Nov 28, 2023  
Loyola Marymount University Bulletin 2023-2024 
Loyola Marymount University Bulletin 2023-2024

Marital and Family Therapy with Specialized Training in Art Therapy, M.A.

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The Department of Marital and Family Therapy will educate students to integrate visual arts as a way of knowing with psychotherapeutic skills and prepare students to become practicing licensed Marital and Family Therapists in the State of California and registered Art Therapists. This mission, in reflection of the University’s mission, fosters learning as a lifelong process in which students are educated as whole persons who would provide service and creating scholarship with a similar holistic frame, with commitment to social justice and cultural humility.

*The program has not made a determination as to whether it meets other states’ requirements for licensure; interested applicants/students are encouraged to research the identified path for transferring the license outside of CA based on their specific interests and needs.


  1. To train students to become licensed Marriage and Family Therapists in the State of California, to be nationally registered with the ATCB as Art Therapists, and to be prepared to work as entry level mental health clinicians.
  2. To educate students to competently demonstrate an understanding of comprehensive marital and family and art therapy theories and techniques with a wide range of treatment populations, while understanding systems theory and the interactional dynamics of the therapeutic relationship.
  3. To foster culturally humble students who can work with a wide range of diverse populations, who serve as advocates of equity and social justice, and who value self-reflection as a lifelong means of understanding self and others.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the Department of Marital and Family Therapy should know:

  • A broad theoretical basis for the practice of art psychotherapy
  • The complex societal culture in which they are engaging
  • The legal and professional responsibilities of the licensed practicing psychotherapist.

Graduates of the Department of Marital and Family Therapy should be able to:

  • Advance to professional engagement in the mental health community
  • Describe individual and family dynamics according to the theory and concepts of the discipline of marriage and family therapy
  • Delineate short-term and long-term psychotherapeutic goals and develop treatment plans
  • Synthesize the art therapy modality with traditional theoretical approaches and use a variety of techniques and interventions to achieve systemic change
  • Present case material in verbal and written form at a professional level
  • Work with others form varied and diverse perspectives
  • Engage in critical scholarly discourse in the field of art psychotherapy.

Graduates of the Department of Marital and Family Therapy are encouraged to value:

  • An increasing commitment to change as part of the psychotherapeutic and artistic process
  • The ongoing development of multicultural competencies
  • Engagement with the community in the service of social justice.

In addition to completing the above requirements set to meet the Board of Behavioral Science expectations for Marital and Family Therapy graduate training, graduates of this program also complete the requirements for the Art Therapy Specialization, preparing them as competent entry level Art Therapists in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains. Specifically, the art therapy specialization offers students the following knowledge and skills:

  1. Understand the historical development of Art Therapy as a profession, as well as understand Art Therapy theories and techniques as a foundation for contemporary Art Therapy professional practice.
  2. Distinguish among the therapeutic benefits of a variety of art processes and media strategies and interventions, and their applicability to the treatment process for individuals, groups, and families.
  3. Recognize that Art Therapy, from a multicultural perspective, takes into consideration the specific values, beliefs, and actions influenced by a client’s race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, religion, socioeconomic status, political views, sexual orientation, geographic region, physical capacity or disability, and historical or current experiences within the dominant culture.
  4. Select culturally and developmentally appropriate assessment and evaluation methods and administer and interpret results to identify challenges, strengths, resilience, and resources for Art Therapy treatment planning.
  5. Develop culturally appropriate, collaborative, and productive therapeutic relationships with clients.
  6. Know federal and state laws and professional ethics as the apply to the practice of Art Therapy.
  7. Recognize and respond appropriately to ethical and legal dilemmas using ethical decision making models, supervision, and professional and legal consultation when necessary.
  8. Recognize clients’ use of imagery, creativity, symbolism, and metaphor as a valuable means for communicating challenges and strengths and support clients’ use of art-making for promoting growth and well-being.
  9. Recognize the legal, ethical, and cultural considerations necessary when conducting Art Therapy research.
  10. Apply principles of human development, artistic and creative development, human sexuality, gender identity development, family life cycle, and psychopathology, to the assessment and treatment of clients.
  11. Understand professional role and responsibility to engage in advocacy endeavors as they relate to involvement in professional organizations and advancement of the profession.
  12. Continuously deepen self-understanding through personal growth experiences, reflective practice, and personal art-making to strengthen a personal connection to the creative process, assist in self awareness, promote well-being, and guide professional practice.
  13. Pursue professional development through supervision, accessing current Art Therapy literature, research, best practices, and continuing educational activities to inform clinical practice.
  14. Recognize the impact of oppression, prejudice, discrimination, and privilege on access to mental health care, and develop responsive practices that include collaboration, empowerment, advocacy, and social justice action.
  15. Understand the basic diagnostic process and the major categories and criteria of mental disorders, corresponding treatments, and commonly prescribed psychopharmacological medications.

Program Requirements

The Graduate Department of Marital and Family Therapy offers a graduate program leading to a Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy. Thus, in addition to State of California required curriculum in traditional marital and family therapy coursework, the program integrates a comprehensive art therapy curriculum. The Program trains clinicians to work in facilities providing psychological therapeutic services such as: public mental health, community mental health centers, non-profit agencies, psychiatric hospitals, medical centers, therapeutic and public schools, residential treatment facilities, and substance abuse treatment facilities.

The Department provides two- and three-year programs of rigorous academic work combined with two clinical internships of approximately 840 hours with 350 hours of direct client contact.

Students enrolled in the full-time Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy with Specialization in Art Therapy program will complete the degree requirements in two years. A three-year program is also available. Courses are offered Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays during the day on campus, with internship assignments varying in times and locations.

Students are required to maintain a “B” (3.0) grade point average throughout their coursework and maintain a B or higher grade in each of their practicum courses. Students must also maintain a B or higher in each of their prerequisite courses to advance to practicum. 

The Department takes seriously its role in the training of therapists. The personality as well as the intellectual capability of each student is carefully evaluated. In light of this, a student may be disqualified from the program for factors other than grades. Students are also encouraged to seek personal psychotherapy during the first two semesters in the program.

Faculty members are practicing MFT/art therapy clinicians or scholars with a couple of field experts (teaching psycho-pharmacology). The courses are directly related to professor’s work experience and area of expertise.

Course Work Sequence

Total: 16 semester hours

Total: 15 semester hours

Summer Session I

Total: 3 semester hours

Total: 13 semester hours

Total: 13 semester hours

Total: 60 semester hours

* Clinical art therapy specialized courses

**Summer International Program

The Graduate Department of Marital and Family Therapy with Specialized Training in Art Therapy has established an international virtual and study abroad program. While obtaining a master’s degree at LMU, students are encouraged to attend the summer program as part of fulfillment of the degree requirements (non-mandatory courses), broadening their appreciation for issues of culture. Classes available are MFTH 620 , MFTH 622 , and MFTH 629 . These summer units can be counted toward partial completion of Fall classes MFTH 621  and MFTH 630 .

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