Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, Concentration in Expressive Arts Therapy California Institute of Integral Studies
At California Institute of Integral Studies (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.
The Expressive Arts Therapy (EXA) concentration in counseling psychology prepares students for practicing the art and science of expressive arts therapy through a curriculum rooted in contemporary, creative, competency-based adult learning approaches.
The EXA concentration curriculum is tailored to meet the State of CA licensure requirements for the MFT. Students attend a week-long residential seminar at the beginning of each semester. The seminar is held at CIIS' campus in the heart of San Francisco.
Highlights of the Expressive Arts Therapy Program include:
- Completion of CIIS' State of CA-approved 60 unit curriculum preparing students for licensure as either a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) or 67-unit Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)
- Preparation for Registered Expressive Arts Therapist credential (REAT) via the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association
- Support for International Students through CIIS' International Student Advisor
- Deep integration of multimodal arts approaches into teaching and learning
- Students may follow the curriculum for LPCC with additional summer coursework
- Immersive, arts-based residential seminars begin each semester where students complete up to one-third of semester coursework
- Teaching methodologies promoting the scholar-artist-practitioner model through the integration of theory into "real world" reflective practice
- Faculty skilled in arts-based face-to-face and online approaches to teaching and learning
Intensive Arts-Based Residential Seminars
Students, faculty, and advisers come together in our residential seminars to engage in extensive experiential intermodal arts-based learning, completing up to a third of the in-class coursework for the semester.
Full-Time Residential Format
Students engage in three years of face-to-face study at CIIS's campus in San Francisco. In the second year, students officially engage in action learning, integrating theory and expressive arts into practice within an approved community setting, in either a voluntary or paid capacity. Students engage in a formal yearlong practicum in the third year. Each student is assigned to an Academic Advisor.
About the Program
The Expressive Arts Therapy 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 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.
Have the arts ever helped you through an emotional or life crisis? Have you ever used activities such as creative writing, painting, pottery, singing, dancing, or improv acting to feel a greater sense of aliveness? Are you looking for a career where you can integrate your passion for the arts with your desire for personal, relational, and systemic healing and social change? YES?!! Check out this video of the Expressive Arts Therapy Program's online info session to learn more!
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 and counseling psychology. 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 California's Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) license. This program 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; trauma-informed 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 USA 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.
Hands-on training occurs in classes and weeklong, intensive residential seminars held in SF once per semester for students and faculty in both programs. New theoretical, experiential, and expressive arts skills are then integrated into the student's work and in their communities. Additionally, they will be visiting and interviewing practitioners in their communities.
The EXA program maintains partnerships with community organizations, including GLIDE's Family Youth & Child Center and Contra Costa Health Services' Art of Health and Healing Program. Students go through a formal selection process to participate in these programs.
CIIS EXA students typically complete their clinical fieldwork in the third year, beginning in the fall semester.
This three-year program covers individual, group, couple, and family therapy and includes a yearlong 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 license (MFT) and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and is designed to meet the educational requirements to become a Registered Expressive Arts Therapist (REAT) with the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association.
This is a description of the EXA classes students will take during their three years in our program.
A dynamic program weaving the arts across the curriculum, enabling students to:
- Demonstrate the 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 the 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 the ability to conceptualize and intervene holistically (addresses body, mind, and spirit)