Art therapy counseling combines the therapeutic uses of art making with the skills of a professional counselor to provide multiple levels of communication within a therapeutic relationship. Art therapy counseling is helpful for people who experience illness, trauma, mental health issues, challenges in living, as well as for those who seek personal insight and change.
Art therapy counselors are professionals trained in both art and therapy. They come into the field with a strong background in art and psychology, and study therapeutic uses of art and counseling skills at the master's level. Art therapy counselors work with people of all ages: children, adolescents, adults, couples, families, groups, and communities. They provide services in settings that include mental health centers, hospitals, rehabilitation, forensic institutions, community outreach program, wellness centers, schools, nursing homes, open studios and independent practices.
SIUE has several things that are unique compared to other art therapy counseling programs in the country. Between the number of graduate assistantships available, state school tuition rates, faculty/student ratio, and number of visiting art therapists, SIUE offers a quality education at a fraction of the cost of other programs.
One of the biggest advantages to study at SIUE is the number of graduate assistantships available for students. Graduate assistants receive a tuition waiver and a monthly stipend of approximately $400/month. In a typical year there are 8-10 art therapy counseling graduate assistantships in Head Start for first year students, and 4-6 graduate assistantships available for 2nd or 3rd year students. Other graduate assistantships are available throughout the campus.
When students move to Illinois from other states, within 6 months students can apply for residency and receive in-state tuition. Missouri residents who take 6 hours or fewer are also eligible for in-state tuition.
The faculty/student ratio meets the requirements set forth by the American Art Therapy Association. SIUE limits its incoming class to 10 students per year. With 3 full-time faculty members and 3 adjunct faculty, students receive individualized attention and are exposed to a variety of approaches to art therapy.
The art therapy counseling program invites nationally known speakers to the campus each spring for the annual Art Therapy Counseling Conference and each fall for the Fall Workshop. These events offer art therapy students and area art therapists an opportunity to explore current topics in the field with noted art therapists.
In addition, the Department of Art and Design has many special activities that students may find stimulating. These include the Visiting Artists Workshop, an Exhibitions Program, and a Summer Arts Festival.