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M.A. in Expressive Arts Therapy

With a Minor in Psychology

Expressive Arts Therapy is an intermodal field combining the study of health, illness, resilience, and the Arts. Through the process of Art-making, an Expressive Arts therapist discovers how their clients can live in a better way, how the Arts facilitate change, personal growth and transformation.

Indigenous cultures have often been cited as combining ritual, community and the use of the Arts for the purpose of healing and such practices have endured throughout the centuries. Through its intermodal approach, Expressive Arts Therapy integrates different Art modalities within a therapeutic context. Its roots are based in philosophy, anthropology, psychology and the Arts. The use of the Arts in Intermodal Decentering IDEC® is fundamental to the therapeutic process.

Expressive Arts Therapy has, as its foundation, the practice of the Arts and our response to this innate quality. This creative process supports us to respond and to shape our world in a way that is life-giving and healing. The intrinsic human capacity to create is at the centre of the therapeutic work and thus the creative urge becomes stronger than illness, disease or psychic disorder, empowering the client to come in touch with their inner strengths and gain insight on how these resources can impact and transform the larger disharmony.

This Program is ideal for professionals, artists and anyone who wants to engage with the Arts to work as change agents with clients, using the process of Art making to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities, psychic disorders, and disharmony in their personal life. This degree is beneficial for those wanting to work in hospitals, children's programs, or in other therapeutic setting. Students will learn how to be prepared for unexpected situations, advance their cultural and professional communication skills, and connect with masters in the field.

Plans of Studies

Over the course of three years, students will learn the principles and practices of Intermodal Expressive Arts for the purpose of therapy, earning a minor in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Expressive Arts Therapy. Students will spend three summers in residence in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. Classes are a mixture of lecture and theory, practice and small-group sessions, Art-making through different modalities and mediums, awareness practice and mindfulness through body movement. Full details of the curriculum covered can be downloaded.

Overview of the six modules (120 cp ECTS or 60 US Credits)

Expressive Arts, Digital Arts and Media KS 

This module gives the student an in depth introduction to Expressive Arts in relationship to low skill high sensitivity, Intermodal Decentering IDEC® and the intermodal approach. Media today is an integral part of our culture and this module also opens up new channels of exploration where Digital Arts and Media can be used as a source of communication with the Arts and through the Arts. It can be taken on campus during the first period and is required for students who do not have any cooperating institutes in their home country that offer it as K module or for those students who wish to take the module as an intensive training program rather than have it spread out throughout the year.

Expressive Arts Methods - Interdisciplinary Approach P

During this summer session in residence, students will study the interdisciplinary approach through the Expressive Arts methodology. They will learn the social and developmental issues that arise from a psychological perspective and by working on project design and implementation in the field. Students receive advanced training and methodology of practice, mastering the language and discourse and aesthetic responsibility in Expressive Arts Therapy. They learn to understand the principles and practices of psychotherapy through resource- and system oriented concepts of counseling and aid. This module provides an artistic lens on culture and communication, developing sensitivity in relational skills, and increasing recognition of existing resources within a community.

Expressive Arts Practice A-P

This 11 days Summer School module is run during the first period and focuses on group supervision from an Expressive Arts perspective. The essential aspects of an arts-oriented session using the method of Intermodal Decentering IDEC® will be introduced and discussed. Students present situations or case studies from their practice and will also learn how to integrate the Expressive Arts in their work through various demonstrations. Live coaching is an opportunity to recognize and develop professional resources and to transform weaknesses and insecurities into strengths.

Philosophical and aesthetic foundation - interdisciplinary approach D

This module provides an in depth look at the theoretical, philosophical and aesthetic foundations. Students become more familiar with how the concept of Expressive Arts builds resilience within the psychopathological and salutogenetic discourse. Their study will also focus on the body and movement in Expressive Arts Therapy and illness and healing through an inquiry into processes of change. This module deepens the understanding of the therapeutic relationship. It enhances awareness of the body and its importance in the Art-making process. By the end of this module students increase their theoretical and methodological skills and are able to move from theory to practice. Throughout the first two years, students are required to complete a theoretical foundation and research module, a portfolio, a field-based internship (465 hours) under supervision (30 hours on site or other), and a method-specific training (15 sessions).

Theoretical foundation and research F

This module enhances the understanding of processes of change specifically with respect to the artistic process in the context of health and illness, human development and concepts such as "world view" and "Menschenbild". In the process of writing a thesis project, the student will be able to explore a special theme leading to the formulation of a question that is then researched on a practical, theoretical and artistic level to recognize the resources that strengthen and broaden one's own professional competence.

Expressive Arts Master Exams E 

During the third and last summer session in residence, students will finish their degree with a Final Examination and Graduation. The students will complete oral and written exams on the principles and practices of Intermodal Expressive Arts Therapy through a critical inquiry into a variety of schools and the poly-aesthetics and intermodal method. Finally, students will present an Oral Defence of their Masters Thesis.

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