Our faculty members are talented educators and dedicated scholars, who have been elected to state and national leadership positions in the Virginia Art Therapy Association and the American Art Therapy Association.

Through our faculty members' teaching methods, students in our 61-credit, two-year program engage with the elements of art therapy practice and the research that leads to improved care. Our instruction focuses on collaborative and experiential learning, reflecting on learning and applying those lessons to internships and clinical work.

Course Sequence

First Year

Semester 1 - Fall

AT 516 - Clinical Case Conference (1)
AT 521 - Individual Counseling & Psychotherapy (3)
AT 524 - Processes & Materials of Art Psychotherapy I (4)
AT 528 - Theories of Human Psychological Development (3)
AT 530 - Psychopathology (3)
AT 534 - Introduction of the History & Theory of Art Therapy (1)
AT 548 - Assessment (3)
AT 550 - Practica Fieldwork (1)

Semester 2 - Spring

AT 520 - Group Counseling & Psychotherapy (3)
AT 529 - Case Presentation Skills (1)
AT 547 - Individual Supervision I (1)
AT 549 - Processes & Materials of Art Psychotherapy II (4)
AT 551 - Practicum I (.5)
AT 555 - Internship I (2.5)
AT 561 - Child Counseling & Psychotherapy Skills (1) or
AT 563 - Adolescent Counseling & Psychotherapy Skills (1) or
AT 565 - Adult Counseling & Psychotherapy Skills (1)
AT 567 - Group Supervision Counseling & Psychotherapy with Children (1.5) or
AT 670 - Group Supervision Counseling & Psychotherapy with Adolescents (1.5) or
AT 667 - Group Supervision Counseling & Psychotherapy with Adults (1.5)

Semester 3 - Summer 

AT 513 - Research Methods & Program Evaluation (3)

Second Year

Semester 4 - Fall

AT 607 - Capstone (1)***
AT 616 - Clinical Case Conference II (1.5)
AT 636 - Cultural Competency (3)
AT 646 - Individual Supervision II (1)
AT 650 - Practicum II (.5)
AT 655 - Trauma Informed Art Therapy (1)
AT 656 - Internship II (2.5)
AT 660 - Child Counseling & Psychotherapy Skills (1) or
AT 662 - Adolescent Counseling & Psychotherapy Skills (1) or
AT 664 - Adult Counseling & Psychotherapy Skills (1)
AT 569 - Group Supervision Counseling & Psychotherapy with Children (1.5) or
AT 672 - Group Supervision Counseling & Psychotherapy with Adolescents (1.5) or
AT 669 - Group Supervision Counseling & Psychotherapy with Adults (1.5)

Semester 5 - Spring

AT 607 - Capstone (1)***
AT 617 - Ethics & Professionalism (3)
AT 647 - Individual Supervision III (1)
AT 649 - Creativity, Symbolism & Metaphor (3)
AT 651 - Practicum III (.5)
AT 657 - Internship III (2.5)
AT 661 - Child Counseling & Psychotherapy Skills (1) or
AT 663 - Adolescent Counseling & Psychotherapy Skills (1) or
AT 665 - Adult Counseling & Psychotherapy Skills (1)
AT 571 - Group Supervision Counseling & Psychotherapy with Children (1.5) or
AT 674 - Group Supervision Counseling & Psychotherapy with Adolescents (1.5) or
AT 673 - Group Supervision Counseling & Psychotherapy with Adults (1.5)

Electives and Specialization Courses

AT 533/633 - Clinical Specialties (varies)
AT 535/635 - Art Therapy in the Schools (1)
AT 562/652 - Medical Art Therapy (1)
AT 615 - Family Counseling & Psychotherapy (3)*
AT 638 - Countertransference/Jung (1)
AT 639 - Exploration of the Psyche (1)
AT 632 - Addictions (3)*
AT 634 - Career Counseling (3)*
AT 701 - Applied Cultural Sensitivity in Art Psychotherapy & Counseling (4)  

*Optional coursework for graduation; required for licensure

***Degree requires (1) credit Capstone; may be completed in the Fall or Spring of 2nd year

Course Descriptions

AT 513: Research Methods & Program Evaluation (3)
This course introduces the student to basic tenets of planning, conducting, and evaluating research. Aspects of research which are specific and unique to art therapy are introduced and discussed. Basic designs and components of research methods are explored.

AT 516: Clinical Case Conference I (1)
First year, first semester students attend the 616 Clinical Case Conference II, in which second year students present case material. The goal for the first year student is to become acquainted with organization and presentation of clinical material.

AT 520: Group Counseling & Psychotherapy (3)
This course includes the study of group counseling and psychotherapy techniques and practice. Emphasis is on use of group dynamics, process illumination, and stages of group development. Cultural and ethical issues are explored.

AT 521: Individual Counseling & Psychotherapy (3)
This course explores various theoretical approaches to individual psychotherapy and their relation to art psychotherapy approaches. The therapist’s values and ethics are addressed. The goal of the course is to provide the student with an opportunity to continue the development of an approach to individual psychotherapy.

AT 524: Processes & Materials of Art Psychotherapy I (4)
This course is designed so that the student will directly experience the therapeutic usefulness and understand the psychological implications of a variety of materials and processes. Students become familiar with the language of art and the range of possible therapeutic responses. Students learn the theory and application of the Expressive Therapies Continuum (ETC).

AT 528: Theories of Human Psychological Development (3)
Following a family life cycle perspective, students explore human psychological development from birth to death. Students are exposed to various theories of personality development. Cultural and environmental influences are addressed.

AT 530: Psychopathology (3)
Students learn descriptive criteria for psychiatric diagnoses, the use of the DSM V, and theories of psychopathology. A goal of the course is for students to develop an ability to recognize behavioral and art indicators of functional and organic disorders.

AT 534: Introduction to the History & Theory of Art Therapy (1)
This course offers an overview of the history and growth of art therapy as a discipline, along with an overview of theoretical approaches that have evolved from the founding practitioners in the field. Students develop a specific definition of art therapy that conveys a personal approach, as well as a clear understanding of the role of art therapists in various work settings. Current developments and future directions within the field are also explored.

AT 535/635: Art Therapy in the Schools (1)
This elective course introduces principles underlying comprehensive school art therapy service delivery. Topics explored include special and alternative education settings, program development, and research supporting art therapy in schools. Permission of program director is required.

AT 638: Countertransference/Jung (1)
This elective course facilitates through reading and discussion the exploration of the impact of transference and countertransference in work with patients. The impact on the therapist is explored with depth and implications for informing work with patients is explored. Permission of program director is required.

AT 639: Exploration of the Psyche (1)
This elective course aims to enliven the students’ understanding of the psyche and its processes, and to increase their understanding of the psychic processes both in the therapeutic process and in their own lives. Permission of program director is required.

AT 561/660/661: Child Counseling & Psychotherapy Skills (1)
AT 563/662/663: Adolescent Counseling & Psychotherapy Skills (1)
AT 565/664/665: Adult Counseling & Psychotherapy Skills (1)
Students attend academic skills discussion and topic presentations related to the treatment of children/adolescents/adults in various settings. Students demonstrate in depth knowledge of strengths and psychopathology related to the population. Students demonstrate knowledge in assessment, treatment planning, case formation, genograms, theoretical orientation, cultural competency, and ethical practices.

AT567/670/667: Group Supervision: Child Internship (1.5)
AT569/672/669: Group Supervision: Adolescent Internship (1.5)
AT571/674/673: Group Supervision: Adult Internship (1.5)
Students meet in a supervision group (no more than 1:8 for 1.5 hours), with a registered art therapist, to discuss clinical topics related to the treatment of children/adolescents/adults and couples and their families in various settings. Students use case examples from their internship sites to explore art expression, assessments, treatment planning, treatment approaches, relationship dynamics, and treatment team interactions.

AT 547: Individual Supervision I (1)
AT 646: Individual Supervision II (1)
AT 647: Individual Supervision III (1)
The student receives one hour of individual supervision per week from a registered art therapist. Supervision provides opportunities for integration of didactic information with clinical experience. Through supervision, students explore verbal, behavioral, and artistic communication along with assessment and treatment dynamics.

AT 548: Assessment (3)
Students explore the fundamentals of psychological testing and art therapy assessment and become familiar with a variety of specific instruments and procedures used in appraisal and evaluation. Students learn to administer and document Art Therapy-Projective Imagery Assessments and to formulate treatment goals and objectives based upon assessment findings.

AT 529: Case Presentation Skills (1)
Students develop presentation skills and learn to effectively communicate clinical case material. This course is designed to prepare the student for the case conference course in the second year.

AT 549: Processes & Materials of Art Psychotherapy II (4)
This course is a continuation of 524 Processes and Materials of Art Psychotherapy I.

AT 551: Practicum I (.5)
AT 650: Practicum II (.5)
AT 651: Practicum III (.5)
Three days per week (16 hours) are spent at the site for two weeks to enable the student to prepare for the internship through observation and practice.

AT 555: Internship I (2.5)
AT 656: Internship II (2.5)
AT 657: Internship III (2.5)
Three days per week (18 hours) are spent at the site, for 13 weeks. Students provide Art Therapy-Projective Imagery Assessments, individual, group and/or family art therapy for 9 hours per week. The other hours on site are for students to attend team meetings, in-service conferences, and all related milieu activities, and to complete documentation. Students rotate through one site per semester in order to obtain experience with children, adolescents, and adults. A minimum of one placement in a mental health facility is required. Students within the specialty tracks of art therapy in the schools, medical art therapy, or family art therapy are afforded that placement focus.

AT 607: Capstone Project (1-2) (repeated for 2 semesters or until completion)
In this course the student develops the Capstone proposal. The student finalizes and implements the Capstone proposal. The student completes, defends, and submits the Capstone Project.

AT 615: Family Counseling & Psychotherapy (3)
In this elective course, students develop a thorough understanding of current family systems theory, the family life cycle, evaluation, and practice. Students improve their objectivity as family psychotherapists as they develop insights about their own families of origin. This course prepares the students to administer verbal and projective imagery family evaluations and to conceptualize family dynamics from various theoretical perspectives. Permission of program director is required.

AT 616: Clinical Case Conference II (1)
Students demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate clinical material and integrate theory and practice through structured case presentations.

AT 617: Ethics & Professionalism (3)
This course addresses professional identity, professional ethics, and the ethical practice of art psychotherapy. Students prepare to enter the job market and review the requirements for professional credentialing.

AT 649: Creativity, Symbolism & Metaphor (3)
This course reviews various theories regarding the types, formation and roles of symbolism and its relation to psychopathology and mental health. Students explore the function and interpretation of symbols in dreams and artwork and examine the role of symbolism in assessment and art therapy. Students develop a deeper understanding of symbolic language in order to enhance their understanding of inner experiences. Students develop an understanding of the nature of creativity, creativity research, and the impact of mental illness upon the creative process.

AT 632: Additions (3)
This three-credit elective course provides an overview of the field of Addiction Studies. Topics that will be covered include drugs and society, substance and process addictions, evidence-based best practices for the substance abuse counselor, assessment, the recovery process, addiction and the family, and prevention strategies. This course covers diagnosis and treatment of addictive disorders and includes an overview of the philosophies and evidenced-based best practices, policies, and outcomes of the most generally accepted models of treatment, recovery, relapse prevention, and continuing care for addictions and other substance abuse related problems. Students also gain awareness of the impact of drug abuse on society and an appreciation of the cultural context within which addiction and recovery occurs.

AT 634: Career Counseling (3)
This elective course includes the study of theory and process of career counseling. Students will acquire skills to incorporate career development theory into the practice of counseling. Students will be introduced to career assessment tools and occupational methods.

AT 636: Cultural Competency (3)
This course addresses the competencies essential for a culturally responsive therapist. Through self-assessment and exploration of culture, students will gain the awareness, skill, and respect necessary to think critically, to establish rapport, and to work effectively with diverse individuals and groups.

AT 652: Medical Art Therapy (1)
This elective course provides an introduction to the use of art therapy in a medical setting. Topics explored include developmental perceptions of illness, death and dying, hospitalization, and body image throughout the life span as well as research supporting art therapy as a treatment modality for persons with medical illnesses. Permission of program director is required.

AT 655: Trauma Informed Art Therapy (1)
This elective course will review and engage students in the current literature of Trauma Informed Art Therapy Practices and additional materials. The objective is for the student to build skills an understanding how to treat survivors of trauma, understand the etiology of behaviors, emotions, and functioning related to trauma, and develop age-appropriate treatment plans based in best art therapy practice. Permission of program director is required.

AT 533/633: Clinical Specialties (varied)
Clinical Specialties are clinical and professional development topics that you attend outside of your regularly scheduled coursework. Clinical Specialties are credits earned for attending additional education offerings, clinical case presentations, psychiatry department grand rounds, educational seminars, workshops, symposiums, trainings, and other educational experiences offered by the GATCP, EVMS, professional trainings, seminars, or other professionally documented trainings. The course is designed to encourage participation in ongoing education beyond the required curriculum of the GATCP. The clinical specialties course intends to offer and award credit for student initiative in expanding his/her knowledge to become a well-rounded art therapist.

AT 701: Applied Cultural Sensitivity in Art Psychotherapy & Counseling (4)
This elective course will engage students in cultural immersion to learn about cultural similarities and differences in art, the arts, and art psychotherapy, and varied aspects of the impacts of trauma (war trauma, trauma experiences of families, combat trauma, survivors of sex trafficking, and historical trauma). Students will engage in content and experientials that explore art expression, role of art, artists, therapists, and art therapists in society, art/crafts processes, preferences or prohibitions to various art processes or media, and conventional/cultural symbolism; cultural appropriation in art therapy; and cultural sensitivity to the use of art processes and materials in art therapy for trauma informed approaches integrated into art psychotherapy and counseling in various community settings.