Christian art therapy integrates psychological care with discussion of spiritual concerns. Those interested in this field can enroll in relevant bachelor's and master's degree programs offered by private Christian colleges and universities. Through studio and lecture courses, 4-year bachelor's pre-art therapy students learn techniques to use art as a means to heal physical and emotional damage. Instruction topics include psychology, counseling techniques and cognition.
Master's curriculum in art therapy covers diagnosis and treatment, spiritual growth and psychopathology. Direct experience is gained through research projects, patient clinical work and observation. Completion of an internship is required for graduation. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree, studio art, psychology coursework, an artwork portfolio, recommendation letters, a letter of intent and a professional writing sample.
Bachelor's in Pre-Art Therapy
Pre-art therapy bachelor's programs combine the disciplines of art and psychology to help students understand the connections between creative expression and therapeutic approaches. Topics of study include:
- Abnormal behavior
- Color theory
- Counseling techniques
- Drawing and painting
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Master of Arts in Art Therapy
Master's curriculum is research and clinical-intensive, with advanced courses in:
- Assessment techniques
- Clinical art therapy
- Group supervision
- Human development
- Professional ethics
Faith-based organizations have a strong presence outside of mental health care. Bachelor's graduates can find employment opportunities at addiction treatment centers, nursing homes, schools and community centers. Available job titles include:
- Assistant activities director
- Recreation specialist
- Rehabilitation assistant
- Teaching artist
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for recreational therapists, including art therapists, is predicted to grow at a rate of 12% over 2014-2024, with a mean annual wage of $47,790 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov).
Licensure, Certification and Continuing Education Information
Those who have completed an art therapy master's and supervised post-graduate clinicals are eligible for voluntary certification. The Art Therapy Credentials Board Incorporated offers a designation that must be renewed with continuing education credits every five years. All states require professional counselors to be licensed. Licensure stipulations vary by state, but most mandate a graduate degree and a number of supervised work hours. Ph.D. programs in art therapy are available at several institutions, but not necessarily of the Christian variety.
Students interested in Christian art therapy can enroll in bachelor's and master's programs at private Christian institutions to learn how to combine art, therapy and faith. Graduates can pursue voluntary certification, and may find jobs as various kinds of recreational therapists.