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Chicago | Master of Arts

Master’s (M.A.) in Art Therapy

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Program Overview

Adler University’s Master of Arts (M.A.) in Counseling: Art Therapy program prepares socially responsible counselors to use the creative process to improve individuals’ physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of some of society’s most marginalized populations. Students gain the knowledge and skills to create real change in individuals’ lives through art.

Our innovative program is approved by the American Art Therapy Association (AATA), and graduates are eligible to apply for several licensures and credentials.

The M.A. in Counseling: Art Therapy is designed to prepare counselors and art therapists to serve diverse populations in a range of settings, from clinics and mental health centers, to correctional settings and private practice.

This program also allows students to add on a Certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling for an additional 12 credits of coursework.

Request Information

      You need a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution to enroll in Adler University programs.

      Okay

      Student Outcomes

      Our innovative program is AATA-approved, key for job placement and obtaining licensure. Our rigorous curriculum focuses on using counseling methodologies, art therapy, and art making to foster personal growth, gain deeper insight, and to apply clinical training in counseling and art therapy within the context of the Adlerian principles of social responsibility, service in the community, and cultural competence. Our dual-degree program prepares students to be both counselors and art therapists, through a clinical-based model, where students are supervised at their clinical sites by not only an art therapist, but also a licensed counselor, psychologist, social worker, or couple and family therapist. A third and fourth component of our degree is that we incorporate Adlerian Theory/Individual Psychology and Adlerian Art Therapy into the curriculum, giving our students additional techniques and healing modalities to apply in clinical practice.

      We offer an immersive learning experience across diverse areas of study, including courses in Neuroscience; Trauma, Loss, Grief, and Bereavement; Adlerian Psychology and Psychopathology; Special Populations and Adaptive Methods; Socio-Cultural and Multi-Cultural Approaches to Art Therapy, Counseling, and Psychotherapy, as well as studio coursework—all led by core faculty members and adjunct professors who are experts in the field. Adler University is a nationally recognized pioneer in graduate education, training professionals who are committed to a more just society.

      Careers

      Our groundbreaking program is designed to prepare counselors and art therapists to serve diverse populations in a range of settings, including:

      • Clinics
      • Mental health centers
      • Children’s agencies
      • Nursing homes
      • Schools
      • Hospitals
      • Correctional facilities
      • Violence shelters
      • Residential treatment centers
      • Private practice
      Professional Development & Training

      Gain the knowledge and skills to create real change in individuals’ lives through art. Our diverse faculty brings together rigorous classroom learning with individualized mentorship, artistic guidance, and hands-on professional experience.

      We offer extensive field training, including a 700-hour+ counseling and art therapy practicum focused on the clinical work and principles of art therapy in hundreds of settings such as schools, mental health centers, and community organizations.

      Graduate Spotlight

      Rachel Ackerman, M.A. ’17
      Master of Arts in Counseling: Art Therapy

      By the time I got to Adler University, I already knew I wanted to become an art therapist, combining two of my three passions. Adler stuck out to me because the counseling and art therapy program focused more heavily on clinical mental health and psychology as fundamental building than other schools. However, I still yearned to somehow incorporate infant interaction.

      Read Rachel’s Story

      Licensure

      Graduates of the program are eligible to apply for the following licensures:

      • The credential of Registered Art Therapist (ATR) through the Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB), may be attained upon completing all necessary post-graduate training.
      • Students are eligible to take the exam for the Licensed Professional Counselor exam (LPC) credential in the state of Illinois, and the National Counselor Examination (NCE) may be attained upon completion of the program.
      • The Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) credential in the state of Illinois may be attained upon completing all necessary post-graduate requirements. Students interested in applying for licensure elsewhere should work with their appropriate state licensing boards and faculty advisors to plan their curriculum accordingly.

      Curriculum

      The Master of Arts in Counseling: Art Therapy is a 64-credit hour program, and includes coursework and a training practicum from those listed below.

      Find course descriptions and more information in the Adler University Course Catalog here.

      Core Courses

      MAT 510 - Professional Development Seminar I (1 cr.)

      This one-hour, once-a-week seminar is required of all students in their first term. This course will provide students opportunities to meet in small groups with peers and one faculty member who will also serve as the students’ Faculty Advisor.

      MACAT 515 - Professional Development, Issues, and Ethics in Art Therapy, Counseling, and Psychopathology (3 cr.)

      This course is designed to provide students with a solid foundation for the ethical practice of art therapy and of counseling. Students will learn the codes of ethics of the American Art Therapy Association, the Art Therapy Credentials Board, and the American Counseling Association.

      MACAT 517 - Intersectionality and Community Psychology (3 cr.)

      Students learn theory and research on the role of community psychology in treating problems related to a range of pervasive social justice issues that impact the health of individuals and communities. Community Psychology takes an ecological approach to human functioning, locating health and dysfunction in the interaction between individuals and larger social systems.

      MACAT 518 - Advanced Counseling and Adlerian Psychology and Psychopathology (3 cr.)

      This course introduces and integrates advanced methods of historical and theoretical approaches to counseling along with the principles of Alfred Adler’s theory and philosophy of communities and human kind as a basis for understanding the development of an individual’s unique style of living or personality. These principles include the purposiveness of behavior, the indivisible self, goal-directed behavior, and the role of social interest in mental health and social progress.

      MACAT 519 - Adlerian Theories and Integrative Interventions for Families, Parents, and Teachers (2 cr.)

      This course provides an opportunity to develop family and child guidance, parenting knowledge and skills, as well as instruction and behavioral skills based on Adlerian principles to be used by teachers in the classroom. Through lecture, class discussion, observation, and participative demonstrations, students are taught how to facilitate a family or parenting group or teacher training group.

      MACAT 520 - Introduction to Addictive Disorders (3 cr.)

      This course provides an introduction to substance use and the treatment of addictive disorders. Assessment of substance use disorders and current treatment models for substance use, misuse, abuse, dependence, and concurrent disorders are discussed.

      MACAT 521 - Lifestyle and Career Development (3 cr.)

      Prerequisite: MACAT-523. This course examines a person’s career trajectory and dynamics within the context of the lifestyle, including Adlerian Theory and the use of the Adlerian Lifestyle Assessment. Students learn to assess career interests, aptitudes, and options.

      MACAT 522 - Biopsychosocial Bases of Health and Dysfunction for Counselors (3 cr.)

      This course provides an overview of the major disorders in the current edition of the DSM. A range of mental disorders, from adjustment disorders to serious psychopathologies, is discussed.

      MACAT 523 - Basic Skills for Psychotherapy and the Use of Art Therapy (3 cr.)

      This course teaches art therapy and counseling students basic and in-depth relationship micro- and macro-counseling and psychotherapy skills that use role-plays, artwork, art-making, art directives, and other experiential activities to demonstrate these concepts. The course covers counseling skills (e.g., attending, active listening, building rapport), intake interviewing, and self-reflection/self-assessment procedures and other experiential activities to prepare for clinical work on practicum.

      MACAT 524 - Research Methods in Art Therapy, Counseling, and Psychotherapy (3 cr.)

      This course is an introduction to approaches to research design, data collection methodology, and data analysis, with a focus on the field of art therapy. It emphasizes the importance of evidence-based research in advancing the field of art therapy and counseling.

      MACAT 525 - Historical and Theoretical Perspectives of Art Therapy, Counseling, and Psychotherapy (3 cr.)

      This course introduces the history, philosophy, theory, and practice of art therapy, counseling, and psychotherapy within the fields of counseling, mental health, and psychology. The fundamental elements of the history and theories of art therapy, counseling, and psychotherapy are addressed with attention to the theoretical foundations of each field of study.

      MACAT 526 - Assessment and Appraisal in Art Therapy, Counseling, and Psychotherapy (3 cr.)

      This course introduces and assists students in expanding their counseling knowledge and skills, as well as their art therapy knowledge and skills. Students will learn to formulate treatment goals and intervention strategies integrating theory, assessment, and diagnostic information for a variety of client problems, including assessing and managing suicidal risk and crisis intervention.

      MACAT 527 - Use of Art Therapy in Group Psychotherapy and Psychopathology (3 cr.)

      This course introduces students to the history, theory, methods, principles, and applications of group dynamics, as well as the developmental stages of groups. In addition, group members’ roles and behaviors and the therapeutic factors of group work are discussed.

      MACAT 650 - Life Span Development in Art Therapy, Counseling, and Psychotherapy (3 cr.)

      This course presents an overview of various art therapy and counseling models and theories in the discussion of the characteristics, developmental needs, and tasks at different stages of a person’s life cycle. The impact of social, cultural, biological, and psychological factors on prenatal life, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and aging is discussed.

      MACAT 651 - Sociocultural and Trans Multicultural Approaches in Art Therapy, Counseling, and Psychotherapy (3 cr.)

      This course provides a basic foundation of knowledge, awareness, and skills needed for providing more effective counseling services in a trans-multicultural society. The course covers theories, research, and practices associated with trans-multicultural competence with emphases on both between-group and within-group differences and the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, country of origin, disability, and socioeconomic status.

      MACAT 652 - Theories and Methods of Intervention in Art Therapy, Counseling, and Psychotherapy I: Couples, Families, and Older Adults (3 cr.)

      This course covers crisis intervention models, including an Adlerian approach, and associated responses to clients’ mental health needs during crises, disasters, and other trauma-causing events. Strategies and procedures for assessing risk, including suicide, aggression, and self-harm are discussed and demonstrated through counseling assessments and interventions in addition to art therapy assessments and interventions.

      MACAT 654 - Neuroscience in Art Therapy, Counseling, and Psychotherapy: Special Populations (3 cr.)

      This course addresses the relationships among counseling, neuroscience, biology, art, creativity, perception, and memory as they relate to the application and practice of counseling, psychotherapy, and art therapy, including Adlerian Theory.

      MACAT 655 - Studio Art in Art Therapy, Counseling, and Psychotherapy (3 cr.)

      This course provides studio time to gain skills, develop visual art techniques, explore artistic creativity via materials and media in art therapy through visio-spatial and perception skills as they relate to counseling and psychotherapeutic health and wellness goal setting for clients. Students explore personal creativity in relation to the art therapy and counseling profession.

      MACAT 656 - Special Populations: Adaptive Methods in Art Therapy, Counseling, and Psychotherapy (2 cr.)

      This course develops student competencies by utilizing conceptual frameworks and best practices for the appropriate selection and use of a wide range of art media, including processes and adaptive measures that incorporate medical art therapy and technology within special populations.

      Field Training

      SJP 513 - Social Justice Practicum I (1 cr.)

      The Social Justice Practicum (SJP) is a first-year, nonclinical and non-discipline-specific experiential practicum that begins in the fall term. Students gain the knowledge, skills, and perspectives to utilize collective power and social justice strategies to build a more equitable society. The SJP is designed to help students learn how to work alongside different communities as agents of social change and serves as the catalyst for students to realize and understand their own strengths and responsibility to contribute to social equity.

      SJP 514 - Social Justice Practicum II (1 cr.)

      The Social Justice Practicum (SJP) is a first-year, nonclinical and non-discipline-specific experiential practicum that continues through the spring term. Students gain the knowledge, skills, and perspectives to utilize collective power and social justice strategies to build a more equitable society. The SJP is designed to help students learn how to work alongside different communities as agents of social change and serves as the catalyst for students to realize and understand their own strengths and responsibility to contribute to social equity.

      MACAT 667 - Practicum Seminar in Art Therapy, Counseling, and Psychotherapy: Consultation and Supervision I (2 cr.)

      Prerequisites: Completion of a minimum of 27 credit hours of coursework, including SJP 513, SJP 514, MACAT-510 MACAT-523 or MACAT-525 or; MACAT526 MACAT-527 MACAT-518 MACAT-650 MACAT-653 or concurrent with MACAT-677; and consent of Chair and Director of Training required. This clinical
      practicum in an approved agency or institution requires 700 hours onsite with at least 350 hours in direct client contact.

      MACAT 668 - Internship Seminar in Art Therapy, Counseling, and Psychotherapy: Consultation and Supervision II (2 cr.)

      Prerequisites: MACAT-667; concurrent with MACAT-678. Along with the field experience, students receive individual supervision by faculty and attend group supervision in seminar. The seminar is designed to be responsive to students’ practicum experiences and concerns for their clients and sites.

      MACAT 669 - Internship Seminar in Art Therapy, Counseling, and Psychotherapy: Consultation and Supervision III (1 cr.)

      Prerequisites: MACAT-668; concurrent with MACAT-679. Along with the field experience, students receive supervision by faculty and attend group supervision in seminar. The seminar is designed to be responsive to students’ practicum experiences and concerns for their clients and sites.

      MACAT 677 - Practicum in Art Therapy, Counseling, and Psychotherapy: Consultation and Supervision I (1 cr.)

      Prerequisites: Completion of a minimum of 27 credit hours of coursework, including MACAT-510, MACAT-523, MACAT-525, MACAT-526, MACAT-527, MACAT-518 or MACAT-650, MACAT-653. This clinical practicum in an approved agency or institution requires a minimum of 700 hours onsite, with at least 350 hours in direct client contact.

      MACAT 678 - Internship in Art Therapy, Counseling, and Psychotherapy: Consultation and Supervision II (1 cr.)

      Prerequisites: Completion of a minimum of 27 credit hours of coursework, including MACAT-510, MACAT-523, MACAT-525, MACAT-526, MACAT-527, MACAT-518 or MACAT-650, MACAT-653; concurrent with MACAT-667/ MACAT-668. This clinical practicum in an approved agency or institution requires a minimum of 700 hours onsite, with at least 350 hours in direct client contact.

      MACAT 679 - Internship in Art Therapy, Counseling, and Psychotherapy: Consultation and Supervision III (1 cr.)

      This clinical practicum in an approved agency or institution requires a minimum of 700 hours onsite, with at least 350 hours in direct client contact. Practicum also provides supervision, peer support, and consultation that instills an understanding of the process of psychoeducational consultation with emphasis on theories and strategies that are used to provide services to individuals, groups, and organizations.

      MACAT 610 - Internship Continued in Art Therapy, Counseling, and Psychotherapy: Consultation and Supervision (0 cr.)

      This extended practicum course is offered in Summer II and is for students in need of additional practicum hours. This clinical practicum in an approved agency or institution requires a minimum of 700 hours onsite, with at least 350 hours in direct client contact.

      Social Justice Practicum

      200-hour internship to give students real world experience

      A unique and proven program designed to give students real world experience throughout their time at Adler University, the Social Justice Practicum is a required 200-hour internship that spans four courses (or terms for online programs). Every student is given a number of civic-minded categories to choose from. They submit their desired areas of interest. After which, they are assigned a specific and aligned community outreach site where they will work 8 to 10 hours per week.

      Learn about Adler’s Social Justice Practicum

      Faculty Spotlight

      Jennifer LaCivita, Psy.D.
      Department Chair, M.A. in Counseling: Art Therapy

      As an Adler graduate, advocate of the arts in the community, and a witness to urban revitalization through the arts, I value self-expression, self-reflection, critical thinking, and arts advocacy. As a fourth generation Chicagoan, my roots in neighborhood support, social responsibility, unity in diversity, and activism run deep.

      Learn More

      Admissions Requirements

      Admissions requirements:

      • An undergraduate/baccalaureate degree or the equivalent from an accredited institution.
      • A grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale for all undergraduate and graduate coursework. Exceptions may be made for applicants who demonstrate improved academic performance or academic ability in other ways.
      • The equivalent of 12 semester credit hours in psychology with grades of C or better. These courses need to include general or introductory psychology, abnormal psychology, and life span development. All prerequisites should be completed by the end of a student’s first semester at Adler University.
      • Eighteen semester credit hours or 27 quarter credit hours in studio art that demonstrate proficiency and disciplined commitment to visual art in three or more visual art media.
      • A portfolio of original artwork (15 examples in three or more different media) demonstrating competence with art materials is required to be presented at the admission interview.
      • Approved applicants will be invited for a personal interview as the final step in the application process.

      Applicants are required to submit the following items to be considered for admission:

      • Application and application fee
      • Statement of Intent (2-3 pages, double-spaced) answering the following questions:
        • Why are you interested in your chosen field and program?
        • Why is Adler University’s program a good fit for you?
        • What are your career goals and interests?
      • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
      • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools attended (U.S and Canada)
        • Please have official transcripts sent directly to the Office of Admissions
        • Unofficial transcripts may be accepted for any schools in which a degree was not
          received
        • International transcripts must be evaluated by a transcript evaluation service
      • Two letters of recommendation
        • These should be from someone who can specifically speak to your academic and professional abilities

      Approved applicants will be invited to complete an interview with faculty.


      Please submit all application materials including official transcripts to the Office of Admissions prior to the application deadline.

      Adler University – Office of Admissions
      17 N. Dearborn Street
      Chicago, IL 60602

      Official electronic transcripts should be sent to [email protected].

      Information for International Applicants

      Tuition & Fees

      Tuition for Adler University’s programs is charged each term according to the number of registered academic credits. The number of credits a student will register for varies by academic program and by term. To estimate the amount of tuition and fees that would be charged in a given term, please use our Tuition Estimator tool below, or read about tuition and fees for all Chicago programs.

      Tuition Estimator

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