Art Therapy and Assessment

Familiarizes students with the use of art therapy through formal and informal assessment, and the process of assessment from referral to first contact, establishing treatment goals, identifying strengths, developing interventions, record keeping, report writing and termination.

Ethics of Art Therapy

Addresses personal and professional ethical issues in art therapy and provides a foundation for thinking through ethical problems that arise. The course will integrate knowledge, practical skills, and student self-awareness.

Case Studies

Students design, prepare, and present case studies for assessment, treatment, and professional development purposes. The objective is for students to develop the skill of art therapy case conceptualization and present so as to articulate their clinical work for a collegial or professional audience.
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Child Art Therapy (delivered online)

An introduction to working creatively with children via art therapy to address the effects of events, relationships and reactions that are having a negative impact in their lives. Play and the arts are the language of the child and arguably one of the most powerful ways of communicating and working through the challenges of their lives. Students will develop competency in the use of art therapy with children through readings, class discussions and class exercises designed to reflect on their own experience of childhood.

Adolescent Art Therapy (delivered online)

Exploration of the use of art therapy with adolescents. As well as the age appropriate developmental tasks, students will consider how art therapy can be used with adolescents who are struggling with issues related to the effects of earlier situations and events, as well as societal pressures. Students will be encouraged to explore how best to incorporate new learning regarding this client population into their own personal style and theoretical framework.

Family Art Therapy

An introduction to the field of family art therapy and why family art therapy is useful in most therapeutic settings. Students will learn different theoretical approaches to family therapy and learn how to utilize these approaches to support family art therapy work. Examines family therapy, family art therapy and the family as an emotional system.

Group Art Therapy

Explores the practical aspects of group work with a focus on group art therapy. Students have the opportunity to facilitate a short term weekly art therapy group.

Equity and Diversity and Art Therapy (delivered online)

Assist students to develop skills in order to acknowledge, understand, and leverage cultural differences, combined with a critical analysis of power and privilege; skill development involves experiential work to broaden self-awareness, something that is key to multicultural counselling. Art therapy students who are open to diverse, individual point of view are more likely to be able to engage clients in a safe context that facilitates expression, work with resistances, and co-create a space for processing of individual and sociocultural dimensions of difference.

The Art of Loss (delivered online)

Throughout this course, students will develop an understanding of loss, grief, and mourning. The Art of Loss provides a foundation for thinking about loss; loss can take many forms, most of which do not involve death. The course will integrate knowledge regarding historical and contemporary perspectives of loss, practical skills, and student self-awareness.

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Art Therapy History and Theory (delivered online)

Throughout this course, students will acquire an understanding of key figures, theoretical approaches, and current trends in the field. Art therapy will be situated with other historical and contemporary healing practices, with the aim of understanding and expanding on their significance in regard to the practice of art therapy. Students will have the opportunity to see how art therapy has proliferated and expanded beyond its early psychoanalytic roots, as art therapists have increased the theoretical lenses through which they perceive art therapy. Selected course readings and assignments will allow students to develop their looking and listening perspectives and their own emerging theory of the practice of art therapy.

Human Development and Art Therapy (delivered online)

Students will have the opportunity to journey over the lifespan of human development; the influence of culture, relationships and the individual connected to their social environment are examined as well as how human behavior is acquired, modified, and maintained. Art therapy and how it is integrated into theories of human development will be explored combined with introspection into students’ own development in order to be more fully attuned with their clients.

Abnormal Psychology and Art Therapy (delivered online)

A course focused on historical and contemporary views of psychopathology, as well as psychological, emotional, biological, and socio-cultural influences and approaches to understanding abnormal behavior. The delivery method for this course is online.back to top

Practice and Professional Practice:

Studio: Art Therapy Trainings and Practice

An experiential course offering students a direct and personal exploration of the art therapy process. Students will participate in weekly art-making session and discussions using their spontaneous artwork. In understanding and deepening their own creative process and visual vocabulary, students will develop sensitivity and insight into their clinical experience.

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Final Project

The final project illustrates the application of art therapy in an area of specialization. The structure of the project if flexible and includes several possibilities:

  1. A Case Study
  2. Extended Literature Review
  3. Program Proposal
Clinical Placement

Students are engaged in clinical placements in the community such as schools, agencies, hospitals, residential treatment and community settings. 700 hours of art therapy practice are required which include client contact, site responsibilities, and potential training provided by the site. While there are approved clinical placements, students are also encouraged to contact sites directly that they may be interested in. Students are covered by the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute liability insurance.


Supervision is conducted in conjunction with clinical placements and supports students in their work with clients. This weekly small group seminar facilitates learning about the application of art therapy as a unique medium for treatment.

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