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CAT Alumni: Akash Bhatia '16

March 16, 2020

To celebrate Creative Arts Therapies Week and the incredible education the College of Nursing and Health Professions affords students, we caught up with some alumni who are more than happy to talk about their Drexel experience.

Akash Bhatia '16, MA, MT-BC, LPC

Why did you choose the College of Nursing and Health Professions Creative Arts Therapies program?

I chose Drexel University for my music therapy education because the program belonged in a health professions college rather than a college of music. Already having a music degree, I wanted a balanced education among other creative arts therapy and allied health professions students. I also selected Drexel because its program trains students in both music therapy and in mental health counseling.

How was your practicum/internship experience?

I found my practicum and internship experiences to be rewarding, challenging and enjoyable. I continue to feel grateful to have had knowledgeable and supportive clinical supervisors who taught me invaluable skills that I still use today and who allowed me to grow into being an independent clinician. They taught me the importance of treating clients as whole, unique individuals while also considering the impacts of their systems and environment.

What impact did Drexel’s CAT program have on you?

I feel grateful to have been a student in Drexel’s program where I learned advanced music therapy and counseling skills, and I learned how to integrate both types of work in my treatment approach. I benefited from studying among other creative arts therapy students, as the program exposed me to art therapy and dance/movement therapy experiences. I currently work as a music therapist and intake coordinator at the Institute for Therapy through the Arts and having exposure to other creative arts therapies helps me determine modality placements for our new clients.

What advice would you give someone applying to Drexel’s program?

I would encourage someone to come in with strong piano, guitar and voice skills in addition to your primary instrument. I did not know how to play the guitar until I decided to become a music therapist, so I’m glad I took some guitar lessons before I applied to Drexel. That allowed me to use my time at Drexel to refine my guitar skills for clinical purposes. I also advise you listen to and learn about as many different genres of music—across several cultures—as possible. This will prepare you to use client-preferred music in your practicum and internship.

What makes you a proud alumni of Drexel’s CAT program?

I feel proud to have graduated from Drexel because I received an education from fantastic clinicians. I continue to see their impact upon their local communities and their contribution to the creative arts therapy fields. I am also proud to have studied at a university that encourages community-based work. I worked with a South Asian mental health support group through my capstone thesis, and I worked with an LGBTQ youth center through the Bridging the Gaps internship offered to Drexel students.