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Art therapy students creating artwork

What is Art Therapy Counseling?

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.

Art therapy student holding up finger painting

Why Study Art Therapy Counseling at SIUE?

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.

Graduate Assistantships

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 4 art therapy counseling graduate assistantships in Head Start for first year students, and a few graduate assistantships specifically available for 2nd or 3rd year students. Other graduate assistantships are available throughout the campus. Historically, about half of our students have held a Graduate Assistantship for at least one year.

Students playing with puppets made at fall conference

State School Tuition Rates

Our tuition rates are among the most affordable for art therapy training across the country. If you are from a state that borders Illinois, you are eligible for in-state tuition prices making this an even more affordable option. To see more detail about tuitions and fees, please consult the admissions webpage.

Faculty/Student Ratio

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.

Conferences And Workshops

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.


  • 1984 Bob Ault
  • 1985 Lew Shupe and Gary Barlow
  • 1986 Mildred Lachman Chapin
  • 1987 Gussie Klorer & Floyd Smith
  • 1988 Don Jones
  • 1989 Janie Rhyne
  • 1990 Dean Frantz
  • 1991 Laurie Wilson
  • 1992 Arthur Robbins
  • 1993 Pat Allen
  • 1994 Linda Gantt
  • 1995 Michael Franklin
  • 1996 Randy Vick
  • 1997 Judy Rubin
  • 1998 Josie Abbenante
  • 1999 Cathy Moon
  • 2000 Cathy Malchiodi
  • 2001 Janis Timm-Bottos
  • 2002 Patricia Isis
  • 2003 Robin Goodman
  • 2004 Michael Maloney
  • 2005 Cathy Moon
  • 2006 Linda Chapman
  • 2007 Bruce Moon
  • 2008 Shaun McNiff
  • 2009 Lynn Kapitan
  • 2010 Janis Timm-Bottos
  • 2011 Randy Vick
  • 2012 Sandra Graves


  • 1998 Laurie Neustadt
  • 1999 Michael Franklin
  • 2000 Ruella Frank
  • 2001 Joy Seidler
  • 2002 Cheryl Doby-Copeland
  • 2003 Deborah Koff-Chapin
  • 2004 Don Seidan
  • 2005 Pat Allen
  • 2006 Josie Abbenante
  • 2007 Lani Gerity
  • 2009 Michael Franklin
  • 2010 Linney Wix
  • 2011 Gaelynn Wolf-Bordonaro

The SIUE Department of Art and Design has many student groups and activities including Visiting Artists Workshops, Exhibitions and Campus Sculture programs. St. Louis has an extensive cultural and community arts ecosystem. Within a half hour from campus there are rural, suburban and urban areas creating a rich regional experience. 

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