Our faculty members are talented educators and dedicated scholars, who strong counselor identities who are members of the American Counseling Association 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 counseling and 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.  During your studies in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling tracks, you may also explore Sub-Specializations.  We offer both a full-time and part-time options for our curriculum.  We also offer a Post Master in Art Therapy, and three stand-alone Graduate Certificates.

Jaslyn Giles, Art Therapy and Counseling MS Class of 2019, describes what it's like to work with standardized patients.

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 Sub-Specializations):

ATC 535/635 - Art Therapy in the Schools (1)
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 685 - Community Art (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 provides students with the opportunity to understand the purposes, methods, and the ethical, legal, and cultural considerations of research. Students will demonstrate the necessary skills to design and prepare to conduct a research study and/or program evaluation. Students will learn how to use research, research skills, and findings to assess effectiveness of mental health, art therapy, and counseling services by becoming an informed consumer of mental health, counseling, and art therapy research.
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 provides students with the opportunity to integrate various theoretical approaches to individual counseling and psychotherapy and their relation to art psychotherapy approaches. The therapist's values and ethics are addressed. Principles of dynamics, therapeutic factors, therapist and client roles and behaviors, leadership styles and approaches, selection criteria, art-based communication, and short- and long-term individual art therapy and counseling will be reviewed. The goal of the course is to provide the student with an opportunity to continue the development of an approach to individual counseling, psychotherapy, and art therapy.
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. 
ATC 530: Psychopathology (3)
Students learn descriptive criteria for psychiatric diagnoses, the use of the DSM V-TR, 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 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.
ATC 548: Assessment (3)
Students explore the fundamentals of psychological testing and art-based assessment of mental and emotional functioning, and become familiar with a variety of specific instruments and procedures used in appraisal and evaluation in psychotherapy, counseling, and art therapy.  Students are introduced to principles of case formulation for developing treatment plans from assessment results.  In addition, students learn to administer and document the Art Therapy Projective Imagery Assessment.
ATC 549: Processes & Materials of Art Psychotherapy II (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 apply advanced understanding of the language of art and the range of possible therapeutic responses. Students learn the theory and application of the Expressive Therapies Continuum (ETC).
ATC 562/652: Medical Art Therapy (1)
This course reviews the clinical implications for art therapy in medical settings to include diagnoses, management and treatment of various medical disorders, overviews of practice settings, and psychological impacts of medical illness. This course provides foundational concepts and experiences related to ethical practice of art therapy in medical settings.
ATC 576: Practicum & Internship I (3) 
ATC 677: Practicum & Internship II (3) 
ATC 678: Practicum & Internship III (3)
Students attend practicum experience for 100 hours over 10 weeks during their first practicum & internship semester to engage and learn about the treatment setting. Students work with clients for 40 hours of direct contact over the 100 hours and 10 weeks. Students then continue at the setting for internship. And/or - Students attend internship 18 hours per week up to 16 weeks.  Students earn 120 direct client contact hours each semester in art therapy and 240 direct client contact hours for counseling over 3 internship semesters. Students provide counseling, counseling interventions, Art Therapy Projective Imagery Assessments, individual, group and/or family art therapy and counseling 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 to obtain experience with children, adolescents, and adults. A minimum of one placement in a mental health (psychiatric) setting is required.
ATC 607: Capstone Project (1-3) 
The student develops and executes a project of excellence based on the literature in art therapy and counseling. The student completes, defends, and submits the Capstone Project.
ATC 615: Family Counseling & Psychotherapy (3)
This course provides students with a foundation in the basic concepts of family therapy and family art therapy. Students learn about family theories, techniques, genograms, family assessments, and documentation.
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 practices of art therapy and counseling.  Students prepare to enter the job market and review the requirements for professional credentialing and licensure.
ATC 632: Addictions (3)
This 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.
ATC 639: Exploration of the Psyche (1)
This 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.
ATC 649: Creativity, Symbolism & Metaphor (3)
This course reviews various theories and models of creativity, symbolism, metaphor, and artistic language. The types, formation, and roles of symbolism and its relation to psychopathology and mental health, and the role of metaphor in therapy are explored. Students explore the function and interpretation of symbols in dreams, artwork, world religions, myths and fairy tales, and daily life and examine the role of symbolism in assessment and therapy. Students develop a deeper understanding of symbolic language to enhance their understanding of their own inner experiences and those of their clients.
ATC 658: Independent Study: Research Methods (1)
This elective course provides the opportunity for students to engage in advanced research and program evaluation techniques on special projects and faculty projects.
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 675: Internship (1)
Students attend internship at least 5 hours per week for 14 weeks. Students provide
Art Therapy Projective Imagery Assessments, individual, group and/or family
counseling and art therapy for 3-4 hours per week for 50 direct client contact hours.
The other hours on site are for students to attend team meetings, inservice
conferences, and all related milieu activities, and to complete documentation.
Students may enroll in Internship (1) credit with the approval of the Program Director
for either internship extensions or to earn hours towards a specialty. Specialty
coursework must be taken before engaging in the Internship (1) credit.
ATC 685: Community Art (1)
This course introduces students to philosophies, theories, and practices of community art and socially engaged art in various community settings and projects.
ATC 687: Trauma & Neuroscience Informed Art Therapy & Counseling (3)
The course will review and engage students in the current literature of neuroscience as it applies to trauma work in art psychotherapy and counseling. The objective is for the student to build advanced skills in understanding of neuroscience concepts applied to the treat survivors of trauma, understand the etiology of behaviors, emotions, and functioning related to trauma, and develop treatment plans based in practice.
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.
**Note: Course syllabi are available upon request