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 the intersecting COVID-19 and racism-related pandemics.  For Fall 2020, all classes will be virtualized. There will be no on-campus meetings. The situation for Spring is undecided. The EXA Program and CIIS are following current medical guidelines to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff. 

The EXA Program 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 Summer 2020 researching 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 are looking forward to the innovation that comes as a result of the faculty-student/learner partnership as we expand our collective knowledge of the virtual learning space.   If you have further questions, please contact Paula Junn, EXA Program Manager at

Fall 2020 cycle is closed. Spring 2021 cycle is opening 09/15/2020.

Spring 2021 Application - click here: 

Application Deadline Information for Spring 2021:

October 15, 2020 – 1st Priority deadline. Submit by October 15th, 2020 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.

The Spring 2021 applications will open on September 15th, 2020 and October 15th, 2020 is the priority deadline.

Read more about our application requirements or join us at an upcoming event

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 healing.

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.

The EXA concentration curriculum is tailored to meet State of CA licensure requirements for the MFT. Students attend a week-long residential seminar at the beginning of each semester. The seminar is held at CIIS' campus in the heart of San Francisco.

Highlights of the Expressive Arts Therapy Program include:

  • Completion of CIIS' State of CA-approved 60 unit curriculum preparing students for licensure as either a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) or 67-unit 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' International Student Advisor

  • Deep integration of multimodal arts approaches into teaching and learning

  • Students may 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

  • Faculty skilled in arts-based face-to-face 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 in-class coursework for the semester.

Full-Time Residential Format

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 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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