M.A. in Art Therapy/Counseling
Art Therapy at Southwestern College is a vibrant exploration of the art-filled therapeutic process. With intention, we offer an integrative approach that honors the spiritual connection between soul and art, while holding the importance of a solid clinical education. The honesty of the art and the healing process of making art is embraced here. While exploring the meanings of diagnosis, assessment and treatment, we strive to maintain a holistic consciousness that helps us see art therapy through the grace of a spiritual, life affirming lens.
The Master’s program in Art Therapy / Counseling burns brightly with passion for art making. Our students engage in self-reflective creativity throughout the entire program, and from this place of experiencing their own artistic processes, combined with solid clinical training, they are equipped to enthusiastically engage in therapeutic client work.
The Master’s program in Art Therapy / Counseling emphasizes the use of the visual arts as a therapeutic approach in clinical, educational, community and rehabilitation settings. While visual arts is the primary therapeutic modality, the creative process may be supported by classroom instruction and experiences in the use of drama, movement and music therapy. SWC also offers opportunities in Sandplay/Sandtray therapy.
- American Art Therapy Association Approved Program since 1998
- Curriculum and Degree prepares graduates for licensure as a Professional Art Therapist and as a Counselor
- 91 quarter units (equivalent to approx. 60 semester units)
- Practicum (your first client experience) happens within our own Southwestern Counseling Center with faculty guidance and supervision
- Internships can take place in any state
- Capstone Projects
- Transformational, experiential learning approach shared by faculty and students
- Full-time two year program: part-time program available
The clients who our students work with come from a wide variety of settings including the families who live in communities in northern New Mexico. Besides doing outpatient work with local children, adolescents and adults, our students may choose to work with clients from social service agencies, inpatient settings, schools, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, shelters, detention centers, open studios and outdoor/equine centers.
The possibilities for developing clinical and art-based skills are endless. Because of our students’ wide range of interests, we intentionally seek faculty with very diverse work experience and theoretical stances. We don’t teach “one way” of doing art therapy. We encourage you to learn and experience such richness and variety here that you BECOME an art therapist from the inside, out. There is a sense of genuine community within the school that is nourished by faculty, administration and students. You are invited and encouraged to come out to the art therapy studio where the sense of community is particularly strong as we informally make art, talk together and explore our creativity.
In addition to the successful completion of coursework, practicum hours and internship, students are required to demonstrate their knowledge and abilities at the end of both the first year of classes and at the end of the program through a written examination (there is also an option for a community service project).
Students also share a review of significant artwork that they created during the first year. This is an opportunity for students to informally share their experiences from first year, with art therapy faculty, through their own imagery.
I included an art project in my portfolio review that I had done in my Multiculturalism Class. It is called a Personal Geography. Choosing the shape of a home I wrapped the outside with maps of Santa Fe, NM, where I currently reside and on the inside five maps of places I had lived growing up and raising my own family. In Texas, I started with Houston, then San Antonio, Austin, Lubbock, and then Buda (a small city south of Austin). All of these places represented ‘home’ to me until the day I left Buda to come to Santa Fe to pursue my Master’s Degree. My sons told me, where ever I was, where ever I lived, would be ‘home’ to them, the parting was bitter-sweet and necessary. We all still live in different states but we feel at home when we are together. “Inside of you there is a place called home. It is not a house, nor is it anything like the home in which you grew up. The home inside of you is the place where God resides. It is a safe place. A place filled with love. In this home there is everything you could ever need or want. There is support, comfort, peace, and unconditional acceptance. In this home, your divine home, God is waiting to rock you to sleep. When you awake from the dreams and nightmares of the world, God will still be there, waiting for you.” – I. Vanzant
KaSandra R. Verett 2013
All Master’s degree students are required to fulfill a personal therapy requirement of 40 face-to-face hours with a mental health professional licensed in New Mexico. The personal therapy requirement provides both academic and personal growth. The experience of being a client teaches Art Therapy/Counseling students about the nature of the therapeutic relationship, including an appreciation of the emotional life of the client. The experience also provides an opportunity for personal growth that strengthens emotional balance and therapeutic skills.
It is an exciting time to join us and we encourage you to contact the Admissions Office to discuss in greater detail how you can launch your career in art therapy.
Deborah Schroder, M.S., ATR-BC, LPAT
Program Chair for Art Therapy/Counseling Program and Children’s Mental Health Certificate
For more Art Therapy photos and images on pinterest, click here: