in many ways. Further, in emphasizing the importance of education, these efforts improve the quality of life and our community.


    Drexel University's College of Nursing and Health Professions' Roberta S. Perry, Assistant Director, Marketing and Communications volunteering at ThyCa conference

    Roberta Perry, Assistant Director, Marketing and Communications

    What: Perry serves at ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association’s as the newsletter editor, content writer and international conference presenter and mental health and provider/patient relationship advocate.
    Why: My experience as a thyroid cancer patient was fraught with missteps, incomplete information and a false sense of security. I did not know about this organization early enough to make more informed decisions and to know that it's common for doctors to minimize our experiences by calling thyroid cancer the "good cancer." As a survivor, ThyCa has helped me so much in coping with the challenges I continue to face. I want to help others avoid the pitfalls I experienced and to be a sounding board for those who just need to talk to someone who has been in their shoes.
    Benefit: I have met the most incredible people—strong, generous, intelligent and compassionate. It gives me the opportunity to create or strengthen relationships with care providers and learn about the disease and about resilience.



    Joanne Serembus

    Joanne Serembus, EdD, Associate Clinical Professor, Advanced Role Nursing

    What: Serembus is a volunteer for the Chester County Public Health Department dispensing COVID-19 vaccinations.
    Why: We need to get as many vaccinations in arms as possible and I thought this was the least that I could do!
    Benefit: Defeating this virus and helping all of us to be together again as a community.




    Constance Perry, PhD, Drexel University Health Administration dept. volunteering in Friends of High School Park (FHSP)

    Constance Perry, PhD, Associate Professor, Health Administration

    What: Perry is a volunteer at Keystone State Boychoir (KSB)/Friends of High School Park (FHSP) and was elected as a board member January 2021. She is part of the wardrobe committee and fills in as a group manager as needed.
    Why: I began volunteering with yard work at the park, pulling weeds, sawing fallen limbs, raking, etc. Now, as a board member, I also help organize fund raising events to preserve and manage the park's eco-system and support neighborhood programs. I believe in the mission of both organizations. My son successfully auditioned for KSB when he was eight years old; they support the development of boys through joyful music making. KSB even provides music opportunities for schools that have lost their arts programs. This organization warms my heart. FHSP is a chance for me to give back directly to my local community. The park provides so much to me as a place of solace, peace, neighborly fun during Arts in the Park, shade in the summer, etc. I walk the dog there to see flowers, birds, snakes, foxes, butterflies, etc. The park gives so much to me. I want to work to support it.
    Benefit: When you volunteer, you become part of improving the world and meet other kindhearted people. You find joy in the oddest places, like sewing a button or weeding out invasive plants.



    Vaccination Clinic at Mercer County Community College. From left to right: Ellen Giarelli, RN EdD, Drexel University, Stephanie Mendelsonn, Medical Reserve Corps Chris Sntoro, NJ Department of Health

    Ellen Giarelli, EdD, Associate Professor, Graduate Nursing and Nursing PhD

    What: Giarelli has been volunteering at FEMA Medical Reserve Corps of Mercer County New Jersey administering COVID-19 vaccinations and preparing syringes for a year.
    Why: To provide a service to my community. Caption for picture: Vaccination Clinic at Mercer County Community College. From left to right: Ellen Giarelli, EdD, Drexel University, Stephanie Mendelsonn, Medical Reserve Corps, Chris Sntoro, NJ Department of Health
    Benefit: Camaraderie with other health care providers, supporting the emotional needs of vaccine recipients, facilitate distribution of the vaccine.



    Drexel University's Tara Cherwony, BS `18, College of Nursing and Health Professions Recruitment Coordinator, Student Services Department

    Tara Cherwony, BS `18, Recruitment Coordinator, Student Services Department

    What: Cherwony’s volunteering is twofold. She serves on the Jewish Relief Agency (JRA) board of directors and chair their Leadership Academy Program. She also serves as a Yellow Capper and since the pandemic has been in the warehouse several times a month to sort, pack and deliver monthly food boxes to those who are facing food insecurity in the Greater Philadelphia Area.
    Why: I volunteer because I want to be able to give back to the community. I know that regardless of what role I am doing, I am helping get an individual or family food that will take a huge burden off their shoulders every month. Food insecurity (especially since the pandemic) is on the rise, and you never know who may be struggling. With being so hands-on with JRA during the pandemic, I have been able to see the direct impact we make in our client lives.
    Benefit: There are so many but being able to connect with our clients and know the difference we are making in their lives is the biggest reward. It has been so hard over the past year, but seeing the community come together although not physically (pre-pandemic we could have upwards of 1,200 volunteers in the warehouse for our monthly food distribution, but now we can only have 25 at a time) to support JRA’s work as we continue to add new clients each month goes to show just how important volunteering is. It feels great being part of a community of people who do so much good for others.



    Julie Kinzel, MEd, PA-C

    Julie Kinzel, MEd, Interim Department Chair and Program Director, Physician Assistant

    What: For the last 20 years, Kinzel has lead Baptism classes, assisted minister, and done committee work, food donations, code blue homeless shelter work at Trinity Lutheran Church.
    Why: It feels good to give of my time and talents to various endeavors that I care about and to help others.
    Benefit: Volunteering, whether small or large, gives one a sense of pride and overall well-being.




    Jessica Moschette, Drexel University's College on Nursing and Health Professions Health Sciences Student

    Jessica Moschette, Student, Health Sciences

    What: Moschette is a student representative for the Exercise is Medicine-On Campus (EIM-OC) program at Drexel University whose responsibilities include being the voice of the student population. This includes contributing her thoughts, ideas and current news as an undergraduate student during their meetings. She also runs EIM-OC’s social media platforms creating and posting content.
    Why: I volunteer because this program is very important. I am proud to support and dedicate my time to a cause that I find to be a crucial element to foster/promote on Drexel’s campus. The initiative to encourage exercise and movement for the community is part of my values and goal in life. As I plan to become a physical therapist, I want to encourage the use of exercise as medicine.
    Benefit: From volunteering, I can provide input from the perspective of a student and personal experiences at Drexel. This allows initiatives to reach more students or be more convenient for them. I am also able to make connections with members of Drexel University that are a part of EIM-OC. I get the opportunity to hear their ideas/ thoughts to help reach our goals to unite the different elements of exercise and health on our campus.



    Anna Pohuly, Executive Assistant for the senior associate dean of Nursing & Student Affairs and chief academic nursing officer at Drexel University's College of Nursing and Health Professions

    Anna Pohuly, Executive Assistant for the senior associate dean of Nursing & Student Affairs

    What: Pohuly started volunteering in Drexel’s vaccination clinic this year. She directs people to their appointments and keeps the waiting lines orderly. Prior to working in the clinic, she assisted students with making their appointments.
    Why: I enjoy helping people, and love seeing people happy. I have really missed human connection over the last year, so it was nice to see others.
    Benefit: Everyone is so happy and grateful to be there, and I was fortunate to be part of it.



    Drexel Academic Tower Updates

    01/14/21

    December 9, 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.”

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