An Indigenous Community and Creative Arts Therapy Program

The Groundwater Initiative is a partnership between Indigenous art therapists, community workers, elders, and the Kutenai Art Therapy Institute (KATI) to adapt the school’s curriculum to reflect Indigenous knowledge, needs, and history.

The initiative recognizes the role of creativity and art in traditional healing, the traumatic and intergenerational impacts of colonialism, and the deeply therapeutic value of nature.

Graduates earn a diploma from one of Canada’s leading art therapy institutes to work as professional expressive therapists: strengthening families and supporting a solid foundation for future generations.

For the past 20 years, the Kutenai Art Therapy Institute has offered a two-year art therapy diploma program, available on campus or by distance learning. The Groundwater Initiative has begun to further decolonize the curriculum of both these delivery methods.

In particular, we have focused on adapting the distance program to accentuate Indigenous content and to accommodate students who live in remote areas or need to maintain home/work/community commitments.

The Groundwater initiative aims to create a learning environment of cultural safety while teaching therapeutic skills, ethical clinical practice, and culturally appropriate group dynamics.

Examples of coursework themes include:

  • Indigenous Healing Narratives: An Arts Based Approach
  • A Creative Path to Healing from Intergenerational Loss, Trauma and Abuse.
  • Creative Approaches to Healing with Families: Intergenerational trauma and residential schools
  • Land-based and Traditional Healing Methods
  • An Arts-based Practice for Community Development and Social Change

When does the program start?

The first Groundwater distance student cohort will begin on June 4th, 2018 with a 3-week residential immersion in experiential course work. This will be followed throughout the year by online course work and clinical placements in your community.

The second year will begin with a 3-week residential immersion in June 2019 for experiential coursework. The rest of the year will include online course work, clinical placements in community, and major project / thesis work.

The cohort will complete with a 2-week residential immersion in June 2020.

How can I apply?

Applications will be reviewed on a first come basis starting in January 2018.

For further details about the program, feel free to contact us directly.