Corporations, hospitals, schools, nursing homes and treatment facilities are looking for art therapists. Useful for counseling and assessment purposes, art therapy — within a professional relationship — provides individuals with therapeutic benefits through artistic expression and reflection.
By offering a Pre-Art Therapy program within its B.A. degree in art, Olivet is helping meet this demand and providing students opportunities to serve others using their artistic creativity.
Professor Bill Greiner, chair of the Department of Art and Digital Media, describes art therapy as a science. “People with problems don’t always have to talk,” he says. “When there aren’t words, there are always images. Art therapists perceive things and read people through art.”
The recommended program offers an art therapy introductory course as well as a capstone course, with a combination of psychology and art classes woven in. Students will also complete observation hours at facilities provided by the University.
After completing the program at Olivet, students will be prepared to continue their education in art therapy at the graduate level.
Introduced in the fall 2013 semester, Olivet’s program aligns with the standards of the Adler School of Professional Psychology, one of the nation’s best-known leaders in art therapy programs. “We had to do it right,” says Professor Greiner. He also enlisted the help of adjunct professor Megan Campbell '08, who is a certified art therapist for Camelot Therapeutic Day Schools at the Bourbonnais school.
Anna Rooney (senior, Monte Vista, Colorado), who plans on getting her master’s degree in art therapy, says: “It’s incredible because Olivet’s program not only prepares students for grad programs, but it also gives us valuable insight concerning what it looks like to be a light in the healing profession.”
Professor Greiner is confident: the hard work and research that went into developing this program ensures the success of the students who complete it. For those who go on to get their master’s degree in art therapy, “getting a job is not going to be a problem,” he says.
Anna, who dreams of working in a school or children’s hospital, considers the program valuable for many reasons. “I have learned about myself and about how God can use me and my peers in the lives of others,” she says.