WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., July 20, 2021 — West Liberty University has added another graduate program to its academic offerings, the Master in Art Therapy and Counseling degree.
“Art therapy is a mental health profession that uses art media and the creative process to explore feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem,” explained Dr. Susan Ridley, who is the director of both the undergraduate and graduate degrees in art therapy at WLU.
“The master’s degree in Art Therapy and Counseling is an exciting opportunity for students interested in combining the love of art and creativity with helping people of all ages with various abilities and disabilities. Art therapists and counselors work with diverse populations in a variety of settings such as schools, hospitals, behavioral health, and community services.”
And it’s not too late to enroll for fall 2021, according to Ridley.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is projected to grow 25% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth is expected as people continue to seek addiction and mental health counseling services.
To be a professional in the field of Art Therapy and Counseling though, students need a master’s degree. What makes this degree especially valuable is its accessibility — it can be completed entirely online. Those already employed in the field of mental or behavioral health can complete the degree while working.
The Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling is a 60-credit hour degree program that consists of 51 credit hours of coursework, three credit hours of supervised practicum, and six credit hours of supervised professional internship.
Each Fall students participate in a three to five-day residency on campus however, the residency can be completed in a virtual manner if necessary. All spring and summer classes will be completed 100% online through synchronous Zoom evening classes.
This low residency program format allows working professionals to further their education and professional development.
This program provides the education needed to pursue professional certifications such as art therapist registered (ATR) and art therapist board certified (ATR-BC) with the American Art Therapy Association (AATA), certification as a Registered Expressive Arts Therapist (REAT) with the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA), and State licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in West Virginia and other states. Postgraduate supervision hours and successfully passing exams are required for professional certification and licensure.
West Liberty University is the only public university in the state of West Virginia offering both an undergraduate degree in Creative Arts Therapy and a graduate degree in Art Therapy and Counseling.
For more information about these programs, contact Dr. Ridley via email at [email protected] or at her office phone at 304-336-8251.