Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Art Therapy

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Course Details

  • Course ID: 2160

  • Added: September 13, 2022

  • Tuition Fee: Fair

  • Country: United States

  • City: Massachusetts

  • Views: 42



Lesley University

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA), on-campus or low-residency graduate program

Name of the Program

Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Art Therapy

About the Program

Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Art Therapy

Master of Arts (MA), on-campus or low-residency graduate program

Help others explore the therapeutic power of art making.

Drawing from your experience as a visual artist, discover art making’s potential to help others gain self-awareness and understanding. Through our art therapy program, study to promote healing through drawing, painting, sculpting, and other media. Train alongside world-recognized faculty in a national hub for mental health practice and research, and spend 1,150 hours in the field fostering well-being in individuals, families, and communities.

At Lesley University, you’ll continue to explore your identity as an artist while developing as an art therapist. You will build the foundational skills and experiences needed to become a licensed mental health counselor. Working within our cross-disciplinary community, build your expertise in the therapeutic applications for art making, while finding opportunities to collaborate with students working in diverse artistic disciplines, from drama to music to writing.

As you train for a career in mental health counseling and art therapy, build an understanding of the science that underlies human behavior. Learn how to address the changing needs of human beings across the lifespan. Research the artistic, physical, cognitive, neurological, and social development of individuals. Infuse this science with creativity and compassion to help others come to a place of wholeness and wellness.

Gain the skills and experiences needed to practice in a range of clinical settings. Master assessment strategies and develop treatment plans for different populations, development levels, and cultures. Tap into our vast network of field training sites throughout Greater Boston and across the U.S.

Graduate prepared for an impactful career in mental health clinics, psychiatric clinics, hospitals, schools, and beyond.

Art Therapy Specialization Mission Statement

Lesley’s Art Therapy Specialization endeavors to prepare competent entry-level Art Therapists in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains. Specifically, the program aims to prepare its students to become skilled, knowledgeable, compassionate art therapy professionals who are able to work in a diverse world.  Students are trained to use the art media and the creative process to treat emotional and physical illness, and to help people achieve a greater sense of integration, wholeness, and wellness. Towards this end, they maintain their identities as artists, develop fundamental skills as mental health counselors, and integrate these realms into their work as art therapists.   In addition to their proficiency with the visual arts, students also gain familiarity and comfort with other creative arts modalities. The power of art, dance, drama, expressive arts and music give voice to personal meaning from a cultural and critical pedagogical context. The interdisciplinary nature of the arts meets the needs of a wide range of clinical populations in preparing our students for professional growth, lifelong learning and leadership in their communities. Another aim of students’ training is mentoring them to become leaders who can influence both constructive change in society and their profession.  

Program Goals and Learning Statement

The goal of the Expressive Therapies master’s degree programs is to provide students the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to practice in a range of professional settings, including health care facilities, schools, community agencies, and private practices. The Expressive Therapies 60-credit programs meet the academic and field training requirements for mental health counselor licensure (LMHC) in Massachusetts. (Students intending to work outside of Massachusetts are advised to review their state’s regulations to determine their eligibility for licensure.) Specialization tracks prepare graduates for certification or registration by their respective professional associations.  

The Expressive Therapies faculty established these program goals. Aligned with the mission of Lesley and the Graduate School of Arts & Social Sciences, they are also specific to the Graduate Expressive Therapies Department, with deep consideration of our program’s history and the contemporary landscape of expressive therapies and mental health counseling.

1. Dual Identity as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor and Expressive Therapist 

Students will demonstrate a dual identity as a clinical mental health counselor and expressive therapist, and an understanding of the ways in which the professions enhance and complement one another. 

2. Professional Orientation and Ethics 

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the counseling profession and their modality profession. Students will demonstrate the capacity to provide counseling services within the ethical codes of the counseling profession and their modality specializations, and with an understanding of legal issues. 

3. Clinical Mental Health Counseling Theory 

Students will gain substantial knowledge of core counseling theories as applied to individual and group processes, skills, and approaches. 

4. Human Development Across the Lifespan 

Students will assess and cultivate an understanding of human growth and development throughout the lifespan, including an understanding of arts-based development, and the connection between developmental theory, clinical issues. Students will be able to design interventions, as well as apply considerations of environmental, biological, and cultural factors. 

5. Clinical Skills and Helping Relationships 

Students will demonstrate counseling skills and techniques which exhibit awareness of self and other in the therapeutic relationship. Students will demonstrate the ability to document and evaluate progress towards treatment goals.  

6. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

Students will develop a critical multicultural lens of the sociocultural foundations in the counseling and expressive therapy process, including developing an awareness and knowledge of power, privilege, and oppression at the micro, macro, personal, and interpersonal levels. Students will develop strategies to identify and eliminate cultural barriers, prejudice, and discriminatory practices.  

7. Career Development 

Students will demonstrate knowledge of vocational counseling theory and apply career development methods to individual professional development. 

8. Group Process in Counseling and Expressive Therapies 

Students will develop a theoretical and embodied understanding of group process and dynamics, theory, skill, and approaches. 

9. Assessment 

Students will gain knowledge and skills in understanding and utilizing formal assessment instruments and information gathering techniques, used in case conceptualization, treatment planning. Students will also be able to analyze and critique assessment tools regarding ethical usage and multicultural competency.  

10. Research and Program Evaluation 

Students will develop the ability to locate, read, critique, and evaluate research to inform clinical practice. Through this activity, students will contribute knowledge to the profession of counseling and their modality specializations. 

11. Psycho-diagnostics and Treatment 

Students will gain an understanding of the broad spectrum of psychopathology and diagnostic criteria utilized in the current DSM 5 and ICD 10 to inform ethical clinical practice and evaluation within a diverse context. 

12. Trauma and Crisis Intervention 

 Students will demonstrate trauma-informed skills within clinical practice, including knowledge of crisis intervention, and risk and suicide assessment. Students will understand current research and application in how the arts are used in trauma-informed practice, including individual, community, cultural, and systemic complex trauma across the lifespan. 

13. Embodied, Experiential and Creative Clinical Practices 

Students will be able to articulate, embody, and apply the transformative nature of creativity and the arts intrapersonally, interpersonally, and clinically, demonstrating the integration of knowledge and skills within practice.   

14. Mental Health and Community Systems 

Students will demonstrate knowledge and apply skills associated with working in diverse communities and multi-disciplinary teams. Students will critically analyze methods of treatment, referral, and interdisciplinary collaboration from a global health perspective.  

15. Personal Growth, Insight, and Congruence 

Students will develop and engage in multifaceted processes which foster self-awareness, and awareness of others’ experiences with cultural sensitivity. Students will develop and begin to articulate and evidence, in their scholarship and clinical practices, their theoretical orientation.   

Students take courses in a scheduled sequence, where learning takes place in increments that align with their emerging competencies as clinicians. Following the program’s course sequence ensures that students build upon knowledge and skills in a manner that maximizes their learning efforts, and that is appropriate and supportive, as they begin to practice in the field. 

Program Structure

3-Year Program, Full-Time; On-Campus or Low-Residency Formats


To enroll in this program, you’ll need to show proof of your:

-Bachelor’s degree

-GPA of 3.0 or better

-Life experience and volunteer work related to art therapy

Completed coursework in:

-Psychology (12 credits, including abnormal psychology and developmental
psychology, with grades of B or better)

-Studio Art (18 credits, with grades of B or better)

required Art Therapy Courses  12 Credits:

Required art therapy courses in art therapy theory, group work, art therapy studio, and assessment.

required Core Courses  30 Credits:

Required core courses in expressive therapies theory, research, and practice, human development, and ethics

Elective Courses  6 Credits:

Elective courses including one art therapy-related course and one interdisciplinary course

Field Experience  12 Credits:

Field experience including clinical skills and applications coursework and supervised internship experiences

Approximate Time to Complete:

On Campus

Full-time, 3-Year Program
Take 3-12 credits/semester for 8 semesters, including summers.

Take 6-9 credits/semester for 9 semesters, including summers. Complete in 3 years.

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