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Art Therapy for Art Teachers

Harness the power of art with creative strategies to foster students’ self-esteem and emotional resilience.

Art is a powerful tool for communication, motivation, and healing. In this course, participants will gain an understanding of the field of art therapy and the role of the art therapist as compared to the role of the art educator. Participants will learn how to harness the power art yields with creative strategies designed for the art classroom. Such strategies will help the art educator foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, and promote creative insight in themselves and students.

*The art therapy field is led by professional art therapists dedicated to and trained in mental health and human services. This course will not lead to certification or licensure in art therapy.

See the full course syllabus or Graduate Catalog for more details.

Required Materials

No text required for this course. 

Additional Materials

  • Computer with basic audio and video output equipment
  • Internet access (broadband recommended)
  • Basic computing skills (see AOEU’s Technology Requirements)
  • Access to AOEU’s online learning platform, Brightspace, to view the course content, submit assignments, and engage in discussion (provided)
  • A Google Drive account (not provided by AOEU)
  • Word-processing platform (Microsoft Office, Pages, Google Docs)
Graduate Credits
All courses will now close at 11 PM Central time on the 27th of each month. Graduate Credits 3 Graduate Credits
Price Graduate Credit $1197.00
Mon 8 Sun
Feb 6 Weeks Apr 2
Upcoming Course Run Dates
Feb 6 Apr 2
AOEU Course Code
Morningside Course Code
EDUC500 AOE036

Course Objectives

  • Identify the underlying differences between art therapy and art education.
  • Evaluate how personal observations and the functions of behavior can inform responses in the art classroom.
  • Engage in proactive and positive conversations to support students.
  • Create art therapy-inspired activities for meaningful incorporation into the classroom.
  • Create resources and instructional materials that can be used in the art room.

Course Breakdown

Week 1
Therapeutic Art and Ethics
  1. Learn the primary differences and ethical concerns between art therapy and art education.
Week 2
The Healing Power of Art
  1. Examine the ways art has helped individuals and groups in powerful ways.
  2. Draw connections to your own students.
Week 3
Therapeutic Art Strategies
  1. Learn new strategies for working with small groups and one-on-one with students.
  2. Create a one-page protocol or visual to support collaborative work.
Week 4
Your Therapeutic Art Journey
  1. Create art and focus on how you feel based on your emotions, reflections, or unconscious during your process.
  2. Consider how you will help students develop their vulnerability.
Week 5
Reading and Responding to Behavior
  1. Learn how art therapists read and respond to behavior.
  2. Prepare a mini case study.
Week 6
Building Relationships With Students
  1. Learn how to build relationships with students and communicate boundaries.
Week 7
Professional Connections
  1. Reach out to another professional in or around your school community to collaborate and deepen your understanding of art therapy.
Week 8
Final Analysis and Reflection
  1. Reflect on your therapeutic art journey from the beginning to the end.

Your Therapeutic Art Journey

A sample assignment from Week 4 of the class Art Therapy for Art Teachers

1. Research

Explore the power of vulnerability in the classroom as you develop a list of questions worth asking your students.

2. Discussion

Practice vulnerability by discussing what feelings and emotions came up during the creative process.

3. Creation

Create a piece of artwork with special attention to the emotions and feelings that you experienced while you worked.
"We live in a world that has children who are damaged. Covid, broken homes, and busy parents have left teachers looking for ways to help. Teaching elements of art therapy can help. Understanding the impact art therapy has was my biggest takeaway. This class is essential for all art teachers to take!"
Chuck H., IL
"I really learned a lot in this class and am excited to bring a whole new level to teaching in implementing social-emotional learning to help my students' well-being. Many of my students struggle with hard home lives, and I think many things I learned in this class will really help me help them!"
Kim Z., OH
"There is so much about Art Therapy for Art Educators that helps us understand the healing power of art for our students but also ourselves."
Veronica G., MD

What Do Past Course Participants Think?

Hundreds of art teachers have taken the course Art Therapy for Art Teachers. Here’s what they actually think — without cherry-picking.
(12-month rolling average from all post-course survey respondents – Updated 1/28/2021)


Course content was relevant and current.


Instructor was knowledgeable and provided value-added contributions.


I achieved the goals I set at the beginning of the course. 

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You have been withdrawn due to violation of program policies and are unable to enroll.

Please contact the Registrar (registrar@theartofeducation.edu) with questions.