One Curriculum, Two Program Options

The Expressive Arts Therapy (EXA) concentration in counseling psychology prepares students for practicing the art and science of expressive arts therapy through a curriculum rooted in contemporary, creative, competency-based adult learning approaches.

Students may apply for one of two program options, residential or low-residence.  Both options have a shared curriculum that is tailored to meet State of CA licensure requirements for the MFT or LPCC.
The two programs intersect during the week-long residential seminars at the commencement of each semester, held at CIIS in the heart of San Francisco.

Highlights of the Expressive Arts Therapy Program include:

  • Completion of CIIS's State of CA-approved 60 unit curriculum preparing students for licensure as either a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)

  • Preparation for Registered Expressive Arts Therapist credential (REAT) via the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association

  • Support for International Students through CIIS's International Student Adviser

  • Deep integration of multimodal arts approaches into teaching and learning

  • Immersive, weeklong arts-based residential seminars begin each semester where students complete up to one-third of semester coursework 

  • Action learning methodologies promoting the scholar-artist-practitioner model through integration of theory into "real world" reflective practice

  • Faculty skilled in arts-based face-to-face and online approaches to teaching and learning


Intensive Arts-Based Residential Seminars for Both Program Options

During the residential seminars students, faculty and advisers from both options come together to engage in extensive experiential intermodal arts-based learning, completing up to a third of the in-class coursework for the semester.

At the end of the week, each student creates an individual learning agreement that articulates specific learning goals and plans for how they will integrate theory and practice into their work throughout the semester.

Full-Time Residential Option

Students engage in three years of face-to-face study at CIIS's campus in San Francisco. In the second year, students officially engage in action learning, integrating theory and expressive arts into practice within an approved community setting, in either a voluntary or paid capacity. Students engage in a formal yearlong practicum in the third year. Each student is assigned to an Academic Adviser.

Low-Residence Option

Students engage in three years of study via participation in the weeklong residential seminars followed by a combination of online classes, webinars and video conferences back in their home communities. In the second year, students officially engage in action learning, integrating theory and expressive arts into practice within an approved community setting, in either a voluntary or paid capacity. Students engage in a formal yearlong practicum in the third year. In addition to an Academic Adviser, each student is assigned an EXA Mentor-Coach with whom they meet at least twice during each semester.

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