The Vancouver Art Therapy Institute (VATI) is a recognized training facility by the Canadian Art Therapy Association. At VATI we train art therapists using a meta-theoretical, client centered approach. Although VATI acknowledges the historical foundation of the Institute and of the field of art therapy as being psychology-focused and psychodynamic in approach, we have expanded our foundation to include contemporary theories and approaches from a much broader paradigm. Our curriculum challenges students to advance their therapeutic values and practical approaches through different lenses. We look to anthropology, sociology, aesthetic theory, social action and critical theory to encourage students to become more aware of themselves, and their clients, in the therapeutic frame. Our students see how social policy and theory affect human beings, and whole communities through their clinical placement experiences.
By focusing on training professionals through a practical approach, our two programs bring together theory and practice in the following ways:
- By engaging in their own art journey, students gain a personal understanding of the power of the creative process.
- Through clinical placement experience in community students gain familiarity with a wide variety of client groups.
- Through the study of advancing research and theory in the field, students integrate both experiential and theoretical appreciation of art therapy.
The emphasis is on promoting therapeutic relationships with clients as well as contributing to a multi-disciplinary approach to mental health.