The Master of Counselling Psychology: Art Therapy program at Adler University’s Vancouver Campus combines innovative, practical, verbal, and meta-verbal skill training with a leading-edge curriculum to educate socially responsible counsellors/art therapists. The program is an integrated degree in art therapy and counselling. The program prepares students to be both counselors and art therapists and leads to dual credentialing in art therapy and licensure in counselling. It provides education and clinical training within the context of the philosophy, theories, and principles of counseling and art therapy as well as Adlerian Psychology, Adlerian Art Therapy and the institutional mission and vision. The program fosters collaboration, compassion, leadership, service in the community, cultural competence, innovation, and the creative artistic process in order to promote peace and healing. The program focuses on mastering clinical counselling principles, skills, and techniques that include competency in documentation, treatment planning, and diagnostics in conjunction with the principles, skills, and techniques of art therapy. The combination of the curriculum and the applied practica experiences produce graduates who are not only strong counselors and art therapists, but also socially responsible practitioners who engage in their communities and promote social justice. As a form of the expressive therapies, art therapy draws on artistic media, imagination, and the creative process to promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The program offers a unique environment focused on working with aesthetics and the senses to invite experiences related to therapeutic goals. Further, the program is committed to the practice of radical hospitality as part of the therapeutic context and focuses on the intersections of counselling and art therapy alongside expressive therapy modalities. The program trains graduates as both counsellors and art therapists by creatively combining coursework with practical and innovative field experience, clinical supervision focusing on professional development, artistic practice, and encouragement for continual personal development.
Counselors and art therapists work in a wide variety of clinical, educational, and social service settings including medical and psychiatric hospitals, schools, wellness centers, drug and alcohol treatment programs, community mental health centers, private practice, correctional institutions, shelter programs and treatment centers for those who experience interpersonal violence, and community programs for indigenous populations, immigrants, and refugees.
This comprehensive program can be completed in two years of full-time study, including summer semesters. It incorporates a Social Justice Practicum and an extensive clinical practicum; training in the research and scholarship of the profession; and a culminating Master’s Clinical Arts Qualifying Examination to ensure students graduate with the requisite skills and knowledge for entry-level practice in professional counselling and art therapy.
The purpose of the Master of Counselling Psychology: Art Therapy program is to train graduates as both counsellors and art therapists by creatively combining coursework with practical and innovative field experience, clinical supervision focusing on professional development, artistic practice, and encouragement for continual personal development.
The program’s mission and purpose are both realized through the implementation of the six general program objectives (see below), which hold as their intention the training of professional counsellors and art therapists who are grounded in a strong theoretical framework based in the literature and research; who are also committed to life-long self-reflexivity and creativity; and are so strong in their perspective as socially responsible practitioners that they go into the world as inspired leaders promoting well-being in communities.
The six program objectives include:
1. Develop the attitudes, knowledge, and skills necessary to work professionally as counsellors and art therapists with diverse clients
2. Synthesize counselling and art therapy theories from diverse perspectives in order to build a personal framework for practice
3. Apply literature-based and research-based practices to enhance and expand the fields of counselling psychology and art therapy
4. Implement creative practices that foster self-reflexivity and self-awareness to engage life-long learning for personal and professional development and competence
5. Embrace socially responsible practice and identify goals and tasks that foster inclusive, healthy communities to enhance well-being
6. Develop leadership skills necessary to promote and educate communities regarding the value of integrating the arts and psychology for the purpose of human development
Additional Program Specific Objectives
Program Learning Objectives
1. To develop graduates who ethically assess, appraise, evaluate, and intervene with diverse populations, using multiple methods, including art therapy, counselling, and psychotherapy across many settings and in changing and evolving contexts.
Objectives for Goal 1:
1.1 Demonstrate knowledge of, and ability to, conduct comprehensive art therapy, counselling, psychotherapeutic and related mental health field directives, assessments, and evaluations that integrate social and cultural aspects
1.2 Demonstrate knowledge of, and ability to, conduct comprehensive art therapy and counselling directives and evaluations that utilize multiple intervention strategies based on current clinical research, and that integrate social and cultural considerations
1.3 Demonstrate the ability and commitment to apply those principles in assessment, appraisal, intervention, and evaluation in art therapy, counselling, and psychotherapy practices within all types of populations
1.4 Evaluate the efficacy of their interventions and use this information to continuously inform the treatment plan and intervention methods
1.5 Understand that all types of art therapy and counselling assessments are ongoing processes that inform practice and research
2. To develop graduates who have mastered the scientific foundations of art therapy, counselling, and psychotherapy and who apply this knowledge to their work and who use research methods to understand human problems.
Objectives for Goal 2:
2.1 Acquire knowledge of art therapy, counselling, and psychotherapy as a scientific discipline that serves as the basis for
2.2. Integrate, synthesize, and critique scientific knowledge and literature from multiple sources, taking into account and weighing
the significance of multiple determinants of human behavior and to design and conduct a research study
2.3. Apply scientific knowledge to design, conduct, interpret, and report research, methodology, and statistical concepts to the
practice of art therapy, counselling, and psychotherapy
3. To train graduates to understand art therapy, counselling, and psychotherapy within a social and cultural context with the attitudes, knowledge, and skills needed to work professionally and ethically in a multicultural society.
Objectives for Goal 3:
3.1. Integrate knowledge of cultural and social diversity theories and competency models, social sensitivity, and relevant skills
regarding individual, ethical, and cultural differences into all aspects of their work.
3.2. Develop knowledge of themselves as cultural beings in assessment, therapy sessions, treatment planning, evaluation and all
other professional activities.
3.3. Develop socially responsible, engaged and embedded practitioners, sensitive and appreciative to individual and cultural
diversity, as an active, genuine agent of positive change, helping to strengthen and revitalize the health of the community by providing counselling and art therapy services with an emphasis on working with underserved local and global communities, all in the spirit of the Adlerian founders of the school.
4. To prepare graduates who are knowledgeable in the application of management, supervision, consultation, and education methods within the profession of art therapy, counselling, and psychotherapy, including knowledge and experience of managing, facilitating, and maintaining an art therapy open studio/practice and upon eligibility, managing. and supervising others.
Objectives for Goal 4:
4.1. Understand the role of the art therapist, counselor, and psychotherapist in complex systems, including the discipline of art
making, skills, knowledge of art materials and processes, and the general principles of management, supervision, consultation, and education
4.2. Demonstrate knowledge of ,and skills in, the application of management, supervision, consultation, and education methods
within art therapy, counselling, and psychotherapy and are knowledgeable on how they differ from other roles
5. To develop graduates with the essential attitudes, knowledge, and skills to effectively engage in socially responsible practice and who can apply Adlerian theory, art therapy and counselling methods, and values in their work.
Objectives for Goal 5:
5.1. Understand the role of Individual/ Adlerian Psychology within a social context in the practice of art therapy, counselling, and
5.2. Integrate knowledge, attitudes, and relevant skills regarding the relationship between health, community, and the arts into all
aspects of work
5.3. Acquire knowledge of Adlerian theory/philosophy and develop Adlerian values that apply to clinical work, taking into
consideration the social and cultural context and clinical applications
This program is on the Canadian Art Therapy Association and British Columbia Art Therapy Association list of approved art therapy schools. The curriculum aligns with requirements established by: The British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors and the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association for application to become a Registered Clinical Counsellor in the province of British Columbia or a Canadian Certified Counsellor in Canada. (Students coming from outside British Columbia are encouraged to connect with Admissions and Training to consult on alignment of professional registration requirements in the location they wish to practice upon graduation). Graduates of this program are eligible to apply for membership registration with the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors (bc-counsellors.org) and/or the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (ccpa-accp.ca). Students are advised that licensure requirements are under review in various jurisdictions in Canada, and students are encouraged to regularly consult about current requirements. Students are advised to consult with the Training Director prior to starting the clinical practicum, as individual practicum training experiences may differ, and some students may need additional postgraduate experience or supervision hours to meet certification requirements. Students who intend to practice in locations other than the province of British Columbia are also encouraged to consult with the appropriate association, agency, or board relevant to local certification or licensure requirements.
This program is approved by the British Columbia Art Therapy Association, and the the Canadian Art Therapy Association. This program and the curriculum aligns with the specifications and requirements of the Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB), and the American Art Therapy Association (AATA). The application for accreditation through the CAAHEP is in the early stages of the process.
1. Satisfactory completion of 60 credit hours, including all required courses
2. Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 700 clock hours of clinical practicum (which includes 350 direct client contact hours and 100 hours of clinical supervision) and completion of 200 minimum hours of Social Justice Practicum
3. A cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher and no more than two grades or six credit hours of C
4. Successful completion of the Master’s Clinical Arts Qualifying Examination
5. Submission of completed Graduation Application and full payment of all outstanding tuition and fees
6. Faculty approval for graduation and recommendation to the Board of Trustees for the conferral of the Master of Counselling Psychology - Art Therapy degree
At Adler University, we take great pride in our diverse student body. Students represent a wide range of professional interests, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and academic and work histories. We admit individuals with a record of outstanding academic achievement and a commitment to social responsibility.
To be considered for admission, an applicant must meet the following criteria:
- A baccalaureate degree or equivalent from an accredited institution, preferably in psychology or counselling-related discipline.
- A grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale for all undergraduate or graduate coursework.
- The equivalent of at least 12 semester credit hours in baccalaureate-level psychology coursework with a grade of C or better. These courses must include introductory psychology, abnormal psychology, research methods, and developmental psychology.
- The equivalent of 18 semester credit hours in studio art that demonstrate proficiency and disciplined commitment in art-making. Students may earn these hours in traditional as well as non-traditional, informal ways. Please contact an Admissions Advisor for more information.
- A portfolio of original artwork (15 examples in three or more different media) demonstrating competence with art materials. Please note that no previous artistic experience is required.
- Coursework or volunteer/work experience that involves the use of counselling-related skills and demonstrates counselling capacity is highly desirable and is considered in the evaluation of applicants.
Approved applicants will be evaluated through a writing sample, a portfolio review, and an interview as the final step in the application process.
Students must complete all coursework required for the program at Adler University-Vancouver Campus. The only exceptions to this policy are any courses accepted for transfer credit in accordance with the University’s official Transfer Credit policy, or courses completed as part of an exchange program with our Chicago Campus that are approved by the MCP - Art Therapy Program Director.
Practicum - Vancouver Campus
We value rich community partnerships providing quality experience and supervision in a variety of settings with a diversity of issues: Vancouver Coastal Health, Providence Health, Fraser Valley Authority, hospitals, hospices, palliative care wards, cancer agencies, mental health agencies, school districts, eldercare facilities, private practices, addiction services, and correctional facilities.
Social Justice Practicum (SJP)
Students completing first-year coursework will spend eight to 10 hours per week overthe course of eight months at approved SJP sites and must concurrently enroll in required coursework. A minimum of 200 clock hours of SJP is required. International community service opportunities are also available. Students should contact the Manager of Community Action & Engagement, Vancouver Campus. Students can refer to the Social Justice Practicum (SJP) Handbook for detailed information.
After completion of all first-year coursework, students are required to complete a minimum of 700 clock hours of clinical practicum, which includes 350 direct client contact hours and 100 hours of clinical supervision. Clinical practicum sites may include working within hospitals, criminal justice systems, nonprofit organizations, mental health organizations, private practices, school systems, and addiction services. Students should expect to spend at least three days per week over the course of eight to 12 months at approved practicum sites and must concurrently enroll in practicum seminars during their field experience.
The MCP-AT Program works in collaboration with students in identifying and obtaining clinical practicum opportunities that meet the standards and requirements of the program. Students can refer to the Clinical Practicum Handbook for detailed information.