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5 Typical Courses in an Art Therapy Degree Program

An art therapy degree can open the doors to many valuable careers helping others. With such a high demand in special needs and therapeutic services today, this degree choice is one that will enable the earner to have security and luxury of choice at job-search time and throughout their adult life. In the meantime though, you have to earn that degree.

The art therapy degree prepares the student for the complexities of intuitive therapy applications in the most sensitive of cases. It is an intensive yet uplifting degree path full of opportunity for personal growth and benefit. What kinds of things you study will depend much on the school and your minor selections. To get an idea of the most typical, post-core courses encountered within this degree, we've detailed a short list of five here. Let's take a look.

Studio-Based Art Therapy

In studio-based art therapy, students will learn a lot on the processes of conducting therapy in a studio-like setting. In such a setting, there may be a great number of media and art techniques available to the therapist and client alike. Choosing the most valid ones for the situation and intended goals is important. This class will prepare the student with a greater ability to navigate such a therapy setting as well as use creativity to embolden the process and client.

Abnormal Psychology

The Mayo Clinic classifies mental illness as having many, varied symptoms including social withdrawal, detachments from reality, excessive fears or guilt, mood swings, and sadness. Being able to identify symptoms like these and then apply them to diagnosis and subsequent treatment methods is extremely important. The abnormal psychology course will prepare you for this exact area of the job and its required insights into abnormal psychological patterns and processes. Learn about abuse consequences and patterns, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, defense mechanisms, and more.

Art of the Western World

In most cases, those practicing art therapy in the United States will be dealing with clients that have spent much if not all of their lives living in the United States. Naturally then, those clients will be most familiar and comfortable with art styles that are common to this region of the globe. The typical, art of the western world course is important in assuring that the future art therapist is able to communicate via a media and style most suited to the majority of clients served by the field.

Theories of Personality

The world of theory on personality is a vast one. Many scientists and researchers have contributed here, making for a deep, yet ever-evolving, collective theory on the state of personality. What makes personality so different from one to another? How does personality affect decision-making in day-to-day life? How much of the personality can be attributed to environmental or genetic variables? These are the concerns of this course, giving students a clearer understanding of this therapy-requiring concept.

Introduction To Painting

The introduction to painting course is one that essentially assumes the student is starting painting with no past experience. Concept, method, different mediums, best practices, and creativity in work are all taught here, giving one a great basic knowledge of painting. Other, introductory-level art courses are also required by the art therapy major, much like this one. These include introductions to clay art, 3D concepts, and photography. After one has mastered these courses, there is often an array of intermediate studies to follow in these same areas. The goal is to create an art therapist that is well-versed in all areas of art and thus able to provide the maximum possibility of benefit in therapy for the client.

Art therapy is quite the in-demand and noble, vocational calling. It is also a great way to stay connected to the various arts while helping others and being paid for it all at the same time. The art therapy degree, which will include courses like those discussed here, is uncontested in its ability to open up this excellent career path.

See also: The Best Undergraduate Degrees in Art Therapy Ranked by Affordability 2016