Southwestern College (New Mexico)

| Staff Writers

Southwestern College was officially established in 1976 by Robert Waterman after transforming a library of metaphysical manuscripts of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby into a graduate school. Still dedicated to the Father of the New Thought Movement’s ideals, the college focused on training counselors in spirituality and consciousness. By 1996, SWC received regional accreditation as a private, nonprofit master’s-level institution with New Mexico’s sole art therapy program. Now led by President Dr. James Nolan, Southwestern College is located on San Felipe Road in Santa Fe at the Sangre de Cristo Mountain foothills. Noted for winning the 2005 Manuel Lujan Sr. Award, Southwestern enrolls around 170 future therapists. Southwestern College was ranked America’s 152nd most LGBT-friendly school.

Southwestern College Accreditation Details

Reaffirmed through 2020, Southwestern College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC-NCA). This third-party agency peer reviews institutions in 19 states, including New Mexico, to certify Title IV eligibility by the U.S. Department of Education. The M.A. in Art Therapy/Counseling holds programmatic accreditation from the American Art Therapy Association (AATA). Thanatology certification is also extended by the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) with the Trauma, Grief & Renewal Certificate. Please note that SWC isn’t accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) though.

Southwestern College Application Requirements

Getting an acceptance letter from Southwestern College requires fulfilling several admission criteria. Each M.A. applicant must hold a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or foreign equivalent. Majoring in the social sciences is suggested to fulfill the 12 credits of prerequisites, including abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, personality theory, and social psychology. Courses must be graded “C” or higher to count. Successful candidates typically hold a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 undergrad hours, but academic probation is available for lower grades. Submitting Graduate Records Exam (GRE) scores of 150 or better on the verbal and quantitative sections is preferred too.

Southwestern accepts applications on a rolling basis to evaluate graduate students based on academic readiness, motivation, life experience, and counseling promise. Priority deadlines are currently June 1st for Fall, September 15th for Winter, and January 31st for Spring enrollment. Paper applications must be mailed to the Admissions Office in Santa Fe with the following:

• Payment for the $50 non-refundable fee
• Official academic records from each college
• Current resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
• Typed, three-page personal goals statement
• Three professional letters of recommendation
• Portfolio of 12 to 15 original artworks (M.A. in Art Therapy only)

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Tuition and Financial Aid

Regardless of state residency, Southwestern College charges all Master of Arts students $540 per quarter unit after the initial $125 registration fee. On average, post-baccalaureate learners are charged $27,000 yearly. Total tuition for the 91-unit programs is $49,140, but there are extra costs. SWC suggests budgeting $1,057 for textbooks, $2,500 for transportation, and $3,003 for miscellaneous expenses. Graduate students arranging for the local apartment rentals can expect room and board at $3,058 per quarter or $12,234 annually. Personal therapy requirements also add in $1,240 each year.

Southwestern College’s Financial Aid Office has several opportunities to lower these costs though. After filing the FAFSA, students could receive the Federal Direct Unsubsidized or Grad PLUS loans. New Mexicans may obtain the Allied Health Loan for Service. Debt could eventually be forgiven under the National Health Services Corps Loan Repayment Program (LRP). Past volunteers may receive the AmeriCorps Award for up to $5,730. The AATA offers awards like the Myra Levick Scholarship and Cay Drachnik Minorities Fund. Graduate assistantships are awarded for 5 to 13 hours weekly every quarter with a tuition discount. Other institutional options include the Quimby Award, Art Therapy/Counseling Scholarship, Spanish Fluency Award, Older Student Scholarship, and Native American Scholarship.

Studying Counseling at Southwestern

Boasting an 87 percent graduation rate and 98 percent licensing exam pass rate, Southwestern College in New Mexico offers two master’s degrees in counseling disciplines. Therapists-in-training help run the Tierra Nueva Counseling Center (TNCC), a spacious, on-site counseling center with 12 client meeting rooms that serves low-income individuals and families struggling with issues like depression, addiction, abuse, anxiety, and grief. Students also benefit from access to 18,500 books and journals in Quimby Memorial Library for reference. SWC grads from 47 states have been expertly trained to excel at Solace Crisis Treatment Center, Jackson County Health & Human Services, Creativity for Peace, and more. Consider progressing your career in the following degrees:

M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Consisting of 91 quarter units, the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is traditionally a full-time, two-year program with part-time options for Southwestern students to develop into compassionate, mindful psychotherapists who transform client well-being. Courses expose post-bachelor’s students to humanistic, evidence-based counseling practices for guiding multicultural individuals or couples to mental harmony. Topics addressed will include group dynamics, archetypal psychology, ontology, psychopathology, human development, and professional ethics. Didactic instruction leads to field practicum and a year-long internship at 90 partnering mental health agencies to fulfill LMHC licensing. Students also benefit from the free Conscious Entrepreneurship Training to learn the basics for establishing a private practice.

M.A. in Art Therapy/Counseling

Approved by the AATA, the M.A. in Art Therapy/Counseling at Southwestern appeals to creative graduates seeking to utilize visual arts as the primary therapeutic modality for fostering client expression and reaching enhanced mental health. Available full- or part-time, the 91-unit curriculum fulfills Professional Art Therapist licensure with art-filled clinical experiences. Along with 40 clock hours of personal therapy, students conduct practicum in the Tierra Nueva Counseling Center’s well-equipped sand play therapy. Completing a year-long internship at placements like Offcenter Community Arts Project, The DreamTree Project, Sandhill Child Development Center, and more is also mandatory. Instead of a master’s thesis, second or third-year students deliver a capstone portfolio presentation.

Already licensed counselors could also enroll at SWC to earn Board-approved continuing education credits (CECs) in six specialized certificate programs through the New Earth Institute. Rooted in trans-dimensional teachings, the 120-hour certificates require three core and three elective courses to enrich counselors’ clinically relevant knowledge. For example, the Children’s Mental Health Certificate focuses on holistic strategies for assessing, diagnosing, and treating conditions specific to childhood or adolescence. The Trauma, Grief & Renewal Certificate emphasizes therapeutic intervention skills for bereavement after a loved one’s death. Other Southwestern College certificates delve into Human Sexuality, Infant Mental Health, Transformative Eco-Psychology, and Applied Interpersonal Neurobiology.

See also: 35 Best Master’s Degrees in Art Therapy, Ranked by Affordability

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