Program

We offer a concentration in Expressive Arts Therapy within the Masters of Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, and a Graduate Certificate in Expressive Arts Therapy for those have completed a Masters degree in counseling or a related mental health field. Please explore the links to the right to learn more about each of these offerings. 


Philosophy

In Expressive Arts Therapy at Appalachian State University, we seek to offer a learning environment in which both intellectual and personal challenges are offered within the context of a community of learners. We strive to create an environment in which individual and cultural differences are respected, where creative innovation is prized, and where the importance of the personhood of the therapist is taught and practiced. 

 Premises of Expressive Arts Therapy at Appalachian include the following:

  • Expressive Arts Therapy is a collaborative process between therapist and client, scientist and artist, teacher and student. It acknowledges that all participants bring an equal voice to the conversation and make a valued contribution to the work.
  • Expressive Arts Therapy is holistic. Its goals are optimum health and well- being, rather than the diagnosis and treatment of disease and dysfunction.
  • Art making and creative expression are healing, growth producing processes in and of themselves.
  • The capacity for creative expression is a fundamental aspect of health.
  • Expressive Arts Therapy is interdisciplinary and often involves the layering of modalities. It enlarges the capacity of the client and therapist to hold different perspectives, to speak many "languages" simultaneously.
  • Expressive Arts Therapy is depth-oriented and provides powerful access to unconscious material.
  • Body knowledge, intuitive wisdom, subjective experience and emotions are expressed and honored as valid ways of knowing in and of themselves.
  • The integrity of an expressive arts therapist is reflected in ongoing personal use of creative expression for personal healing and growth.
  • Expressive Arts Therapy suggests the reclaiming of an ancient vision of art and therapy in society, one that integrates art and healing in the context of community.
  • In its broadest and deepest sense, Expressive Arts Therapy is a spiritual practice. It offers the possibility for meditative practice and for entry into what may be described as an experience of universal consciousness.

At Appalachian our philosophy of expressive arts therapy is inextricably linked with the natural landscape in which we live and work. We live in the ancient mountains of the Southern Appalachian Range, among Native ancestors and remnants of the earth's oldest forests. Four rivers are born in this land, including what is believed to be the oldest river on the continent of North America. This is the landscape that shapes our daily life and inhabits our souls. Nature's cycles of creation, elaboration, destruction, and regeneration provide the model for creative process in art and life.