The bachelor's degree in Art Therapy at NDMU provides the foundation to pursue a rewarding career in one of the newest specializations within the helping professions. Core classes in art and psychology introduce concepts in human development and psychological theories, as well as techniques for counseling and creating art. Through hands-on learning which includes a final practicum, successful graduates are prepared to pursue graduate school, a requirement for becoming a professional art therapist.
Those that qualify may also pursue an accelerated pathway to earn both the BA and MA in Art Therapy at NDMU in just five years.
Notre Dame's MA in Art Therapy is the only master's art therapy program in Maryland that prepares graduates to become professional art therapists.
Art Therapy training at NDMU includes regular, course-integrated art making; visual, written, and verbal self-reflection; immediate and sustained practical application of course material and theory; research; and two full academic years of field based instruction and experience.
Founded in 2018, the Master of Arts in Art Therapy Program provides classroom and field-based instruction and training in clinical art therapy. At Notre Dame of Maryland University, building on its tradition to educate students who transform their communities and work toward a culture of inclusivity and social responsibility, the mission of the Art Therapy Program is to prepare clinicians who will give back to and meaningfully serve their communities through delivery of culturally attuned, social justice forward, inclusive art therapy practices. The NDMU Art Therapy Program goal is to prepare competent, entry-level art therapists in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills) and affective (behavior) learning domains as per ACATE Educational Standards. Students therefore learn to support client well-being and exploration of problems through clinically informed creative, art-based expression. Students also learn the skills involved in safely managing the responses evoked by the creative process in therapy with individuals at all stages of life.
The Master of Arts in Art Therapy Program goals and supporting learning domains articulated below weave the importance of informed, socially responsive practice in alignment with local community and regional employment needs throughout the curriculum and serve to make practical application of Notre Dame’s mission through training that emphasizes self-reflexivity, social responsibility, inclusivity, and service within and for community. The goals and learning domains provide a structure that, while grounded in history and theory, challenge students during training to practically engage with, to critique, and to further research practice orientations that hold art-relational, culturally attuned work central and align with their personal and professional values and aptitudes.
Development of a strong knowledge base is grounded in the attainment of broad foundational art therapy knowledge, skills, and values rooted in culturally and developmentally appropriate psychotherapy, art processes, and understanding of creativity and metaphor, psychopathology, assessment, trauma, and socially responsive practice. Students competently relate art therapy’s historical development to contemporary practice and trends through a lens of tradition and values. Students formulate and value informed, relationship-based art therapy practices and interventions.
Development of discipline specific professional skills includes: the capacity to examine and integrate scholarly literature, as well as knowledge of human and creative development across the lifespan, into contemporary best practices for assessment and treatment; demonstration of clinical competencies in alignment with national standards and those for licensure consideration; demonstration of basic art therapy research skills; and demonstration of sociocultural sensitivity in research, in practice, and in valuation or assessment of a client’s art process, metaphor, narrative, and symbols, helping to support all those one works with toward art-mediated growth and well-being.
Know and apply a professional ethics code mandates students to apply ethical standards in the evaluation and implementation of art therapy scholarship, research and practice. Working within a professional ethics code also mandates that the therapeutic relationship is built of working knowledge of laws and professional ethics governing art therapy and counseling. Further, efforts toward research and practice that create community and extend inclusivity on local, national, and global levels are embraced.
Preparation includes effective use of supervision for professional development and demonstration of effective written, art-mediated, and oral communication, defining professional role and integrating academic learning with clinical field experiences. Additionally, robust investigation is undertaken throughout the curriculum to distill personal and professional values and aptitudes toward discernment of preferred professional setting and/or population served. Interdisciplinary work and clinical collaboration are valued as beneficial to clients and as supporting the further advancement (education/advocacy) of the field nationally and at the local level.
Contributing to the well-being of self and others engages students in developing a personal philosophy of art making as a means to self-understanding, well-being, and professional development. It also mandates one to identify and implement art therapy services that honor individual and group differences, promoting healing and resilience. Art therapy is understood as a socially responsive therapeutic practice through which oppressive systems might be challenged, inclusive communities built, and empowerment realized.