According to bestcounselingdegrees.net, the Wayne State art therapy master’s program is number 28 on the top 35 list for the best and most affordable art therapy programs in the country.
“The art programs are designed around the art therapy curriculum rather than learning technical art skills,” said Johanna Soderborg, a current art education teacher receiving a master’s in art therapy. “Art therapy is using art in a way that is therapeutic or can benefit one therapeutically.”
The program offers two different master’s degrees options. You can receive a master’s in counseling with a focus in art therapy with which you are trained to use art when treating a patient who needs counseling for a mental health issue.
Or, you can receive a master’s in education with a focus in art therapy, which would be practiced as an educator to use as an outlet for students to express themselves.
With each of these degrees, students can receive jobs and internships in places like schools, hospitals, private practices and other facilities.
Graduate student Jennifer Kay-Rivera is pursuing a master’s in education with a focus in art therapy. She said the program will allow her to “introduce art in a non-threatening way” to her future students.
Rivera said she was influenced to join the master’s program when she was working on a doctorate at WSU and took an art therapy course to fulfill a cognate requirement. She said a past experience where she witnessed the success of art therapy in her personal life influenced her, too.
Rivera said one of her family members was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and the six-year-old family member used art therapy as a way to cope with the effects of treatment. Art therapy helped her maintain a more positive attitude, and when she passed away, the family had pieces of her art in memorial of her, she said.
“For me, I have always loved art,” counseling student Jenna Debryn said. “Ever since I can remember, I have always loved the process of art making and what comes from it. This being said, I knew how much I appreciated art and how I wanted to have a rewarding career in the helping profession, and once I found art therapy I knew it was the career for me.”
Although art therapy is very emotional and expressive, it can be a complicated and logistical profession as well.
Rivera stressed the importance of the protocols that exist to become an art therapist. She explained that people should be certified, so their techniques will benefit patients instead of harming them by accident. WSU ensures its students have extensive training and internships to be properly qualified and prepared, she said.
“I think for anyone interested in the field of mental health, they should certainly look into art therapy. If you are someone who believes in the process of art making as a therapeutic experience, then art therapy may be the field for you,” said Debryn.