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.  We offer both a full-time and part-time options for our curriculum.  We also offer three stand-alone Graduate Certificates.

Full-Time Course Sequence

First Year

Semester 1 - Fall

ATC 521 - Individual Counseling & Psychotherapy (3)
ATC 524 - Processes & Materials of Art Psychotherapy I (3)
ATC 528 - Theories of Human Psychological Development (3)
ATC 530 - Psychopathology (3)
ATC 534 - Introduction of the History & Theory of Art Therapy (1)
ATC 659 - Cultural Humility (3)

Semester 2 - Spring

ATC 502 - Basic Counseling & Art Psychotherapy Skills (3)
ATC 513-3-Research Methods & Program Evaluation (3)
ATC 520 - Group Counseling & Psychotherapy (3)
ATC 548 - Assessment (3)
ATC 549 - Processes & Materials of Art Psychotherapy II (3)

Semester 3 - Summer 

ATC 576 - Practicum & Internship I (3)

Second Year

Semester 4 - Fall

ATC 529 - Case Presentation Skills (1)
ATC 607 - Capstone (1)***
ATC 617 - Ethics & Professionalism (3)
ATC 632 - Addictions (3)
ATC 677 - Practicum & Internship II (3)
ATC 687 - Trauma & Neuroscience Informed Art Therapy & Counseling (3)
Semester 5 - Spring
ATC 607 - Capstone (1)**
ATC 615 - Family Counseling & Psychotherapy (3)
ATC 616 - Clinical Case Conference II (1)
ATC 634 - Career Counseling (3)
ATC 649 - Creativity, Symbolism & Metaphor (3)
ATC 678 - Practicum & Internship III (3)

Total Curriculum:  61 credit hours



Electives (Courses for Specializations):

ATC 535/635 - Art Therapy in the Schools (1)
ATC 533/633 - Clinical Specialties (varies)
ATC 562/652 - Medical Art Therapy (1)
ATC 638 - Countertransference/Jung (1)
ATC 639 - Exploration of the Psyche (1)
ATC 658 - Research Methods (1)
ATC 701/702 - Applied Cultural Sensitivity in Art Psychotherapy & Counseling (4)  

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






Course Descriptions

ATC 502: Basic Counseling & Art Psychotherapy Skills (3)
Students will learn and develop basic counseling and art psychotherapy skills through didactic lectures, readings, in class role plays, and practica fieldwork to experience therapeutic and client relationships. Students will facilitate intake, risk assessment, art therapy assessment, and basic counseling and art psychotherapy skills with Standardized Patients. Students will experience the client role through process groups. Students will attend clinical case presentations and additional preparatory trainings.
ATC 513-3: 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.
ATC 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.
ATC 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.
ATC 524: Processes & Materials of Art Psychotherapy I (3)
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).
ATC 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.
ATC 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.
ATC 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.
ATC 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.
ATC 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.
ATC 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.
ATC 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.
ATC 549: Processes & Materials of Art Psychotherapy II (3)
This course is a continuation of 524 Processes and Materials of Art Psychotherapy I.  
ATC 576: Practicum & Internship II (3) 
ATC 677: Practicum & Internship III (3) 
ATC 678: Practicum & Internship III (3)
Students attend practicum experience 32 hours per semester to engage and learn about different treatment settings. Students rotate through one site per semester in order to obtain experience with children, adolescents, and adults for the first 2 weeks of each clinical semester. Students attend internship 18 hours per week for 14 weeks. Students provide Art Therapy Projective Imagery Assessments, individual, group and/or family art therapy for an average minimum of 9 hours per week. The other hours on site are for students to attend team meetings, inservice 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 (psychiatric) facility is required.
ATC 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.
ATC 615: Family Counseling & Psychotherapy (3)
In this 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.
ATC 616: Clinical Case Conference II (1)
Students demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate clinical material and integrate theory and practice through structured case presentations.
ATC 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.
ATC 632: Addictions (3)
This three-credit 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.
ATC 634: Career Counseling (3)
This 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.
ATC 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.
ATC 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. 
ATC 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.
ATC 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.
ATC 659: Cultural Humility (3)
This course supports the development of culturally humble art therapists and counselors through multicultural orientation with regard to intersecting identities including age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, socio-economic status, developmental ability, physical ability, education, family values, and religious and spiritual values. Through review of the current literature, application to clinical practice, and self-assessment, students will explore culture and their own unintentional biases, develop strategies for working with diverse individuals, groups, and communities, foster critical thinking skills, and explore the role of the art therapist in culturally alert and responsive practices for art therapy, social justice, and advocacy. 
ATC 687: Trauma & Neuroscience Informed Art Therapy & Counseling (3)
This course will review and engage students in the current literature of Trauma and Neuroscience Informed Counseling & Art Psychotherapy Practices and additional materials. The objective is for the student to build skills and 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. In addition, students will develop an understanding of brain based science and neuro informed practices in counseling and art psychotherapy. 
ATC 701/702: 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.