Bachelor of Arts Therapy

Foster self expression…

Arts therapy is effective in working with diverse groups of clients of all age groups, abilities, and with a range of issues; it is particularly effective in engaging people who may struggle to participate in more traditional ‘talking therapies’ such as children, adolescents, people suffering from trauma, those with disabilities, language difficulties or those from diverse cultural backgrounds.

This course is recognised in the Australian Qualification Framework.

CRICOS Code: 094684M
Australian Qualification Framework: Level 7

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Bachelor Of Arts Therapy

Foster self expression…

Arts Therapy is effective in working with diverse groups of clients of all age groups, abilities, and with a range of issues; it is particularly effective in engaging people who may struggle to participate in more traditional ‘talking therapies’ such as children, adolescents, people suffering from trauma, those with disabilities, language difficulties or those from other cultural backgrounds.

This course is recognised in the Australian Qualification Framework.

CRICOS Code: 094684M
Australian Qualification Framework: Level 7

Download Course Brochure

Attend Open Day

Ready To Apply?

Key Information

Award

Bachelor of Arts Therapy

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Duration

3 Years Full Time (or Part Time Equivalent)

Intakes

February, May, September

Study Modes

On Campus, Online Learning

Course Fees

Domestic (FEE-HELP available)
International

Professional Recognition

Graduates may be eligible for tier membership of the arts therapy professional body in Australia, ANZACATA. 

Is this course right for you?

Here are 5 common myths about arts therapy.

Course Overview

The Bachelor of Arts Therapy is designed to provide graduates with a broad body of knowledge relating to the field of arts therapy, with emphasis on the underlying principles and concepts of art making processes. A feature of the course is the focus on experiential small-group learning that supports students to develop and practice their skills and knowledge in a safe supportive environment.

This qualification is recognized in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)

This qualification is FEE-HELP approved for eligible applicants.

Let healing be your masterpiece.

Course Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate broad and coherent knowledge of critical psychological, social and transpersonal perspectives, relational, moment-to-moment experiencing, and heuristic phenomenology to inform arts therapy practice.
  2. Demonstrate broad and coherent knowledge and application of a range of arts modes, materials, art making processes and emergent forms.
  3. Demonstrate critical understanding of ethical issues, cultural and social diversity, and professional responsibility in the context of safe, ethical and reflexive practice.
  4. Engage with and apply multimodal arts media within an intermodal, attuned, empathic, authentic and ‘presence-centred’ therapeutic relationship.
  5. Demonstrate support for clients to deepen and represent their emotional experiencing using visual arts, sculpture, clay, dance-movement, poetry, expressive therapies, and music expression.
  6. Demonstrate emotional and psychological attunement, attentiveness, responsiveness and ‘deep listening’ to artistic forms that emerge from the psyche and internal experiencing of clients during art making.
  7. Critically review, analyse and integrate multimodal and intermodal arts processes to connect clients to what they are experiencing in their body in the here-and-now, utilising body sensation, body awareness and ‘felt- sense’ to release emotional patterns and transform emotional pain.
  8. Establish respectful, ethical and collaborative relationships with clients and multidisciplinary teams, and communicate a clear and coherent assessment of presenting issues and therapeutic progress.
  9. Reflect on their professional practice, and demonstrate responsibility, accountability and a commitment to continuous learning, personal creative practice and active citizenship.

Studying Arts Therapy at Ikon…

A hands-on deeply rewarding career

You’ll get your hands dirty literally in our comprehensive arts therapy courses, which combines cutting-edge psychology courses with a practical and physical arts program. Be prepared to learn just as much about yourself as you break down walls, then build up confidence and resilience in others.

Your fresh start could also be theirs

There has never been a better time to pursue a more meaningful career. As an arts therapist you’ll help all walks of life, from those who have experienced trauma, to those who struggle to open up by talking alone. You’ll guide them to thrive and in turn you’ll be rewarded immeasurably.

Be their turning point

As an arts therapist, you’ll meet people who may have experienced mental, emotional or physical challenges. Through the medium of art, you’ll help them overcome small and sometimes large hurdles and show them just what they’re capable of. You’ll be right there as they enter an exciting new chapter, facilitating a healing of the heart and mind.

Turn your life experience into your life’s work

The obstacles you’ve overcome will only serve to deepen your ability to connect with and help others. Our Bachelor of Arts Therapy degree is designed for those who want to bring out the best in people, of all ages and backgrounds.

Career Opportunities

The Bachelor of Arts Therapy prepares graduates for an exciting career as arts therapists with the skills to attend to the needs of clients in a variety of professional settings, ranging from mental health organisations and agencies to private practice.

Professional Recognition

Graduates may be eligible for tier membership of the arts therapy professional body in Australia, ANZACATA. 

Course Structure

Students are required to successfully complete 23 subjects (144 credit points) to be eligible for the award of Bachelor Arts Therapy.  The course structure includes two placement experiences.

Each academic year consists of three study periods called trimesters. Each trimester consists of eleven weeks of teaching plus one exam week.

A full-time study load is typically 8 subjects per year.
A part-time study load is typically 4 subjects per year.

Delivery & Workload

Course delivery is a combination of lectures, tutorials, arts workshops, group discussion, self-directed study and workplace learning.

You should allow for 3 hours per subject for lectures and tutorials. For each subject, you should then spend approximately 10 hours per week for self-directed study to complete prescribed readings, practice skills, research and assessments.

Interested in studying this course online? Click here to learn more about our distance learning options.

Subjects

Year 1

Integrative Psychotherapy in Theory

This subject is the first in a developmental sequence of study underpinning knowledge and core skills in counselling and integrative arts therapy practice. The theoretical underpinnings of the subject are sourced in the extensive literature on person-centred and experiential psychotherapy, Eastern and Indigenous practices and psychodynamic interpersonal therapy originating in the work of Carl Rogers, Eugene Gendlin and significant humanistic-existential and psychodynamic theorists and practitioners.

Credit Points: 6

Co-Requisites: Integrative Arts Psychotherapy in Practice

Integrative Arts Psychotherapy in Practice

This subject is the second in the developmental sequence of study underpinning knowledge and core skills of arts psychotherapy practice. The central activity of this subject is the students’ experiential practice of therapeutic skills in one-to-one therapeutic interactions with peers where students will share and work with their own ‘lived experience’ in sessions. Students are given the opportunity to apply interventions and processes to build and strengthen the therapeutic relationship, unpack the client’s difficulties and help the client to access and explore inner experience. Students will engage in reflection on their practice of micro-skills in integrative arts therapy.

Credit Points: 6

Co-Requisites: Integrative Psychotherapy in Theory

Models of Arts Therapy Practice

This subject focuses on the knowledge, approaches, and applications of three specific theoretical models and techniques in art therapy: existential-phenomenological approaches, cognitive-behavioural approaches, and motivational interviewing. Building on the theoretical knowledge from each framework, students will become conversant with the techniques that cultivate central themes, issues and constructs of psychological inner conflict in clients. The exploration contributes to the students’ greater thoughtfulness and open-mindedness of healing through creative arts.

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: None

Qualities of Art Making and Arts Media

This experiential subject focuses on the subjective lived experience of ‘being with’ art, artmaking, and art media. Through interactive lectures and experiential learning students will investigate a range of 2D and 3D art materials with an emphasis on experiencing their different qualities and the physical and emotional responses they elicit. The experiential subject will emphasise the collaboration between the art-maker and materials (as an active participant) in the creative process. Students will experience how the relationship between art-maker and art materials allows the artwork (image, sculpture, installation) to emerge.

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: None

Mental Health and Arts Therapy in Clinical Settings

This subject provides an overview of mental health practice and examines the role of arts therapists in promoting mental health and wellbeing, preventing mental illness and reducing the effects of illness. Students will explore how the conceptions of normal and abnormal psychology have developed over time and examine the historical emergence of systems of diagnosis (DSM-5 and ICD-11), their justifications, and criticisms. Students will learn to identify major categories of the current classification systems in psychopathology in preparation for working in mental health facilities and treatment centres.

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: None

Embracing Culture, Diversity and Inclusion

As therapists, there are ethical underpinnings to individual world views which often create prejudices and biases which are socialised and are on the whole, unconscious. This subject will equip students with the knowledge, skills and awareness to engage in ethical and culturally sensitive therapeutic practices. Engaging in a pedagogy centred on culture and diversity, independence, autonomy and philosophy, students will examine the versatility of embedded identities and their influence on beliefs, values and biases, both positive and negative. Students will develop cross-cultural skills important to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, families and communities, and how to approach their therapeutic needs and healing.

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: None

Ethics and Arts Therapy Practice

This subject is designed to develop the student’s awareness and understanding of ethical and legal issues critical to arts therapy practice. Students will learn about ethical principles and frameworks that can inform behaviour and decision-making, including relevant legislation, professional practice standards and codes of ethics within the Australian professional landscape. Students will examine scenarios to identify ethical and legal issues and propose solutions to dilemmas common in therapeutic practice, including those relating to mandatory reporting, dual relationships, professional boundaries and power dimensions. Students will also explore how their personal values may influence their behaviour, decision-making and developing professional identity.

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: None

Arts Therapy in Group Practice

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: Integrative Psychotherapy in Theory, Integrative Arts Psychotherapy in Practice

Year 2

Life Span Development

This subject explores central issues, theories, and methods in the study of developmental psychology and life span development. An interdisciplinary approach is taken to track the development of life from an evolutionary and cultural perspective. By focusing on development themes of evolution, embryology, attachment, and cultural history, students can gain a deeper awareness of how life develops regarding concepts of nature and nurture. An overview is provided of abnormal development alongside the important developmental stages that human beings pass through.

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: None

Expressive Modalities in Arts Therapy

Students will learn the central importance of play in facilitating change in psychotherapy through the use of a range of expressive art modalities such as storytelling, movement, dance, voice, music, drama, and sand-tray, in a variety of different combinations in order to express thoughts, feelings, communicate non-verbally, achieve insight and experience the healing potential of the expressive process. Students will learn to apply the eight core processes common to the expressive arts therapies, in which the concretization of clients’ inner experience can be used to process both implicit and explicit processing of psychological content.

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: None

Intermodal Philosophy and Theory

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: None

Dance, Movement and Embodied Arts

This subject explores the integration of movement into multimodal arts practice. Students will explore the philosophical and historical foundations to how the body has been perceived in society and its present-day implications, and learn the fundamental concepts of body-psychotherapy and movement-based therapies. Students will practice movement-based interventions, how to integrate them into psychotherapeutic and arts-therapeutic contexts, and examine the ethical considerations for movement-based interventions.

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: None

Creativity and Healing

This subject will summarise the foundations for creativity as integral to healthy connections with self, others and the world. In this subject, students will explore the theory and application of the developmental role of creativity in the first relationships humans experience. Students will also explore how this contributes to the spectrum of mental health throughout the lifespan as we focus on the disruption of this developmental process, or developmental trauma and the experience of loss. Using their lived experience, students will investigate the significance of boundaries, regulation and meaning-making. We will then consider how these experiences and knowledge inform an intermodal arts psychotherapy context.

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: None

Elective 1

See the ‘Electives’ tab for current elective options available.

Drama Therapy

This subject introduces the core processes that inform drama therapy. Students will consider their dramatic histories before using role, story, projective techniques and a range of dramatic processes to further their dramatic development. Students will have an opportunity to reflect upon their experiences and conceptualise how the theatre arts may be used to explore and achieve therapeutic goals.

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: None

Assessment and Treatment Planning

This subject introduces students to theories and models of case conceptualisation which is evidence-based art therapy assessment and hypothesis development within the context of case management. Students will utilise case conceptualisation frameworks to hypothesise on and identify a client’s concerns, note how the difficulties developed and highlight the client’s strengths. Students will be introduced to art therapy assessments, and adjunct tools.  The data obtained can assist the art therapist to plan appropriate art therapy interventions, implement the treatment plan, and review the overall efficiency of the case conceptualisation.

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: Life Span Development, Intermodal Philosophy and Theory

Year 3

Responding to Trauma with the Arts

This subject brings together an understanding of trauma and its effects, providing theoretical and practical knowledge of trauma-informed approaches in arts therapy. Students will learn basic safety and stabilisation skills, the role of expressive arts therapies in relationships, connection, self-regulation, and the embodied healing of trauma. Through experiential learning activities, students will explore ways to help clients explore emotions, memories, and personal narratives through the creative arts.

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: None

Indigenous Mental Health and Healing Practices

This subject provides an opportunity for students to examine the distress, pain, and post traumatic difficulties of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the legacies of racism, and colonisation, loss of country and community, adaptation, trauma, and survival. Students will identify and develop skills in healing practices that can be used to engage and redress this trauma. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of identity, resiliency, family, country and community and the implementation of a holistic community healing model. Songlines, ceremonies, rites of passage, dreaming and storytelling will be explored as important elements of Indigenous healing practice.

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: None

Elective 2

See the ‘Electives’ tab for current elective options available.

Arts Therapy with Children

Students will be introduced to working with children using relational and attachment focused expressive arts therapy. Building on child development theory learnt in Life Span Development, the subject looks at children in infancy, early childhood, and middle childhood experiencing trauma, grief, pain, and autism spectrum disorder processes. Students will learn techniques to support children to access, experience and express thoughts, feelings, and experiences through using visual arts, play, music, and movement.

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: Life Span Development

Integrating the Arts and Practice

This subject explores the significance of therapeutic presence, examining in greater depth the sensitivity and ‘intangibles’ that occurs in the intersubjective field, or the space between clients/patients and the therapist. This overarching approach links interpersonal neurobiology with the benefits of expressive arts therapies, which can be applied across all therapeutic modalities to form an integrated whole. The concept of clinical intuition will be used as a foundation to expand and build on students’ previous practical skills and theoretical knowledge through weekly experiential activities equipping them with specific skills required for clinical placement.

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: None

Supervised Arts Therapy Practice A

This subject is the first of two professional experience subjects designed to draw together coursework in a supervised work-based setting. Students will have their first opportunity to apply theoretical and reflective learning to arts therapy practice as they undertake 120 placement hours at an approved host organisation. Students will facilitate creative arts explorations with an entry-level client caseload and a focus on building therapeutic relationships, ethical and culturally sensitive arts therapy practice, and working as part of a multidisciplinary team. Students will participate in group supervision and engage in reflective discussion and art-making to explore their clinical reasoning.

Credit Points: 6

Hours: 120

Pre-Requisites: None

Supervised Arts Therapy Practice B

Students will continue to develop their clinical skills as they carry a small client caseload under supervision as part of a 240-hour placement experience. Students will design and implement ethical and culturally sensitive arts-based programs with individuals and groups to facilitate positive change with consideration for the needs and goals of the client. Students will focus on therapeutic relationships, case discussion, and working as part of interdisciplinary teams to integrate arts-based methods and frameworks in different practice contexts. Students will examine case material through supervision and reflective practice to deepen their understanding of evidence-based arts therapy practice.

Credit Points: 12

Hours: 240

Pre Requisites: Placement and Supervised Practice A

Electives

Sandplay and Symbol Work with Children and Adults

In exploring a range of expressive theories using miniatures, students will compare and contrast individual frameworks such as ‘The World Technique’ by Margaret Lowenfeld, the ‘Erica Method’ used in Sweden, the ‘Jungian Sandplay’ ‘safe and protected’ space of Dora Kalff and the ‘Dramatic Productions Test’ of Erik Erikson. A focus on symbolic thinking and meaning-making, mythology, archetypes and complexes and therapeutic progression is central to this subject. Students will examine case material of child sandplay and learn to facilitate adult sandplay by experientially engaging with the sand, water, miniatures and figurines. Undertaking their own personalised process of four sand trays provides an opportunity for students to attune to emotional experience and life narrative through the sand pictures.

This subject is run as a 5-day intensive from the Melbourne campus. Please note due to the delivery style for this subject, extra costs may be incurred to cover, travel, accommodation, and food.

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: None

Ecopsychotherapy

This subject introduces students to the emerging field of ecopsychotherapy – exploring both theory and practice. The subject is run as a five-day experiential intensive, with one half-day session in the weeks before the intensive, and one half-day session in the weeks following the intensive.

Please note due to the delivery style for this subject, extra costs may be incurred to cover, travel, accommodation, and food.

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: None

Treatment of Grief and Loss

This subject will enable students to develop both a sound understanding and familiarity with the techniques of case management concerning central issues around grief, loss and bereavement in the psychotherapeutic process. This will involve acquisition of skills, knowledge and an understanding of appropriate interventions for different grief and loss contexts and presentations. The subject will also focus on the cultural, sociological, and ethical aspects of working with these themes.

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: None

Helping Young People

This subject examines child and adolescent development, common concerns and issues young people may bring to therapy and best practice engagement strategies when working with young people in a therapeutic context. Students will learn how different engagement activities can be used to effectively build rapport and positive therapeutic relationships with young people, and engage their families, parents and caregivers in the therapeutic process. Subject content also includes how to work within relevant legislation including, confidentiality, informed consent and duty of care with children and young people under the age of 18.

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: None

Dreams and Symbols in Psychotherapy

This subject is concerned with developing an understanding of the symbol and dream-producing resources of the human psyche. In particular, the subject focuses on the capacity of the dreaming function to access and mobilise resource systems to engage with problem-solving, stress reduction, knowledge and understanding, change management and psychological development. The subject explores experiences gained in the dreaming, liminal, conscious imaging and metaphor states of consciousness. Skill development is directed towards using various methods to access this domain, including Jungian and archetypal processes, in both individual and group settings. These methods are developed as part of an integrative symbol and dreamwork skillset.

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: None

Eastern Practice and Western Psychology

This subject explores the themes of growing up and waking up. It is run in an intensive format following a structured program of personal reflection, practice and lectures. The subject explores themes of organisation of mind through understanding the research and practices that help facilitate individual organisation of mind. This subject will begin by addressing early developmental factors in the formation of mind and move to include transpersonal psychology and eastern philosophy and practices.

Please note due to the delivery style for this subject, extra costs may be incurred to cover, travel, accommodation, and food.

Credit Points: 6

Pre-Requisites: None

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Recognition of Prior Learning is an assessment process used to determine the extent to which a student has achieved the learning outcomes of a subject from earlier learning, experience or achievements. Where equivalence of prior learning can be established, the student may be exempt from attending that particular subject in order to complete their course.

You may apply for course credit towards the Bachelor of Arts Therapy in recognition of prior learning which may result in course credit and exemption from that subject. If you would like to apply for Credit Transfer or Recognition of Prior Learning please contact us admissions@ikon.edu.au (domestic students), or  international@eduholdings.com.au (international students).

Credit Transfer

Graduates of the nested Diploma of Arts Therapy through Ikon Institute of Australia may gain entry into the second year of the Bachelor of Arts Therapy. 

Eligible applicants will receive course credit via the grade of Advanced Standing. We offer credit for the following qualifications. For more information on Credit Transfer please visit our Course Credit and Pathways page.

CHC51015 – Diploma of Counselling

Eligible applicants may receive course credit via the grade of Advanced Standing for up to 18 credit points.

CHC53315 – Diploma of Mental Health

Eligible applicants may receive course credit via the grade of Advanced Standing for up to 12 credit points.

CHC52015 – Diploma of Community Services

Eligible applicants may receive course credit via the grade of Advanced Standing for up to 6 credit points.

CHC52021 – Diploma of Community Services

Eligible applicants may receive course credit via the grade of Advanced Standing for up to 6 credit points.

Exit Pathways

Students who successfully complete the first year of the Bachelor of Arts Therapy and decide they do not wish to continue their degree studies may exit with the nested award of Diploma of Arts Therapy.

Students who successfully complete two years of the Bachelor of Arts Therapy and decide they do not wish to continue their degree studies may exit with the nested award of Associate Degree of Arts Therapy.

Admission Criteria

Ikon has a range of admission pathways available to students of all circumstances and academic backgrounds. You should choose the admission pathway most relevant to your academic background.

Domestic Students

Our admission pathway options include:

  1. Applicants with Recent Senior Secondary Education (within the past two years) must have completed an Australian Senior Secondary Certificate (Year 12) or equivalent. For guaranteed entry applicants must have achieved an ATAR of 65.
  2. Applicants with Vocational Education and Training (VET) study must have completed a vocational qualification at Diploma level or higher.
  3. Applicants with Work/Life experience who left senior secondary education more than two years prior to their application, and have not undertaken VET or HE study since, may gain entry based on professional or work experience and/or any non- formal courses undertaken in preparation for tertiary study or that are relevant to the subject area. Work/Life experience applicants must submit a written admission statement outlining their reasons for undertaking the intended course of study. For more information about writing your admissions statement click here.

All applicants must complete the Learner Questionnaire within the Application Form and demonstrate they have the inherent qualities and motivations to be successful in the course. Applicants may be required to participate in an informal interview with an Ikon representative.

To discuss the best pathway for your circumstances, please contact us at 1300 000 933 or admissions@ikon.edu.au

For more information see:

Application Process
Domestic Student Admission Policy
Inherent Requirements
Student Profile Table

International Students

International applicants must have an English Language Proficiency Score of IELTS 6.5 (Academic) with Speaking no less than 6.5; Listening, Writing and Reading no less than 6.0, or equivalent.

Our admission pathway options include:

  1. Applicants with Recent Senior Secondary Education (within the past two years) must have completed an Australian Senior Secondary Certificate (Year 12). For guaranteed entry applicants must have achieved an ATAR of 65 (or equivalent).
  2. Applicants with Vocational Education and Training (VET) study must have completed a vocational qualification at Diploma level or higher.
  3. Applicants with Work/Life experience who left senior secondary education more than two years prior to their application, and have not undertaken VET or HE study since, may gain entry based on professional or work experience and/or any non- formal courses undertaken in preparation for tertiary study or that are relevant to the subject area. Work/Life experience applicants must submit a written admission statement outlining their reasons for undertaking the intended course of study. For more information about writing your admissions statement click here.

All applicants must complete the Learner Questionnaire within the Application Form and demonstrate they have the inherent qualities and motivations to be successful in the course. Applicants may be required to participate in an informal interview with an Ikon representative.

To discuss the best pathway for your circumstances, please contact us at international@eduholdings.com.au

For more information see:

Application Process
International Student Admissions Policy
Inherent Requirements
Student Profile Table

Admission Criteria

Ikon has a range of admission pathways available to students of all circumstances and academic backgrounds. You should choose the admission pathway most relevant to your academic background. Our admissions pathways include:

  • Australian Year 12 Secondary School Certificate with a minimum ATAR 65
  • Completion of a VET qualification at Diploma level or higher
  • Completion (or partial completion) of a higher education qualification
  • Applicants may also gain entry in recognition of their work and life experience. Work/Life experience applicants must submit a written admission statement outlining their reasons for undertaking the intended course of study. For more information about writing your admissions statement click here.

International applicants, and any applicants who did not complete their previous study in English, must evidence a minimum IELTS Overall Score of 6.0 with no band less than 5.5.

All applicants must complete the Learner Questionnaire within the Application Form and demonstrate they have the inherent qualities and motivations to be successful in the course, and may be required to participate in an informal interview with an Ikon representative.

To discuss the best pathway for your circumstances, please contact us at:
admissions@ikon.edu.au (for domestic students) international@eduholdings.com.au (for international students).

 

For more information see:

Application Process
Domestic Student Admission Policy
International Student Admission Policy
Student Profile Table

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