EXPRESSIVE ARTS THERAPY TRAINING

Expressive arts therapy is a multi-modality, integrative approach to working with the creative arts.

Please contact Heather Dawson and Sabette Thompson for further information: heatherdawson@vati.bc.ca and sabette@vati.bc.ca
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Expressive Arts Therapy Program

The Expressive Arts Therapy program offers a comprehensive training for those who would like to pursue a career in Expressive Arts Therapy.  The coursework extends over a ten-month period that begins in the fall of each year.  Courses are scheduled as monthly and bi-monthly intensive weekends following a hybrid model where courses are delivered in person and online.

Our training is suitable for students who wish to obtain a professional training in expressive arts therapy, a continuing education experience that provides qualifications that combine with a previous graduate degree, or for those who wish to continue their studies and pursue further graduate studies.

The training includes experiential discovery through the arts, the study of the theory and philosophy of practice, and the engagement of the methods of intermodal arts-based therapy, through field work and reflective practice.  Students are encouraged to apply learning in a range of fields such as, expressive arts therapy counselling, education, health and wellness, community and land-based arts initiatives, consultation, and the arts.

Our program offers a perspective that fosters the understanding of principles and practices that support social change and social action. Students are encouraged to incorporate expressive arts learning in local and global settings.

History of Expressive Arts Therapy Program

In 2011 the Expressive Arts Therapy program began offering its first intermodal arts-based trainings. Since that time the program, its faculty and graduates have continued to develop and shape the local and international community of expressive arts in practise, research and writings.

From its beginning the training has been grounded in learning through the arts and learning in community.  We continue to evolve our arts based and phenomenological expressive arts approach and strive to respond to new developments in related fields and to the evolving needs of contemporary life.

One such response is our collaboration with the Vancouver Arts Therapy Institute which has been inspired by their longstanding commitment to continue to offer our programming through the Vancouver Arts Therapy Institute and will continue to work alongside as we explore our mutually resonant fields.

Training Philosophy

At the Expressive Arts program we are interested in creating a collaborative learning community.  We seek to discover new and creative ways to shape and engage our learning in the field of expressive arts therapy and are committed to teaching and learning through the experiential, theoretical and practical application of our work.  There is a value placed on flexibility, nontraditional and traditional methods of education, active and reflective models of learning, and self-directed learning. 

We expect that students have as much to offer in the learning process as they receive from it.  Students are encouraged to develop learning goals that fit their life experiences and fulfill their dreams.

The Expressive Arts Therapy program and the people who make up the expressive arts community are supported and inspired by an intermodal arts-based theory.  We continue to explore the influences and the application of our work in the multiple domains of psychology, philosophy, anthropology, aesthetic theory, and social change. Ours is an inclusive and interdisciplinary perspective, which places the arts and poiesis at its center. We view poiesis (the action to make) as a verb or a process that shapes, transforms, and continues the world. We aim to create, explore, and refine, new and better ways of working congruently with these central ideas.

EXA Program

The Expressive Arts Therapy program offers comprehensive training extending over a 10-month period beginning in September and ending in June.  Courses are scheduled as weekend intensives that take place monthly and bi-monthly according to the yearly schedule.  There are 3 modules that are a part of the curriculum – Experiential Training, Theoretical Foundations, and Applied Practice. These modules run concurrently and total 500 in-class hours.  Weekend intensives alternate between experiential in-person courses and online theoretical courses.  In addition, each student will complete a 150-hour off-site Practicum component and 150 hours of Client Administration (non-client contact hours) – a total of 300 hours.  There is a practicum Supervision course that is scheduled to take place online during a weekday evening. Students can engage in Practicum placements in the area in which they reside.  Additional online learning is offered through a readings course which requires student participation through online responses.  This schedule allows students to travel to attend in-person weekend courses and maintain personal and working life commitments.

We offer a unique perspective which fosters the understanding of theory, principles, and practices in order to support social change and social action. Therefore, graduates can choose to apply their learning in a range of fields. For example: one-on-one expressive arts therapy, education, health and wellness, community organizations, community service and social activism.

Our cohort numbers range between 16-20 students.  The small cohort number ensures a high-quality educational experience for each student.

Course Information

There are 3 modules in this 800-hour program: Experiential Training, Theoretical Foundations, and Applied Practice. These modules run concurrently and total 500 in-class hours.

In addition, each student will complete a 150-hour off-site Practicum placement that includes 150 hours of Practicum Client Administration.  Total Practicum = 300 hours.

 

Experiential Training Module 150 hours
Theoretical Foundations Module 150 hours
Applied Practice Module 200 hours
Practicum Placement 150 hours
Practicum Client Administration 150 hours
Total 800 hours

Experiential Training

These experiential courses offer an in-depth exploration of the inter-modal arts-based approach, that is the foundation of expressive arts education and practice. There are six core areas of learning. These core areas are taught as individual intensive courses that emphasize areas of the arts and the movement between the expressive arts modalities in practice. Each of the core experiential courses looks at the writings in the field of expressive arts and applies experiential learning to arts-based theory in practice and in discussion.

Experiential Training Module courses are intended to encourage learners in a self-directed exploration and understanding of the various media, processes, and the language of inter-modal expressive arts practice. The courses will introduce a training model that provides a framework for applied expressive arts practice and the exploration of expressive arts practice through personal experience and reflection. The courses will follow a format of experiential learning, class discussion, lecture, and video presentation.

Courses

Expressive Arts Practice and Visual Arts

25 Hours

The Expressive Arts and Visual Arts Practice course encourages a self-directed exploration and understanding of visual art media, processes and visual arts language. Emphasis will be placed upon the development of skills that support engagement with the creative process as it relates to imagery and imagination. The course will introduce a training model that provides a framework for applied visual arts practice in working with others, and the exploration of expressive arts theory as it applies to the practice of using the visual arts. The course will follow a format of in-class discussion, lecture and video presentation.

Expressive Arts Practice and Movement

25 Hours

The Expressive Arts and Movement course encourages a self-directed exploration and understanding of movement processes and the language of movement. Emphasis will be placed upon the development of skills that support engagement with the creative process as it relates to sensory, kinesthetic and movement awareness. The course will introduce a training model that provides a framework for applied movement practice in working with others, and the exploration of expressive arts theory as it applies to the practice of using movement. The course will follow a format of in-class discussion, lecture and video presentation.

Expressive Arts Practice Poetry, Storytelling and Narrative

25 hours

The Expressive Arts Poetry, Storytelling and Narrative course encourages a self-directed exploration and understanding of myth, symbolic language and the resources found in working with narrative. Emphasis will be placed upon the development of skills that support engagement with the creative process as it relates to engaging in and with these modalities. The course will introduce a training model that provides a framework for applied practice in working with others, and the exploration of expressive arts theory as it applies to the practice of using poetry, storytelling, and narrative. The course will follow a format of in-class discussion, lecture and video presentation.

Expressive Arts Practice and Sound

25 hours

The Expressive Arts and Sound course encourages a self-directed exploration and understanding of music processes and language. Emphasis will be placed upon the development of skills that support engagement with the creative process as it relates to engaging in and with music. The course will introduce a training model that provides a framework for applied practice in working with others, and the exploration of expressive arts theory as it applies to the practice of using music. The course will follow a format of in class discussion, lecture, and video presentation.

Expressive Arts Practice and Drama and Play

25 hours

The Expressive Arts Practice Drama and Play courses encourages a self-directed exploration and understanding of the uses of imaginative play and enactment in expressive arts practice. Emphasis will be placed upon the development of skills that support engagement with the creative process as it relates to engaging in and with these modalities. The course will introduce a training model that provides a framework for applied practice in working with others, and the exploration of expressive arts theory as it applies to the practice of using drama and play. The course will follow a format of in-class discussion, lecture and video presentation.

Expressive Arts and Intermodal Training

25 hours

The Expressive Arts and Intermodal Training course offers an opportunity for students to integrate and demonstrate their abilities and understanding of the materials covered in the previous modalities. The course will follow a format of in-class presentations, respectful feedback and discussion.

Theoretical Foundations

These theoretical courses offer an in-depth exploration of the theory of expressive arts and its application to practice and leadership. There are six core areas of learning. These core areas are taught as individual intensive courses that emphasize the way in which theory informs expressive arts practice. Each of the core theory courses look at the writings in the field of expressive arts and their application to arts-based theory in practice and in discussion. Expressive Arts Theory Training Group Courses are intended to encourage self-directed exploration and understanding of the literature, research, processes and language of the field of intermodal expressive arts practice. The courses will introduce foundational theory and provide a framework for applied expressive arts practice. The courses will follow a format of lecture, class discussion, experiential learning, and video presentation.

Courses

Community Arts and Social Practice/ Group Counselling Methods

25 hours

This course highlights the role of expressive arts practice in groups with children, youth, adults, and communities. The course promotes awareness of our individual interactive style and its impact on various cultural and interest group settings. Students will be introduced to the theory and practice of effective community engagement and effective community arts practice, in advocacy, social learning, conflict resolution, group facilitation, strategic planning and collaborative partnership building.

Expressive Arts in Context/ ECO Based EXA/ Cultural Awareness and Intersectionality

25 hours

This course aims to explore and integrate the developments and perspectives involved in expressive arts practice with diverse populations. The course will be guided by the use of published expressive arts writings that explore the use of expressive arts in various settings and contexts. The course includes an exploration of ECO and land-based approaches in expressive arts therapy.   

Human Development/ Trauma and Intersectionality

5 hours

This course explores the developmental stages across the lifespan, using frameworks from various theoretical and cultural models, including the expressive arts approach.  It addresses issues of nurturance, practitioner relationship, assessment, diversity, intersectionality and cultural considerations. Family practice and explorations of theories of play and imagination are part of this survey course.

Understanding Human Behaviour/ Health and Wellness (Psychopathology)

25 hours

This course introduces frameworks for understanding and evaluating health and illness. Course objectives include the development of an understanding of medical expertise, the development of awareness of Western, Eastern, and cross-cultural models of health and illness and the appreciation of the lived experience of people who suffer within the continuum of “normal” and “abnormal” behavior across human beings and cultures. The course objectives will be considered and explored in relationship to arts-based theory and expressive arts practice.

Foundations in Expressive Arts/Counselling Methods

25 hours

This course will introduce traditional and contemporary theories and practices of psychotherapy and counselling. We will begin by situating the field in relation to indigenous, historical and sociocultural roots.  Expressive arts therapy theory and its intersections of influence will be discussed and woven into the frameworks of theories presented.  These topics will be reviewed through lecture, discussion, and practice.  This course will include an overview of the theory of expressive arts philosophy and method of practice.

Applied Practice

This module will focus on the embodiment of advanced practice skills and their integration in the professional application of expressive arts work in the community. The module will provide a framework for applied and advanced expressive arts practice. The courses will follow a format of lecture, class discussion, experiential learning and writing.

Courses

Expressive Arts Method and Practice

150 hours

The Expressive Arts Method and Practice Training Group provides an opportunity to engage and embody the principles and methods of practice of expressive arts. The course highlights the role of leadership in action and promotes awareness of individual interactive style and its impact on expressive arts practice work.  Students will be introduced to models of engagement that develop individual and community resources within the expressive arts context.

Expressive Arts Fieldwork Supervision

50 hours

The Expressive Arts Fieldwork Supervision course provides guidance and reflective learning that supports the student in their practice work in the community. The course supports the student in the practical work of expressive arts practice.

Practicum

150 hours

Each student will complete 150 direct contact hours while participating in an off-site practicum. Students enter diverse community settings where they have the opportunity to apply the principles of practice learned in class. The practicum integrates experiential learning, theory, and practice; students embody their work as professionals and develop strength and clarity in their own unique application of the practice.

Some examples of our placement sites are as follows: schools and educational settings, agencies for specific populations such as special needs or elder care, residential in-care settings such as women’s shelters, addiction treatment and harm reduction facilities, community arts organizations, community development organizations and more. Students are encouraged and assisted in developing placements in areas of particular interest to them.

Students are supported by a liaison person from the hosting organization who acts as their supervisor while onsite and have the opportunity to work collaboratively with other professionals. Whenever possible, students are mentored at sites where expressive arts graduates are employed.

Client Administration

150 hours

Each student will complete 150 hours of indirect client administration related to their practicum work, which involves planning, organizing and reviewing materials.

Professional Ethics/Assessment/Documentation in Expressive Arts

25 hours

This course will explore the professional relationship and the understanding of ethics in expressive arts practice. The course will examine the assessment criteria, methods, and skills, that support a resource oriented, presentation of client work.  The development of professional communication skills, the writing of notes, and the presentation of evaluative material is included in this course.

How to Apply (Canadian Citizens)

Application Requirements

$75 application fee (non-refundable).

Completed application form.

Please submit the following (3 pages total):

  1. A brief autobiography describing your background, interests and events that have shaped your life and brought you to apply to expressive arts therapy training.
  2. Describe your current personal and professional goals.
  3. Explain how you would like to apply the training to your personal and professional life.

Admissions interview.

Admission Procedures

Upon successful acceptance of your application for admission, you will be required to provide the following:

  • 175$ deposit on tuition and other costs (non-refundable)
  • Proof of identity (a photocopy of either your driver’s license, passport, or other photo ID)
  • Proof of Bachelors Degree or equivalency – all official transcripts must be sent directly to the institute
  • A signed copy of the Student Enrolment Contract

We have an ongoing admission process and as our program has limited availability due to small class sizes, we strongly encourage you to apply before May 1st. This will enable a smooth entry into the program and will ensure you receive priority in your work placement opportunities.  Late applications will be accepted based on the availability of space.

How to Apply (International Students)

Application Requirements

Completed application form.

Please submit the following (3 pages total):

  1. A brief autobiography describing your background, interests and events that have shaped your life and brought you to apply to expressive arts therapy training.
  2. Describe your current personal and professional goals.
  3. Explain how you would like to apply the training to your personal and professional life.

Admissions interview.

Admission Procedures

Upon successful acceptance of your application for admission, you will be required to provide the following:

  • $175 CDN deposit on tuition and other costs (non-refundable)
  • Proof of identity (a photocopy of either your driver’s license, passport, or other photo ID)
  • Proof of Bachelors Degree or equivalency – all official transcripts must be sent directly to the institute
  • A signed copy of the Student Enrolment Contract

International students are encouraged to apply early based on these additional requirements.

We have an ongoing admission process and as our program has limited availability due to small class sizes, we strongly encourage you to apply before May 1st. This will enable a smooth entry into the program and will ensure you receive priority in your work placement opportunities. Late applications will be accepted based on the availability of space.

International students must follow all admission procedures and obtain a letter of acceptance before applying for a study permit.  In addition, an international study permit application requires the designated learning institute number DLI: 019275386392

TUITION BREAKDOWN

 

Domestic

Application Fee $75 non-refundable
Admissions Fee (upon acceptance) $175 non-refundable registration fee
Tuition $15,500 payable in three installments

  • First instalment $5,500 – Due before or on the beginning day of program
  • Second instalment $5,000 – Due beginning of December
  • Third instalment $5,000 – Due beginning of March

Canadian students are eligible to apply for bank loans. On entry into the program, students will sign a financial agreement contract as required by the Private Training Institutions Branch of British Columbia.

International

Application Fee $75 non-refundable
Admissions Fee (upon acceptance) $175 non-refundable registration fee
Tuition $16,000 payable in three installments

  • First instalment $6,000 – Due before or on the beginning day of program
  • Second instalment $5,000 – Due beginning of December
  • Third instalment $5,000 – Due beginning of March

On entry into the program, students will sign a financial agreement contract as required by the Private Training Institutions Branch of British Columbia.

Withdrawals

In the event of withdrawal before completing the program, students receive refunds as mandated by PTIB (Private Training Institutions Branch). View our refund policy.

MORE INFORMATION

For more information about the Expressive Arts Therapy Program, please contact:

Heather Dawson
Email: heatherdawson@vati.bc.ca

Sabette Thompson
Email: sabette@vati.bc.ca

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Expressive Arts Therapy?

Expressive arts therapy is a therapy/counselling modality that integrates the philosophical theory of phenomenology, theories of development, personality, counselling skills and the use of the arts and its processes into an integrated treatment modality.  We work with a range of arts modalities (such as movement, sound, visual art, photography, play, poetic expression, storytelling, eco-based practices) and emphasize the natural movement between these art expressions during a session.

Expressive arts therapists are clinicians trained to work with a range of client populations and clinical issues. Expressive arts therapists work with children, adolescents, adults, couples, families, and groups and treat clients individually or as part of a treatment team. They work in a range of settings and contexts, including counseling agencies, hospital settings, schools, treatment programs and private practice.  Like other mental health clinicians, expressive arts therapists are trained to be familiar with a range of theoretical approaches, and over the course of training and professional practice typically develop an integrated style congruent with their training, personality and specific interests.

What is the role of art making in expressive arts therapy?

The “creative act” and its imaginative processes, play a central role in expressive arts therapy. Expressive arts therapists, view the creative, artistic process within the therapy setting and the relationship that evolves between the participant, expressive arts therapist, the arts engagement, and the arts creation, as an opportunity to actively engage with the issues brought to therapy. By working with the sensory properties of materials, and various modalities, by taking action and literally forming responses to life circumstances, clients are invited to self-reflect, make choices, navigate limitations and frustrations, express and explore solutions.

SOCIAL MEDIA

CONTACT

Vancouver Art Therapy Institute
291 E. 2nd Ave.
Vancouver, BC V5T 1B8
Phone: 604-681-8284
Email: info@vati.bc.ca

Expressive Arts Therapy Contact
Email: heatherdawson@vati.bc.ca
Email: sabette@vati.bc.ca

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