Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, Concentration in Expressive Arts Therapy
The Expressive Arts Therapy Program is still accepting applications for Fall, 2015!
What is Expressive Arts Therapy?
At CIIS, expressive arts therapy refers to a therapeutic approach with individuals, couples, families, groups, and community-based programs that integrates a wide range of arts modalities in the service of human growth, development and healing. It takes a multi-arts or multimodal approach, integrating painting, drawing, sculpture, dance/movement, music, drama, ritual, poetry, and prose within therapeutic encounters.
Expressive arts therapists seek to build a compassionate, supportive, and culturally-sensitive relationship with clients. The expressive arts become the medium through which clients can explore and potentially transform emotional, social, spiritual, and relational issues; identify strengths; and experience new creative insights.
Expressive arts therapy processes are used successfully in almost all psychotherapeutic contexts, ranging from work with people faced with chronic and persistent mental health challenges, to the facilitation of human growth and potential.
The EXA@CIIS program educates and trains the future leaders of the Expressive Arts therapy field. We use the power of the arts as tools for human development & healing, psycho-spiritual growth, social change, and empowered self-agency. This This is accomplished through an innovative Scholar-Artist-Practitioner model bridging gaps between academic knowledge, clinical practice and community engagement with the arts at the center. Our faculty considers each student to be a unique contributor to the learning community due to their diverse backgrounds, experience and interests.
A Comprehensive Training in Counseling and Psychotherapy
The Expressive Arts Therapy program integrates a thorough education in theories and methods of psychotherapy with intensive training in expressive arts therapy. This three-year full-time program covers individual, group, couples, and family therapy, and includes a year-long practicum under the supervision of licensed mental health professionals who are also expressive arts therapists. The training meets the educational requirements for California's Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) license and is also designed to meet the educational requirements to become a Registered Expressive Arts Therapist (REAT) with the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA).
A Range of Theoretical Frameworks
The principles of liberation psychology and relational-cultural theory (RCT) provide overarching theoretical frameworks for the curriculum. The EXA program also provides students with foundational knowledge and skills of the major schools of psychotherapy through multicultural and feminist lenses. These include contemporary psychoanalytic and psychodynamic approaches; Jungian; existential-humanist; cognitive-behavioral; mindfulness-based; narrative and constructivist; as well as a range of family systems approaches.
The program places a high premium on sensitivity and responsiveness to the needs of the very diverse communities of the Bay Area in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual preference, differing abilities, and socioeconomic status. This is reflected in all aspects of the formal curriculum as well as in our approach to pedagogy in the classroom.
Multiple Expressive Arts Approaches
There are multiple theoretical foundations for an expressive arts practice. At CIIS, students have an opportunity to receive foundational training in a wide range of expressive arts approaches. The most established approaches include person-centered, movement-centered, intermodal, and narrative and collaborative expressive arts therapies.
Hands on Learning
CIIS EXA students typically complete their clinical fieldwork in the third year, beginning in the fall semester and ending the following summer. In the first year, students begin receiving hands-on training in-class as well as visiting and interviewing practitioners in the community. The program also maintains partnerships with community organizations, including GLIDE's Family Youth & Child Center and Contra Costa Health Services, to offer students additional opportunities to practice prior to their third year clinical fieldwork.
EXA is a dynamic program weaving the arts across the curriculum, enabling students to:
Demonstrate capacity to integrate a range of expressive arts practices into psychotherapy with individuals, couples, families, and groups; with sensitivity to differences including gender identification, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, differing abilities, socioeconomic status, and spiritual and religious practices
Translate expressive arts interventions and processes into standard psychological language, and vice versa
Articulate when expressive arts approaches are appropriate and when they may be contraindicated within particular clinical situations
Demonstrate capacity to weave together expressive arts and recovery-oriented principles and practices into treatment
Demonstrate personal growth and development through the use of expressive arts practices
Demonstrate ability to conceptualize and intervene holistically (addresses body, mind, and spirit)
Admission to the Program
Because we believe that individuals can tap into an innate healing power, our curriculum explores interconnections between spirituality and creativity. One of four programs in the world that concentrate in this specialty, ours brings together the therapeutic arts-visual, musical, dramatic.
CIIS' intensive training combines coursework with individual and group expressive arts psychotherapy, plus a yearlong clinical practicum. Students come from all over the world to enroll in our three-year program. They work in a variety of psychotherapeutic contexts, and in a wide range of business and professional settings.
Our coursework meets the academic requirements for California's Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) license and is designed to meet the educational requirements to become a Registered Expressive Arts Therapist (REAT) with the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA).
This school offers programs in: