Letter from Academic Dean

The Kutenai Art Therapy Institute is based on the belief that the creative process is both healing and life enhancing. We offer a comprehensive 2-year postgraduate program that integrates art therapy theory, experiential studio work, clinical practice and research. We maintain a focus on training culturally sensitive and responsive art therapists.  Our method of training emphasizes deep personal exploration through the process of art therapy and dream work. 

The Institute takes an eclectic approach to theory including the phenomenological hermeneutic method, psychodynamic theory, object relations, eco-psychology, feminism and humanistic client centered counseling. We have also expanded into the expressive arts so that we now include elements of phototherapy, poetry therapy, as well as the more traditional visual arts, sculpture and construction. As a small institute we are able to be creative and flexible in adapting to meet the training needs of our students.

We have a variety of practicum placements in Nelson and the surrounding area. We provide the opportunity to work both independently as well as closely with a number of art therapists in different work environments. This gives a wide range of experience for the developing art therapist. Students have the unique opportunity of experiencing first hand issues concerning therapeutic boundaries and ethical practice within a small town and rural area.

We are very proud of our graduates who are working in a wide range of different settings. These include schools, community services, transition houses, resources for Seniors, First Nations agencies, Mental Health Services and the Ministry for Child and Family Development. Our graduates are working with children, youth, adults and the elderly with a wide range of issues: trauma, illness, sexual abuse, witnessing violence, addictions, mental health, palliative care and dementia, to name a few. Several graduates have initiated international art therapy projects for children in Peru, Cuba and Mexico.

The Kutenai Art Therapy Institute offers an excellent and somewhat unusual program providing as it does a wide ranging eclectic theoretical foundation and an equally wide-ranging experience of different techniques and client groups. I thoroughly enjoy teaching and deeply believe in the inherent value of the creative process. I am also deeply committed to art therapy research and students have commented with surprise that they find my enthusiasm contagious. I believe that one of the most exciting directions for the future of therapeutics lies in the integration of clinical skills with creativity, the expressive arts and the environment. If you are planning to enter this new and exciting field and are looking for a community-based school to pursue an education in art therapy, come and see what we have to offer.


Monica Carpendale, BFA, DVATI, BCATR, RCAT
Founder & Academic Dean