A guide to studying Art Psychotherapy

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Here are the most frequently asked questions about the MA Art Psychotherapy. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us.

Can I study Art Psychotherapy full time or part-time?
The MA Art Psychotherapy is offered part-time over three years. As it is clinical and professional training and there are many elements to the course both theoretical and practical, three years are needed to assimilate the academic and experiential work.

What experience do I need to apply for the course?
You need to have relevant prior experience with vulnerable client groups. These could include drug and alcohol users; children; elderly people and people living with dementia, for example.

What qualifications do I need to apply?
Your first degree does not necessarily have to be in fine art. We have had students with undergraduate degrees in Zoology, Psychology and Social Work, but they all had an ongoing personal art practice. We are looking for evidence of strong artistic skills.

What’s the deadline to apply for this course?
There is no official deadline to apply however, the course is oversubscribed and early application is recommended to avoid disappointment.

I don’t have a degree. What experience is considered relevant?
Contact our Admissions Team and specify all experience in your personal statement.

How many places are available?

When are the interviews?
We interview from the spring through to the end of the summer in order to select a cohort that will work well together over the three years of training.

What does the interview entail?
The interview is comprised of a group information session and group exercise, followed by an individual interview. You will have the opportunity to ask questions at various stages and we do our best to answer them so that you are as fully informed as possible to make your decision as to whether this training is right for you.

Portfolio tips
You need to bring a portfolio that includes a range of original artwork and shows your current practice as an artist, as well as sketchbooks and any other format background material, which we will discuss in your individual interview. Please do not bring photographs of work, as we expect to see originals. If there is a reason why this is not possible, (e.g. large sculptural work), please inform us prior to the interview. We have AV available for digital work or you are welcome to bring your own laptop.

What is the structure of the course?
The course has theory and practice taught throughout the three years through lectures, group work and in seminars. There are clinical placements over years two and three with pre-clinical placement in year one.

Students are assessed through both formative and summative assessments; group work; individual performance; placement practice; experiential work at University etc.

What will my timetable be like?
Year One: Monday in University, 09.00-17.00; placement from January, one day per week - day to be agreed with the placement provider.
Year Two: Tuesday in University, 09.00-17.00; one day per week clinical placement - day to be agreed with the placement provider.
Year Three: Wednesday in University, 09.00-17.00; up to two days per week clinical placement (this will depend on the organisational requirements of the placement setting) - day to be agreed with the placement provider.

Do I need to find my own placements?
No, we organise the placements for you. The placements reflect contemporary practice and the reality of the professional world and can be in a number of settings including the NHS, charities, independent organisations and third sector agencies.

They are with a variety of client groups including for example; mental health, education, children, adults, refugees, the elderly and drug and alcohol.

We try to place you within your geographic area and take note of commitments for carers and families. However, you are expected to travel up to an hour to your placement.

How many times a week should I be in my own personal therapy?
Once a week minimum throughout the course (you are welcome to go more than once a week). We recommend that you start therapy prior to the course and continue after.

The therapist must be either HCPC registered or registered with an appropriate professional organisation and to be practising psychodynamically, with at least three years’ full time / five years’ part-time experience and in a therapy in keeping with the orientation of the course (psychodynamic). The course team reserve the right to request that you change your therapist for one in keeping with the aims and objectives of learning and professional qualification.

Is there anything I need to read before the Art Psychotherapy course starts?
The course reading list will be provided to all successful applicants at the start of Year 1. In preparation for the interview and the course, you may wish to explore some of the well-known theorists utilised in current art psychotherapy practice e.g. Freud, Jung, Klein, Bion, Bowlby etc. and some introductory art psychotherapy books: 

Edwards, D. (2014) Art therapy  
Case, C. and Dalley, T. (2014) The handbook of art therapy 
Hogan, S. (2016) Art therapy theories: a critical introduction 
Wood, C. (2011) Navigating art therapy: a therapist’s companion 

Additionally, look at www.baat.org to understand the professional and ethical stance of the course and for useful information about the profession.  You will also find details here of Art Therapy Introductory and Foundation courses which will be very good preparation for embarking on the MA Art Psychotherapy. 

What career opportunities are there for Art Psychotherapists after graduation?
Plenty, from NHS and other organisations; charities; independent agencies; as well as through social enterprise. We look at this in the third year of the course, particularly.