A series of birds made out of paper mache.

Teresa Yu, "Birds of Connection," 2019, wire, paper mache, and acrylic paint.

Undergraduate Overview

Art Therapy & Counseling Undergraduate Overview

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) offers several undergraduate courses for students interested in exploring art therapy as a future profession or considering how the approaches and philosophies of the field can inform their artistic development.

While SAIC does not offer a formal undergraduate major in Art Therapy, bachelor of fine arts (BFA) students can combine practical SAIC Internships with psychology classes from the Liberal Arts department and studio coursework as preparation for a graduate education in Art Therapy.

The profession of art therapy requires a master's degree. To learn about the SAIC Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling program, please download the Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling Program Guide [PDF] for detailed information. Undergraduate students interested in eventually applying to graduate art therapy programs in the United States should take the required prerequisite minimums: 12 semester credits in psychology courses, including abnormal psychology and developmental psychology, and 18 semester credits in studio art courses.

Art Therapy and Counseling Department Undergraduate Learning Goals:

  • Understand the core concerns of the field of art therapy and perspectives from related fields
  • Understand how the ideas and practices in the field of art therapy relate to contemporary theories of art and psychotherapy
  • Critically question medical, mental health, care, and wellness discourses in the profession of art therapy and other related clinical or therapeutic professions.
  • Critically explore therapeutic thinking in art disciplines through methods of creative practice and research


The undergraduate courses in the Art Therapy and Counseling Department focus on the following subject areas. 

  • Becoming an Art Therapist 
  • Community Practice
  • Critical Cultural Studies
  • Disability and Mad Studies
  • Materials and Media 

Course Listing

Title Catalog Instructor Schedule

Description

This is an entry-level experiential class which explores and implements concepts from art therapy and related fields. The course presents a blend of approaches including Eastern traditions, Jungian psychology, and other sources. Studio work and writing will be used as tools to understand and cultivate the discipline of self-awareness. The class will be structured as a community of participants engaging in and studying the phenomenon of the creative process. Each class meeting will involve art making and writing as well as discussion of ideas based on readings and experiences. This course is for anyone wanting to explore the relationship between art and life, self, other, and community in experiential and theoretical ways within an art therapy framework. It will be of value to those considering working with others using art, such as teachers or art therapists, as well as for those who may wish to establish art and/or writing as a form of practice and discipline in their lives. Open to all students.

Class Number

1111

Credits

3

Department

Art Therapy

Area of Study

Community & Social Engagement

Location

Sharp 403

Description

This is an entry-level experiential class which explores and implements concepts from art therapy and related fields. The course presents a blend of approaches including Eastern traditions, Jungian psychology, and other sources. Studio work and writing will be used as tools to understand and cultivate the discipline of self-awareness. The class will be structured as a community of participants engaging in and studying the phenomenon of the creative process. Each class meeting will involve art making and writing as well as discussion of ideas based on readings and experiences. This course is for anyone wanting to explore the relationship between art and life, self, other, and community in experiential and theoretical ways within an art therapy framework. It will be of value to those considering working with others using art, such as teachers or art therapists, as well as for those who may wish to establish art and/or writing as a form of practice and discipline in their lives. Open to all students.

Class Number

1112

Credits

3

Department

Art Therapy

Area of Study

Community & Social Engagement

Location

Sharp 404

Description

This course is designed to offer students a didactic and experiential overview of the field of art therapy. Material covered will include history, theory, and practice of art therapy processes and approaches as well as a survey of populations, settings, and applications. Lecture, readings, discussion, audio-visual presentations, experiential exercises, and guest presentations comprise the structure of this course.

Class Number

1107

Credits

3

Department

Art Therapy

Area of Study

Community & Social Engagement

Location

Sharp 403

Description

This course explores nonviolence through the nexus of contemplative reflection and people powered direct action. Research includes identifying personal, local and global exemplars of creative nonviolence through arts based inquiry. The history of nonviolence, the role of arts in nonviolent movements, mindfulness practices and nonviolent communication are foundations for the culminating project of the class. Students will engage in shared collaboration of artistic practices with an existing social action group in exploring love and protection or Gandhi?s soul force or Satyagraha.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: Must have completed one Art Therapy, Art Ed or Artsad class prior to enrolling.

Class Number

1130

Credits

3

Department

Art Therapy

Area of Study

Collaboration, Interaction and Participation, Politics and Activisms

Location

Sharp 404

Description

This interdisciplinary course considers the topic of craft practices and the therapeutic through the lens of feminist pedagogy, including theories of touch and interembodiment. Students will examine the critical role craft and the domestic arts have played in raising questions surrounding feminism, gender, and labor practices in everyday histories. The course examines local and international projects centering on memory, trauma and collaboration. The class will explore the ethics of community collaborations and how the practice of making can cultivate a sense of community, well-being, and social capital.

Class Number

1122

Credits

3

Department

Art Therapy

Area of Study

Gender and Sexuality, Community & Social Engagement

Location

Sharp 404

Description

This course explores narratives of illness, stigma, and marginalization told through comics and graphic novels. Students engage in reading, discussing, and making comics dealing with topics of physical and psychiatric illness, caregiving, and recovery. The current 'graphic medicine' movement, applications of comics in art therapy, and graphic novels and comics dealing with narratives of illness outside of a therapeutic or medical context are discussed and used as inspiration to generate content for student projects.

Class Number

1113

Credits

3

Department

Art Therapy

Area of Study

Gender and Sexuality, Books and Publishing, Comics and Graphic Novels

Location

Sharp 403

Description

This experiential class is designed for artists who wish to develop a studio practice with a focus on the deviant bodymind histories and the representation of disability/illness narratives. Including perspectives both inside and outside of an artistic, therapeutic, and/or medical context. Students will learn to integrate disability aesthetics (Sieber, 2010), critical “knowing-making” (Hamraie, 2017), crip technoscience (Hammraie and Fritsch, 2019), Crip Couture (Yi, 2020) and other disability art and design concepts and practices in their work. Students who are interested in the following area of practice/discipline might benefit from taking this course: art therapy and counseling, design object, fashion design, visual critical studies and fiber and materials studies. Artists/designers/theorists that may be referenced in the course include Panteha Abareshi, Kristina Veasey, Laura Splan, Rebecca Horn, Harriet Sanderson, Sins Invalid, Daniel Moraes, Lisa Bufano, Aimi Hamraie, Kelly Fritsch, Tobin Siebers. Students will create artworks that serve as an “extension” of their bodymind state. “Extensions” can include but are not limited to body adornments; wearable designs; physical, emotional or psychological aids; relational/interactive performances. Students will explore and choose media that reflect the wearer’s (and or participant’s) haptic memories and experiences of deviancy. Light reading, lectures, class discussions, gallery visits and visiting artist’s talk will provide inspiration for students to develop their project.

Class Number

2366

Credits

3

Department

Art Therapy

Area of Study

Gender and Sexuality, Costume Design, Class, Race, Ethnicity

Location

Sharp 404

Description

It is becoming increasingly clear that facilitating is a widely present practice across the arts. Facilitation draws on performance modalities, while also engaging more broadly with design, sculpture, music, language, and gaming in their intersections with co-operative, social and community building practices. Facilitation emerges in cross-fertilization with practitioners’ experience as artists, and also as arts educators, therapists, mediators, and administrators, roles that already include designing and deploying communicative systems. Activist and Applied theater practices have long pioneered facilitative work. Artist Shaun Leonardo's performance-based workshops are a recent example of a facilitating practice that is both participatory and generates works. Gabrielle Civil's Experiments in Joy are an example of facilitating collaboration and community expansion. Community organizing and urban planning in the work of Rick Lowe and Theaster Gates facilitate structural opportunity and socio-political discourse. Facilitation additionally draws on cognitive, social and political theory, mitigating economic and epistemic violence, reframing research methodology, enacting participatory sense-making, complicating narrative and translation, and more. Participatory configurations outside of theaters, such as laboratories, workshops and interventions are becoming more common as integral parts of work with ideas, objects or performance, even as institutions may be grappling with how to accommodate them. Our course research, curatorial or artistic projects may explore the following questions: Who designs a facilitation process, and why? Which kind of experience goes into it? Which desire? Which cooperation? What is the role of a facilitator? Who agrees to participate in a facilitation setting, and why? How might we name or more precisely describe facilitating? Also, how is facilitating generative? Does it relate to game, play, and improvisation? Does it enhance creativity? Does it support organizing and institutional imagination? Can facilitation be embedded in an object, a structure, a notation, or an algorithm? How does it affect relations among humans? Which literatures and theories, which artistic practices are currently being articulated? What are predecessors?

Prerequisites

Must be a senior or above to enroll, juniors can request permission number

Class Number

2501

Credits

3

Department

Art Therapy

Area of Study

Art/Design and Politics, Community & Social Engagement, Exhibition and Curatorial Studies

Location

MacLean 617

Description

This course presents the central concepts of contemporary mental health diagnosis (DSM-IV). Emphasis is placed on etiology, terminology, and symptom profiles. This material provides art therapy students with a conceptual foundation shared by a variety of medical and mental health practitioners.

Prerequisites

You must be a Masters of Art in Art Therapy student to take this class.

Class Number

1981

Credits

3

Department

Art Therapy

Location

Lakeview - 1428

Description

This course presents the central concepts of contemporary mental health diagnosis (DSM-IV). Emphasis is placed on etiology, terminology, and symptom profiles. This material provides art therapy students with a conceptual foundation shared by a variety of medical and mental health practitioners.

Prerequisites

You must be a Masters of Art in Art Therapy student to take this class.

Class Number

2554

Credits

3

Department

Art Therapy

Location

Online

Description

In this course the student will explore the theories, principles, methods, and techniques used for conducting research in art therapy. Various models of qualitative and quantitative research from art therapy and related fields will be presented and discussed.

Prerequisites

You must be a Masters of Art in Art Therapy student to take this class.

Class Number

2126

Credits

3

Department

Art Therapy

Location

MacLean 919

Description

This course provides students with a basic understanding of group dynamics and its application for a variety of therapeutic goals using art. Students are involved in an experience of group interaction. Lectures and discussions focus on readings from the literature of both art and verbal group therapy. Audio-visual material of groups in action are presented. Issues explored include: techniques and training in group leadership; setting group norms; issues around processing art; dealing with conflict; stages of group development; and application with varied settings, cultures, and populations.

Prerequisites

You must be a Masters of Art in Art Therapy student to take this class.

Class Number

2127

Credits

3

Department

Art Therapy

Location

Sharp 706

Description

This course provides students with a basic understanding of group dynamics and its application for a variety of therapeutic goals using art. Students are involved in an experience of group interaction. Lectures and discussions focus on readings from the literature of both art and verbal group therapy. Audio-visual material of groups in action are presented. Issues explored include: techniques and training in group leadership; setting group norms; issues around processing art; dealing with conflict; stages of group development; and application with varied settings, cultures, and populations.

Prerequisites

You must be a Masters of Art in Art Therapy student to take this class.

Class Number

2128

Credits

3

Department

Art Therapy

Location

Sharp 403

Description

This course provides students with a basic understanding of group dynamics and its application for a variety of therapeutic goals using art. Students are involved in an experience of group interaction. Lectures and discussions focus on readings from the literature of both art and verbal group therapy. Audio-visual material of groups in action are presented. Issues explored include: techniques and training in group leadership; setting group norms; issues around processing art; dealing with conflict; stages of group development; and application with varied settings, cultures, and populations.

Prerequisites

You must be a Masters of Art in Art Therapy student to take this class.

Class Number

2555

Credits

3

Department

Art Therapy

Location

Online

Description

This course provides group supervision to support the internship component of the Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling program. Internship students participate in a minimum of one hour of weekly individual supervision with a qualified fieldwork site supervisor in addition to 1.5 hours of weekly group supervision with a faculty supervisor per the MAATC fieldwork supervision agreement. Over the course of the semester, students complete 250 service hours which must include approximately 100 hours of direct service with clients and contribute to the development of basic to intermediate skills for a specialized area of art therapy and counseling practice. This professional practice course builds on the skills acquired in the practicum experience. Students must demonstrate an applied understanding of assessment, treatment approaches, and the therapeutic relationship in art therapy and counseling. Students also become familiar with a variety of professional activities including referral sources, case review, record keeping, preparation, staff meetings, and other administrative functions. Prerequisite: ARTTHER 5020 — Art Therapy Fieldwork I

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: ARTTHER 5020.

Class Number

1114

Credits

1.5

Department

Art Therapy

Location

Sharp 404

Description

This course provides group supervision to support the internship component of the Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling program. Internship students participate in a minimum of one hour of weekly individual supervision with a qualified fieldwork site supervisor in addition to 1.5 hours of weekly group supervision with a faculty supervisor per the MAATC fieldwork supervision agreement. Over the course of the semester, students complete 250 service hours which must include approximately 100 hours of direct service with clients and contribute to the development of basic to intermediate skills for a specialized area of art therapy and counseling practice. This professional practice course builds on the skills acquired in the practicum experience. Students must demonstrate an applied understanding of assessment, treatment approaches, and the therapeutic relationship in art therapy and counseling. Students also become familiar with a variety of professional activities including referral sources, case review, record keeping, preparation, staff meetings, and other administrative functions. Prerequisite: ARTTHER 5020 — Art Therapy Fieldwork I

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: ARTTHER 5020.

Class Number

1115

Credits

1.5

Department

Art Therapy

Location

Sharp 403

Description

This course provides group supervision to support the internship component of the Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling program. Internship students participate in a minimum of one hour of weekly individual supervision with a qualified fieldwork site supervisor in addition to 1.5 hours of weekly group supervision with a faculty supervisor per the MAATC fieldwork supervision agreement. Over the course of the semester, students complete 250 service hours which must include approximately 100 hours of direct service with clients and contribute to the development of basic to intermediate skills for a specialized area of art therapy and counseling practice. This professional practice course builds on the skills acquired in the practicum experience. Students must demonstrate an applied understanding of assessment, treatment approaches, and the therapeutic relationship in art therapy and counseling. Students also become familiar with a variety of professional activities including referral sources, case review, record keeping, preparation, staff meetings, and other administrative functions. Prerequisite: ARTTHER 5020 — Art Therapy Fieldwork I

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: ARTTHER 5020.

Class Number

1116

Credits

1.5

Department

Art Therapy

Location

Sharp 402

Description

This course is a follow-up to Ethics in Art Therapy I, with a focus on deepening the clinical understanding and application of legal and ethical standards of practice in art therapy and counseling. The application of these principles in art therapy settings forms the basis for discussion. ARTTHER 6001/6003 Co Req, students must enroll in the same section.

Prerequisites

You must be a Masters of Art in Art Therapy student to take this class.

Class Number

1118

Credits

1.5

Department

Art Therapy

Location

Sharp 404

Description

This course is a follow-up to Ethics in Art Therapy I, with a focus on deepening the clinical understanding and application of legal and ethical standards of practice in art therapy and counseling. The application of these principles in art therapy settings forms the basis for discussion. ARTTHER 6001/6003 Co Req, students must enroll in the same section.

Prerequisites

You must be a Masters of Art in Art Therapy student to take this class.

Class Number

1119

Credits

1.5

Department

Art Therapy

Location

Sharp 403

Description

This course is a follow-up to Ethics in Art Therapy I, with a focus on deepening the clinical understanding and application of legal and ethical standards of practice in art therapy and counseling. The application of these principles in art therapy settings forms the basis for discussion. ARTTHER 6001/6003 Co Req, students must enroll in the same section.

Prerequisites

You must be a Masters of Art in Art Therapy student to take this class.

Class Number

1120

Credits

1.5

Department

Art Therapy

Location

Sharp 402
Rachel Wallis, Unraveling Empire, 2017, Textiles

Final Undergraduate Application and Merit Deadline: April 15