Program Description

The art therapy training program is composed of theoretical, clinical placement, experiential and clinical components based on the application of art to therapy. The program emphasizes four components in which art therapy theory and practice reflect each other. 

  1. Theoretical course work: course work focuses on art therapy theory and research, psychopathology, theories of personality, clinical issues, ethics, therapeutic skills and boundaries, psycho-dynamic, phenomenological and humanistic theories.

  2. Clinical course work, clinical placement work, and supervision: extensive supervised clinical practice enables the student to integrate theory and clinical skills throughout the program. Students are required to complete 700 hours of practicum.

  3. Experiential art therapy studio work: the training group provides an opportunity to practice and experience the art therapy process. Studio practice provides the opportunity for continuing artistic development and the practice of clinical skills through dyad and triad work.

  4. Research and thesis: the research course focuses on the study of qualitative research methods and the development of case studies. The thesis project demonstrates the culmination of all of the student’s theoretical, clinical and therapeutic skills.


The total amount of clinical placement time comes to approximately 700 hours. The requirements from the Canadian Art Therapy Association educational guidelines are that students have a minimum of 350 hours of direct client contact. Some students may be required to do the recommended 400 hours of direct client contact. 400 hours qualifies a student for an honours clinical placement internship.

Breakdown of the 700 hours:

  • 350 hours of direct client services minimum requirement.

    • [400 hours qualifies the student for honours clinical placement/internship]

  • 350 hours of record keeping, consultation, organization of artwork and studio

  • 80 hours of group supervision or 50 hours of individual supervision

Full-time students are expected to do 12 hours of clinical placements per week throughout the two years of course work. Clinical placements include 4 to 6 hours of direct client contact, set up, clean up, record keeping of the art and client notes. A maximum of 10 hours per week of direct client contact is set.  Exceptions to this rule require special permission from the director.


The requirements from the Canadian Art Therapy Association educational guidelines are that students have a minimum of 10 hours of direct client contact to 1 hour of supervision. This is the minimum requirement that we use to calculate the hours of supervision. The Kutenai Art Therapy Institute offers more hours due to using a group supervision model. 

Program Completion & Graduation  

Students are expected to complete the course work in two years. Students have the option of taking a third year to complete clinical placement requirements. Students have 5 years from the start of the program to complete the thesis requirement.

Students are awarded a diploma upon successful completion of all program requirements, including the major project / thesis.

Graduates are qualified to be practicing professional art therapists. All students are encouraged to become members of both the Canadian Art Therapy Association and the provincial art therapy association in the area they choose to work.