COVID-19 Update from the Program


The Expressive Arts Therapy (EXA) Program at CIIS is committed to continuing to provide a dynamic, experientially centered, arts-based Counseling Psychology curriculum through the changing environment presented by COVID-19. For Fall 2021, there will be a mix of in-person, synchronous virtual, and asynchronous (online) course delivery formats. Even as we prepare for the Fall semester, the rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 virus is dictating changes in course delivery formats in real-time.  As such, we are unable to announce any course delivery formats for Spring 22 except to say that the EXA Program and CIIS will continue to follow the most updated medical guidelines to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff.

To this end, CIIS is requiring all students slated to attend classes in person at the Mission Street building to be vaccinated. (Students who are seeking a waiver of this requirement must contact Additionally CIIS Operations has specific guidelines for the health and safety of all individuals meeting in person. More information about the specific guidelines and changes can be found at:

The EXA Program has additionally reviewed our program and made in-person course delivery where it best fits the course delivery needs. Furthermore, we are requiring students to bring their own program-provided arts materials to each in-person session, and are instructing students to refrain from sharing art materials with one another.

The EXA Program at CIIS was the first of the Master’s in Counseling Psychology programs at CIIS to incorporate a hybrid learning track. As such, our faculty have extensive hands-on experience in delivering adult online pedagogy using creative and innovative best practices. Additionally, the Core Faculty have spent the last year researching and implementing ways to enhance our teaching practices to best meet the needs of a wide variety of learners in a virtual environment, and providing training to Adjunct Faculty in using creative methods in virtual teaching.

Our virtual classes combine synchronous and asynchronous methods to deliver key content while being mindful of the mind-body-spirit-community connections necessary in maintaining human-centered learning. Additionally, we encourage relational connections among students, faculty, and staff through a continuous loop of feedback to ensure the achievement of learning objectives while centering the student learning experience. We appreciate the innovation emerging as a result of the faculty-student/learner partnerships we engage as we continuously expand our collective knowledge of the virtual learning space.

 If you have further questions, please contact Paula Junn, EXA Program Manager at

Application Deadline for Fall 2022

February 15, 2022 - 1st Priority deadline. Submit by February 15th, 2022 at 11:59pm PT. for guaranteed review. ​After this date, some programs may be full and only interview for waitlist spots or not be able to further review applications. 

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At California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), expressive arts therapy refers to a therapeutic approach with individuals, couples, families, groups, and community-based programs that integrates a wide range of arts modalities in the service of human growth, development, and socio-psychological wellness.

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 attend a week-long residential seminar at the beginning of each semester. The seminar is held in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The EXA concentration curriculum is tailored to meet State of CA, BBS licensure requirements for the MFT credential. 

Highlights of the Expressive Arts Therapy Program include:

  • Completion of CIIS' State of CA-approved 60 unit curriculum preparing students for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT).

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

  • Deep integration of multimodal arts approaches into teaching and learning

  • Students may also be able to follow the curriculum for LPCC with additional summer coursework

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

  • Teaching methodologies promoting the scholar-artist-practitioner model through integration of theory into "real world" reflective practice that incorporates social justice

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

Intensive Arts-Based Residential Seminars

Students, faculty, and advisers come together in our residential seminars to engage in extensive experiential intermodal arts-based learning, completing up to a third of the coursework for the semester in person with the remaining coursework delivered in combined asynchronous, and occasional virtual synchronous learning formats to support students' clinical skill development. 

Full-Time Hybrid Format

Students engage in three years of online asynchronous, and virtual synchronous learning with study during residential intensives at the start of each semester in the SF Bay Area. In the second year, students are encouraged to engage in action learning, integrating theory and expressive arts into practice through volunteering or incorporating basic learning principles into their current work. Students engage in a formal year-long practicum in the third year. Each student is assigned to an Academic Advisor.

Questions? Please feel free to reach out to our program's Admissions Counselor.
Skylar Hall
(415) 575-6155

CIIS State Authorization & Professional Licensure Policies & Procedures

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