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Art Therapy (LPC): Master of Science in Counseling Psychology

The Art Therapy concentration in the MS in Counseling Psychology program provides a basic foundation in counseling theory and skills with additional coursework in art therapy theory and practice. The program prepares graduates for success in a wide array of settings including, but not limited to, mental health, rehabilitation, medical and forensic institutions; community outreach programs; wellness centers; schools; nursing homes; corporate structures; open studios; and private practices. Students completing the Art Therapy concentration will, as a part of their degree program, complete all the educational requirements to apply for Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) as well as the educational requirements to apply for the credential of Registered Art Therapist (ATR).

Art therapists are professionals trained in both art and therapy. They are knowledgeable about human development, psychological theories; clinical practice; spiritual, multicultural, and artistic traditions; and the healing potential of art. They use art in treatment, assessment, and research and provide consultations to allied professionals. Art therapy is a mental health profession in which clients use art media, the creative process, and resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem. Art therapy is the therapeutic use of art making, within a professional relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma, or challenges in living, and by people who seek personal development. Through creating art and reflecting on the art products and processes, people can increase awareness of self and better cope with symptoms, stress and traumatic experiences; enhance cognitive abilities; and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making art.

The program of study requires a studio art requirement, core counseling courses and specialized art therapy courses taught by registered art therapists.

Post-Master's Opportunities

Our program also allows those professionals who have completed a Master's degree in Counseling or a related mental health profession and are interested in becoming a registered art therapist to complete as few as 24 credit hours and meet the educational requirements through a Post-Master's certification in Art Therapy.


  • Holy Family University's Counseling Psychology graduate employment rate in the field has averaged 91% over the past 4 years.
  • Holy Family University Counseling Psychology students have an 86% first time pass rate on the licensure exam (NCE) and a 98% first time pass rate on the school counselor exam (Praxis).

The job opportunities for a student with a graduate degree in Counseling with a concentration in Art Therapy include a variety of opportunities in settings such as hospitals, nursing care facilities, government jobs, residential care facilities, and ambulatory health care. According to the most recent Occupational Outlook Handbook (2010-2011 edition), employment of mental health counselors is projected to grow 29 percent from 2012 to 2022, and 13 percent for art therapists, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

Why Art Therapy at Holy Family University?

What makes Holy Family University's program the best career choice is the flexibility of the degree. Where some employers may be limited in their ability to hire a full-time art therapist due to funding limitations, this degree opens career opportunities for graduates to get hired as Licensed Professional Counselors with the added skills in art therapy, which is very attractive to potential employers who know the empirically supported value of incorporating art therapy into treatment. Graduates can experience the satisfaction of applying their passion for art therapy within the limitations of a frequently prescriptive mental health delivery system.

Studio Art Content Requirements (required for ATR certification):

  • Eighteen (18) semester credits (or 27 quarter credits) in studio based art courses.
  • Studio art coursework can be at the graduate or undergraduate level.
  • Students must have successfully completed coursework in a variety of two- and three-dimensional art media and processes.
  • At least 12 credit hours must be completed prior to beginning the art therapy coursework. The remaining six (6) may be completed after beginning the first art therapy course that will count toward this requirement, but must be completed within a year of beginning graduate coursework in art therapy.
  • Studio based courses taken within an art therapy program do not satisfy the prerequisite studio art courses.
  • In lieu of academic based studio coursework, the student can earn up to six (6) credits from a portfolio demonstrating competency, provided the applicant obtains a letter from a full-time or pro rata faculty member who has current ATR-BC or ATCS status and who teaches in a program that is within a regionally or nationally accredited institution of higher education, and who has reviewed the portfolio and is willing to attest that the student has demonstrated such competency. Applicants may also use non-credit art instruction.

In addition, students will meet all admission criteria established by the Graduate Counseling Psychology program, including undergraduate prerequisites in General Psychology, Statistics and Research Methods, some of which also may be taken through Holy Family University undergraduate course offerings.

The total degree hours required for this concentration is 60. This concentration requires a 600-hour internship, a 100-hour practicum, and mandatory faculty mentoring/advising meetings.

Core Course Requirements prior to Internship (25 credit hours)

  • Substance Abuse: An Introduction to Identification & Treatment (3cr.)
  • Career and Vocational Counseling (3cr.)
  • Introduction to Counseling & Guidance Theory (3cr.)
  • Introductory Counseling Skills: Laboratory Level I (3cr.)
  • Human Development: A Life Span Approach (3cr.)
  • Counseling Multicultural & Diverse Populations (3cr.)
  • Counseling Practicum (1cr.)
  • Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences (3cr.)
  • Assessment: Principles and Application in Counseling (3cr.)
  • Counseling Comprehensive Exam

Required Courses for Art Therapy Specialty Area (33 credit hours)

  • Group Counseling for Art Therapists (3cr.)
  • Psychopathology & Diagnosis Using the DSM (3cr.)
  • Art Therapy Theory & Practice (3cr.)
  • Professional Orientation and Ethics for Art Therapists (3cr.)
  • Art Therapy: Adult Assessment and Skills (3cr.)
  • Art Therapy: Child and Adolescent Skills (3cr.)
  • Metaphor, Materials and Art Therapy Techniques (3cr.)
  • Art Therapy for Multicultural & Diverse Populations (3cr.)
  • Internship in Counseling Psychology I – Art Therapy (3cr.)
  • Internship in Counseling Psychology II – Art Therapy (3cr.)
  • Culminating Experience in Art Therapy (3cr.)

Electives (2 credits)


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