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Expressive Therapies Concentration

  • Credits:

Concentration Description

The undergraduate concentration in Expressive Therapies presents an interdisciplinary approach to psychology, human growth and the therapeutic encounter with an emphasis on the creative process as an important component of clinical insight and psychological healing. Having developed out of the specialized fields of art therapy, music therapy, dance therapy and psychodrama, these different expres­sive art modalities are incorporated into a holistic, action-based approach to working with people who live with a broad spectrum of psychological and medical issues. Highly experiential, action-based classes explore theory and practical application.

A Key Element in Your Bachelor’s Degree.   The Expressive Therapies concentration is accepted in any Cambridge College bachelor’s degree, as open electives. It is often of interest to students doing a bachelor’s degree in human services or psychology. It also provides valuable understandings to students in other fields who work with people.

Program Outcomes

Students will gain:

  • Fundamental understanding of how the psychology of creativity and the expressive arts view human experience, and how they can contribute to healing and insight
  • Working knowledge of psychodrama, art-making, body movement and their applications in therapy

Careers and Further Study

Graduates can become practitioners working with individuals, families and communities in a wide range of treatment settings including hospitals, clinics, com­munity health centers, prisons, youth and geriatric institutions, as well as in private practice, often as part of treatment teams.


Formative Ideas in Psychology
PSY 120 3 credit(s)
The CLEP exam in Introductory Psychology is accepted as equivalent. The field of psychology is introduced and the historical development of psychology as an academic discipline and as a professional career are surveyed. The major fields of psychology are explored and applied to understanding human beings as individuals, and as members of groups, and communities. The major methods of psychological research are introduced, including data collection and analysis.
Theories of Personality
PSY 325 3 credit(s)
This course is an introduction to the study of personality and examines a broad range of theoretical explanations for understanding personality development. Students will learn both historical and contemporary approaches to understanding personality including: psychoanalytic, humanistic-existential, social-cognitive, behavioral, biological and feminist perspectives and will also examine the impact of culture on personality development. The course will examine similarities and differences between various theories through case studies and students will be encouraged to explore the relevance of the material to their professional and personal understanding.
Psychological and Therapeutic Dimensions of the Arts
PSY 376 3 credit(s)
This course explores the psychological dimensions of the arts, creativity, and art-making and how the expressive arts are included in contemporary psychological thinking and therapeutic encounters. Using current and cross-cultural examples, we explore how music, dance, theater, painting, poetry, and theater deal with fundamental aspects of human experience and how this awareness informs our psychological understanding of human growth and development and the inner life. We consider how current psychological practice incorporates the arts in therapy and how creative art therapists work. Implications of this study are incorporated into the student’s professional work.
Psychodrama and Drama Therapy
PSY 403 3 credit(s)
Prerequisite: at least nine prior psychology credits. This course will provide a theoretical and skills-based overview of the uses of psychodrama and drama therapy and how they are therapeutically applied with a range of populations and psychological issues. We will examine the basic concepts and philosophy originating with J.L. Moreno, the founder of psychodrama, as well as other drama therapy pioneers to better understand the process and complexities of action-based psychotherapeutic modalities. In addition, psychodrama and drama therapeutic perspectives will be explored within the framework of individual, group, family, creative arts therapy and community healing applications. This is a highly experiential, action-based class which combines theoretical and practical considerations of what psychodrama offers within the therapeutic encounter.
Principles and Practices of Art Therapy
PSY 407 3 credit(s)
This course addresses the foundations of art therapy including its history, major theoretical perspectives, pioneers in the field, and clinical application. The significance of the therapeutic alliance is covered, as well as skills to enhance the therapeutic relationship. The clinical application (individual and group) of art therapy to children, adolescents, adults, and families is examined. The diagnostic application of art therapy is also explored.
Movement and Healing
PSY 408 3 credit(s)
Drawing from recent theoretical and clinical developments in body-oriented psychotherapy and dance/movement therapy, this course explores the psychological, creative and spiritual dimensions of the body and how it is central to contemporary developments in psychological thinking and approaches to healing. We explore how movement and the body are connected with fundamental aspects of psychological awareness and how this impacts upon our emotional, social, creative and spiritual lives. We examine how current body-oriented approaches to psychology inform our understanding of growth and development, education, psychological diagnosis and treatment in areas such as trauma, body-image, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and developmental delays.