Art Therapy & the MA programme at the University of Derby

About Art Therapy

from The British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT)

“Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of expression and communication. Within this context, art is not used as diagnostic tool but as a medium to address emotional issues which may be confusing and distressing.

Art therapists work with children, young people, adults and the elderly. Clients may have a wide range of difficulties, disabilities or diagnoses. These include emotional, behavioural or mental health problems, learning or physical disabilities, life-limiting conditions, neurological conditions and physical illnesses.

Art therapy is provided in groups or individually, depending on clients’ needs. It is not a recreational activity or an art lesson, although the sessions can be enjoyable. Clients do not need to have any previous experience or expertise in art.”

– The British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT), 2020

About the training at Derby

by Kirsty McTaggart

Programme Leader & Senior Lecturer,
MA Art Therapy,
University of Derby

“The MA Art Therapy at the University of Derby reinforces the centrality of the image and the role of the imagination in the practice of art therapy. The two year training gives an experience of clinical art therapy practice under supervision, as well as experience of group work, studio practice and a critical understanding of contemporary theoretical issues and ideas.

The image above is the roof space of the Therapeutic Arts studio where the MA Art Therapy trainees have space to make underneath these supporting beams. This environment, with the help of our technical and lecturing team is usually integral to building safety in developing the new skills required both as a clinician and with the process of working intensively to understand or revision self and materials.

Masters training in Art Therapy is an incredibly challenging undertaking that engages the student in an intensive personal transformation. The structures you see in this image offer a sense not only of the dynamic holding space but of the framework, theoretical, psychological, internal and external that supports the trainee during the two years and in their development as art therapy professionals. The nuts and bolts of the girders sharing the process of making and joining, the architecture of soul and the building blocks of practice.”

About the Cohort & COVID-19

by Sage M. Stephanou

MA Art Therapy,
University of Derby

“This cohort has been presented with an overwhelming challenge of completing the final leg of your Masters’ during a Pandemic. Nonetheless they have brought themselves fully, with intelligence, empathy, and integrity. Although this was not the ending we as a team at The University of Derby had planned for the cohort, it has become its own curious gift of learning. Resourcing trainees with how they might move into the professional world, grounding them with first hand experience of working therapeutically and creatively online, and broadening their psychotherapeutic toolkit, to consider the many realities and ways of communicating beyond the physical therapeutic space. They have been a pleasure to teach and work with and wish them the very best for the next part of their journey as qualified Art Therapists”

“Although this was not the ending we as a team at The University of Derby had planned for the cohort, it has become its own curious gift of learning.”