Master of Arts in Arts Therapy (Clinical) Course Outline
Creative expression can have a significant impact on the healing process for all people including those experiencing trauma, addictions, and psychological or emotional issues. Arts Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that utilises creative modalities including visual arts-making, drama, dance/movement, creative writing, and nature/connected arts within a therapeutic relationship to improved and inform physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Arts Therapy differs from traditional art-making or performance in that the emphasis expands to include attention to the processes of creating and meaning-making. The arts therapist develops a therapeutic relationship with their client/s with clear boundaries, treatment plans, and outcomes to assist them in this healing process. Arts therapists can work effectively with individuals and groups.
The Whitecliffe Arts Therapy Approach
The Whitecliffe programme offers a spectrum of approaches to Arts Therapy, stretching between two poles:
- 'The Arts as Therapy', follows the philosophy that participation in creative activities is universally beneficial, and that engagement with any of the arts at any level of proficiency can have a healing effect.
- 'The Arts in Therapy', or arts psychotherapy, which involves using the arts within the psychotherapeutic relationship as a powerful mode of expression and agent of change.
Students will gain an understanding of how an arts therapist can work along this spectrum, taking into account the population they are working with as well as a range of other factors.
It is a highly innovative programme offering a variety of creative arts modalities. Applicants are expected to be comfortable or familiar with at least one of these when entering the programme, and to achieve a basic grounding in the other creative modalities during the programme. The programme supports students to develop culturally sensitive practices responsive to the Māori worldview as well as other cultures.
The Master of Arts in Arts Therapy (Clinical) (MAAT) is a two-year, full-time programme that is currently offered in Auckland only. The seminar delivery pattern is six intensive seminars during the first year and four during the second year of study.
Three Inter-related Elements of the MAAT Programme
Intensive weekend and 4-5 day seminars are held between four and six times annually to enable students to:
- Engage in theoretical and experiential learning with faculty, peers, and local and international practitioners.
- Participate in group processes and self-reflexive practices.
- Build clinical, research, and presentation skills.
In the final year of study, students complete an independent research project supported by a research supervisor.
Students must complete 750 hours of supervised clinical practice to successfully complete the MAAT and be eligible for professional registration with the regional professional body, Australian, New Zealand, and Asian Creative Arts Therapy Association (ANZACATA). This is achieved during the final 18-month period of study via placements that involve work with real-world clients and populations. Students are encouraged to seek out a variety of placement opportunities, assisted by faculty. External Arts Therapy supervision is funded by Whitecliffe.
Master of Arts in Arts Therapy (Clinical)
- Three years full-time (including embedded PGDipAT), blended delivery (low-residency)
- Arts Psychotherapy
- Research and Arts Therapy
- Professional Practice (Training and Supervision)
- Research Preparation and Research Project
The Postgraduate Diploma of Arts Therapy and Master of Arts in Arts Therapy (clinical) are low-residency courses of study to provide flexibility for students in the workplace and/or travelling to study.
The Postgraduate Diploma is offered in two locations, Auckland and Christchurch, and is scheduled for ten weekends - one per month February to November - in each location. The Postgraduate Diploma offers an introduction to the foundation philosophy, skills and theories relating to the creative arts therapies in readiness for taking skills into the workplace for those working in a related field as a stand-alone qualification, or can provide the pre-requisite for application for progression onto the Masters qualification.
Progressions requirements include assessment of a student’s suitability for clinical practice and academic ability to undertake level 9 research.
The Masters programme is currently offered in Auckland only. The seminar delivery pattern is four intensive seminars per year for two years.
Key Information for Students
Amanda LeveyHead of School - Creative Arts Therapies
Amanda gained her psychology degree from the University of Melbourne, and did extensive training in the USA in the Halprin Method.Continue reading
After gaining a Bachelor of Counselling at the end of 2013, Kathrin worked in two NGO with people of all ages who had an abuse history.Continue reading
Wendy is a practicing artist and registered clinical arts therapist who works alongside Whitecliffe's arts therapy students.Continue reading
Pip RanbyPlacement Coordinator / Lecturer
Pip is the general co-ordinator for the first year of the Master of Arts in Arts Therapy programme, and leads the co-ordination and teaching of the clinical skills training.Continue reading
Bettina works as a lecturer in the MAAT and course co-ordinator for the PgDip in Christchurch for Whitecliffe College.Continue reading
Dr Deborah GreenProgramme Director, Arts Therapy
Deborah began her career in applied theatre and adult education and worked for 15 years within the South African University and Health sectors as theatre director.Continue reading
Where could this programme take you?
Arts therapists may work in mental health environments, education facilities, community settings and private practice. Many of our graduates have been employed by their clinical placements after completion of the course such as special schools, prison rehabilitation, drug and alcohol services, school counselling, trauma services, disability services, community mental health settings. Graduates of the Whitecliffe Arts Therapy programme are instrumental in extending the field’s reach into new applications. Graduates of MAAT (clinical) are eligible to become professional members of the Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapy Association. Professional members with suitable background and experience are able to go into private practice and apply for registration to be a counsellor for ACC, provide counselling through the WINZ Disability Allowance Scheme and register for programmes such as the “I Am Hope” free counselling scheme for youth.
Jobs related to this programme
Mental Health Facilities
Drug and Alcohol Services
Community Mental Health Settings
Talk to our team
If you would like to ask us a question or request more information, please detail your enquiry using the form below. If you would like you can contact us directly on 0800 800 300, email us or use the contact us form.