Singapore University of Social Sciences

Art Making in Expressive Arts Therapy

Art Making in Expressive Arts Therapy (XAT509)


In XAT509 Art Making in Expressive Arts Therapy, students will explore the role of concrete and visual modalities in expressive arts therapies, and how creating art makes the creative journey visible. They will be introduced to the theories of art making from developmental, psychological and neurobiological perspectives, and explore their own assumptions and experiences of art making. Through various art exercises they will reflect and learn how art making can be a symbolic language, and how to work with this within different cultural contexts and with different client groups. They will also explore the ethical issues around viewing and exhibiting client’s art works, and how this can be contraindicated when working with vulnerable clients. They will also explore different art materials, and how to set up a specialist creative art space for their clients.

Level: 5
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: EVERY JAN


  • Introduction to art therapy theory and practice
  • Symbolism and sublimation
  • Creative process in art making
  • Personal art making for learning and professional development
  • Materials, media and methods
  • Art development from child to adult
  • Clinical approaches to art as therapy
  • Clinical applications with a range of client groups
  • Techniques and skills in aid of supporting the space and the client
  • Cultural and social awareness around the use of art as therapy
  • Ethical issues in art as therapy
  • Planning and designing an expressive arts workshop for groupwork

Learning Outcome

  • Examine specific applications of visual arts in therapy, delving into diverse modalities and contexts for nuanced understanding.
  • Create secure and nurturing environments conducive to fostering therapeutic art experiences, ensuring a setting that promotes emotional expression, self-discovery, and the overall well-being of participants.
  • Discuss ethical considerations in the context of art therapy, addressing the integration of ethical principles into practice and their impact on therapeutic relationships and client.
  • Analyse the client's art-making process in practical application, for facilitating self-expression and therapeutic outcomes.
  • Select art activities and media that align with the therapeutic goals and individual needs in the context of art therapy.
  • Recommend artistic media for utilisation in art-making as an effective therapeutic modality, demonstrating an understanding of how various materials can enhance the therapeutic process.
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