Overview | About the Program | Admission Requirements | Curriculum | Art Therapy Blog

About the Program
Program Schedule
Field Placement
Faculty Advisement
Program Compliance
Academic Proficiency
Degree Completion Requirements
Program Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

About the Program

Our unique program, initiated in 1999, provides an interdisciplinary approach to learning contemporary marriage and family therapy. Students learn systemic marriage and family therapy models, art therapy practices, and interpersonal neurobiology approaches geared toward the master’s level clinician.

Our art therapy classes are small and allow for individualized teaching, yet art therapy students belong to a larger cohort of MFT students as well, which provides opportunities for extensive networking and the professional support systems critical to success in the field. Students also benefit from exposure to many instructors allowing them to glimpse diverse practice styles and areas of specialization.  

Program Schedule

Applications for the fall or spring entry programs are accepted on a rolling basis. The program can be completed in two years/five semesters or in three years/seven semesters. Both fall and spring entries have at least one required summer semester. Participation in other summer semesters is optional and can assist students in meeting research and clinical hours requirements. Prospective students are encouraged to consult with their admissions advisor regarding the details of the program options and multi-program choices.

Master of Arts in Psychology students who wish to add Art Therapy coursework after their first semester need to schedule an appointment with their academic advisor. A personal interview and an academic planning meeting with the Art Therapy Department Chair are required for all students prior to official acceptance into the program.

Students interested in the concentration option must apply to be accepted. Concentration students are not eligible to apply for Art Therapy Registration (ATR). Please contact an admissions advisor for more information regarding the concentration program.

Clinical Placement Services

The practicum experience allows students to provide counseling services to clients under the supervision of licensed professionals. Phillips-approved training sites include counseling centers, schools, mental health agencies and hospitals throughout Southern California, in addition to our own Counseling Center.

Students seeking both the California license as an MFT and the Art Therapy Registration (ATR) must complete a total of 700 hours of Practicum, of which 350 hours are direct client contact, prior to graduation. Art therapy students are required to be enrolled in a Practicum for a minimum of three semesters. Students work with the Clinical Placement Chair in the Art Therapy Department to initiate and complete this process in a timely manner.

Please refer to the “Clinical Placement Handbook” for further information regarding required hours of clinical experience.

Students may begin Practicum experience after they have completed 13 units of coursework, which must include PSY 513A and PSY 502A. In addition, students must have completed or be concurrently enrolled in PSY 561 and PSY 562 and must have been designated by Phillips faculty as trainees who are ready to begin clinical work.

Students enrolled in PSY 553A/B and PSY 554A/B must be in a clinical placement.

While Phillips makes every effort to inform students about and prepare them for each step of the state licensing process, it is each student’s responsibility to ensure that they meet all qualifications for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist. Additionally, students in the MFT/AT program are responsible to ensure that they meet all the qualifications for national registration as outlined by the Art Therapy Credential Board (ATCB).  

Faculty Advisement

Students will be assigned an academic advisor by the Art Therapy Department at the beginning of first semester of enrollment. Students are required to meet with their advisors early in the first semester and twice each semester until degree completion. The faculty values and welcomes open communication with students. Students are encouraged to make appointments with other members of the core and adjunct faculty to answer questions and provide consultation. New students will meet with their faculty advisors to develop a degree completion plan. Academic plans must comply with required course sequences and with clinical placement requirements. Students will also meet with faculty advisors to plan any modifications to their schedule or academic plan.  

Program Compliance

The Master of Arts in Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy/Art Therapy program meets educational requirements for licensure by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS). The program is approved by the American Art Therapy Association (AATA). Information regarding these requirements and educational standards are available through the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) website, www.bbs.ca.gov, and the AATA website at www.arttherapy.org. Information regarding Art Therapy Registration (ATR) requirements is available through the Art Therapy Credentialing Board (ATCB) website at www.atcb.org. Program curriculum and experience hours are subject to change without prior notice according to BBS and AATA/ATCB requirements. Students who add the Career and Lifestyle Development Counseling course and a 3 unit Addictions course may be eligible for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), which is valuable for practice out of state (www.nbcc.org). In addition, it is recommended that students check on LPC eligibility based on the state in which they are planning to practice.  

Academic Proficiency

Any student receiving a grade of C- or below in a course must retake the course, demonstrating sufficient mastery of the course content. Retaking a course may delay program completion and graduation. The student must meet with their academic advisor to discuss the impact of repeating a course on program completion. The original grade received in the course, as well as the grade received upon retaking the course, are both averaged into the student’s cumulative grade point average.  

Degree Completion Requirements

The degree is posted three times yearly; on the last day of May, August, and December. All of the following requirements must be met prior to degree posting:
  • Completion of all 66 units of required courses with an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Completion of 700 hours of supervised clinical placement concurrent with practicum registration
  • Individual supervision covering direct client contact in the ratio of 1 supervision hour to 10 client contact hours
  • Verification of required hours in personal or family psychotherapy*
  • Intent to Graduate Form on file with the Registrar's Office one semester prior to the graduation date when a student expects to meet all graduation requirements
  • Payment in full of financial obligations to Phillips Graduate University and the Counseling Center
  • Return of all Library materials
  • Provision to the library of a clean copy of the Professional Research Paper ready for binding
  • Completion of an exit interview with the Financial Aid Office (financial aid recipients only)
  • Students must complete and submit all required verification documentation to the Art Therapy Department by the last week of classes. Later verification may cause a delay in the student’s graduation date. Students may also need to complete other requirements as specified by AATA and ATCB at time of graduation.
*Psychotherapy Requirement: In order to become an effective therapist, an individual must first be willing to work on their own issues in a therapeutic relationship. This experience is in keeping with the Phillips Graduate University philosophy of theory, experience and application as it represents integrated learning. Therefore, all students in the MFT/AT program are required to engage in a minimum of 24 hours of psychotherapy during their tenure in the program. Therapy may be individual, couple, family, or group sessions. The therapist must be licensed as a psychologist, LMFT or LCSW. Referrals to therapists who are also art therapists are available through the department’s clinical placement chair. The cost of therapy is to be met by the student. Students are not required to discuss personal information from the therapeutic context as part of coursework.

Program Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

Program Goal 1: Understanding Theories and Applying Research

Student Learning Outcomes:
1.1 Explain theories foundational to clinical practice.
1.2 Integrate marriage and family therapy theories with art therapy approaches and interpersonal neurobiology knowledge.
1.3 Utilize research to guide theoretical orientation, treatment planning and develop a personal area of inquiry for a diverse population

Program Goal 2: Clinical Competency

Student Leaning Outcomes:
2.1 Engage in assessment practices.
2.2 Manage legal and ethical issues.
2.3 Provide treatment based on marriage and family therapy theories, art therapy approaches, and interpersonal neurobiology constructs for a diverse population in a variety of settings.

Program Goal 3: Communication

Student Learning Outcomes:
3.1 Communicate effectively in written, oral and imagery formats.

Program Goal 4: Develop a Professional Identity

Student Learning Outcomes:
4.1 Evaluate impact of self on relationships.
4.2 Engage in personal art making. 
4.3 Understand the importance of involvement in the profession, continuing development, and advocacy.

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