Admission to the Program

Because we believe that individuals can tap into an innate healing power, our curriculum explores interconnections between spirituality and creativity. One of four programs in the world that concentrate in this specialty, ours brings together the therapeutic arts-visual, musical, dramatic.

CIIS' intensive training combines coursework with individual and group expressive arts psychotherapy, plus a yearlong clinical practicum. Students come from all over the world to enroll in our three-year program. They work in a variety of psychotherapeutic contexts, and in a wide range of business and professional settings.

Our coursework meets the academic requirements for California's Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) license and is designed to meet the educational requirements to become a Registered Expressive Arts Therapist (REAT) with the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA).

Admissions Application Requirements

Application for Admission

Non-refundable $65 Application Fee

Degree Requirement: An undergraduate degree (BA, BS, or the equivalent) from an accredited college or university.

Transcripts: Official transcripts from all accredited academic institutions attended within the United States. Transcripts must arrive in their official, sealed envelopes.

Autobiographical Statement: Please write a brief statement in response to the following questions in the order that they appear:

  • Why are you interested in becoming an expressive arts therapist? What strengths and what limitations do you bring to pursuing this career direction?
  • What work experiences have you had that might be useful in preparing you to study to be an EXA therapist?
  • What personal experiences have you had that might be useful in counseling and psychotherapy?
  • The prevalence of experiential exercises in our courses tends to stir up life issues. What internal and external strengths and resources do you draw from to help you cope in your daily life? What social supports does this include?
  • Our graduates are expected to be able to work with people from very diverse social, cultural, sexual/affectional preference, gender and socioeconomic backgrounds. What is your experience of relating across dimensions of difference?
  • Students in the EXA program attend classes in a cohort. Since much of the class work is experiential, much of your personal process will be also visible to others. Have you ever been in such a group? If so, what was it like for you? If not, what do you imagine it would be like?
  • Share with us what integration of mind, body and spirit means to you.

An Expressive Arts Statement: a statement (two pages, typed, double-spaced) on your background in the arts (personal and/or formal), discussing any form of creative expression that has been important for you.

Two Letters of Recommendation: letters of recommendation will be accepted from academic advisors, professors, professional supervisors, or someone able to attest to your ability to undertake the work required for your program. Recommenders should use standard business format and include full contact information- name, email, phone number, and mailing address.

Academic Writing Sample: a writing sample of eight to ten pages (typed, double-spaced) that demonstrates your capacity to think critically and reflectively and demonstrates graduate level writing abilities. A sample that uses outside sources must include proper citations. You may submit copies of previous work, such as a recent academic paper, article, or report that reflects scholarly abilities.

An Up-To-Date C.V. detailing your educational and professional experience

Academic Prerequisites: Two undergraduate psychology courses from an accredited college or university are recommended but not required. Completion of coursework in one of the following areas is strongly recommended: human development, psychopathology, theories of personality, and/or introduction to psychology.

For International students there are additional requirements. Please see the International Students page for additional information.

Photo Credit: EXA Banner Photos by LissaIvy Tiegel

Admission Counselor: Ebrahim Nasher

For any additional admission questions, please contact our admission counselor:

Ebrahim Nasher
(415) 575-6291

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