Clinical Art Therapy Diploma Program (CATD)

Now updated to the Art Psychotherapy Diploma Program


The Clinical Art Therapy Diploma Program is a dynamic, comprehensive, and academically rigorous program that nourishes creativity, encourages critical thinking, and welcomes unique perspectives. Experiential and embodied learning fosters student competence, flexibility and professional skill development that enables art therapists to meet the complex demands of today’s clients.

This diploma program prepares students for a career as a Professional Art Therapist and is recognized by the Canadian Art Therapy Association (CATA). This program has been approved by the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training.

Diploma Length: 2 to 2.5 years

Delivery: Online, with in-person potentially required for a practicum placement within your community

Credential: Diploma

Title: Clinical Art Therapist

Cost: $22,600 – $28,000

Time: Varies
Maximum Students: 20 per class

Amount of Homework: 4-12 hours/week

We strive to be a community of equity and inclusion by welcoming students from many backgrounds and diverse cultures, creating space for all voices to be heard. The Clinical Art Therapy Diploma Program helps students navigate the political and cultural challenges of our times by integrating traditional psychodynamic theories with contemporary theories in art therapy.

Graduates of the program become leaders in the field in the areas of professional practice, research, and theoretical development.


This program is now the Art Psychotherapy Diploma.

Diploma Courses

Art Therapy History, Approaches and Applied Theories

Apply approaches from traditional psychotherapy to art therapy. Investigate client-inspired artworks using theories including psychoanalytic, object relations, humanistic, developmental, cognitive behavioural, gestalt, and phenomenological. Through lecture, video, art-making, and reflection with instructors, students will achieve a working knowledge of the similarities and differences between the various theoretical constructs, and be able to recognize when and how to apply such theories and approaches to best serve their clients.

Ethical and Legal Issues in Clinical Art Therapy

Explore the ethical considerations in art therapy that combine to form the basis of the practicing art therapist’s values and beliefs. Gain a thorough knowledge of the Canadian Art Therapy Association (CATA) code of Ethics, evaluate the ethical dilemmas, and make clinical decisions based on art therapy ethical principles and legal requirements.

Art Therapy and Mental Illness

Examine the relationship between art, psychopathology, creativity, and healing. Students are provided with the opportunity to expand the concept of the progressive development and application of art therapy, effective treatment goals, and interventions with various client populations. Investigate and learn how to use art therapy interventions with clients experiencing symptoms of the major diagnostic categories described in the current The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association.

Art Therapy with Children and Youth

Gain a comprehensive overview of an attachment-informed art therapy model with a focus on dyadic work between children and caregivers, as well as adolescents and adults. Learn about the art therapy process as a vehicle for changing internal working models; creating a secure base in the therapeutic relationship with clients; formulating and processing relationship experiences; transference and countertransference; and working with different attachment styles or patterns, including insecure and conflicted.

Art Therapy with Families

Gain an introduction to the use of art therapy with families, including a review of the philosophy and epistemology of family therapy, systemic thinking, and attachment theory. Explore various applications and assessment techniques to family art therapy and family trauma, addressing family roles and hierarchies, strategic theory, re-framing, and role-playing. Investigate the complexities of culture in families and groups, and how this impacts the therapeutic relationship.

Studio Art Therapy with Individuals

This studio-based course focuses on art therapy with individuals. Learn how to work in a one-on-one model from the intake process through assessment, treatment planning, intervention, and closure. With a focus on applying theory, various techniques and key factors in clinical practice, students will have an opportunity to create art, and to practice the role of the art therapist with their instructor and peers.

Studio Art Therapy with Dyads

This studio-based course focuses on art therapy with adult dyads/couples, exploring ways to improve communication and build intimacy within a relationship. Students have the opportunity to actively explore their own self-reflective process, and to integrate their experience into current conceptual frameworks for clinical practice. Explore how art therapy techniques might be used to support the attachment theory taken by an emotionally focused approach to couples’ therapy. Students will blend their interpersonal art processes through instructor-led art-making, with small group debriefing sessions and discussions focused on theory, technique and clinical practice in art therapy with couples.

Studio Art Therapy with Groups

This studio-based course focuses on art therapy with groups. Learn group dynamic theories and approaches, and examine how to adapt facilitation practices for closed-ended and open-ended group formats. Experiment with a variety of art-making processes and materials and discuss their benefits in relation to a range of clinical presentations including but not limited to: depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, and stress-related disorders. Mandated and volunteer groups, and community studios – commonly referred to as Art Hives, will also be discussed.

Art Therapy Research and Arts-Based Methodologies

Explore advanced qualitative arts-based research approaches and gain a deeper understanding of research methodology and how to apply it specifically to a thesis question. Learn the construction of a literature review. There is a strong focus on critical thinking and further developing skills in presenting case studies as a research method.

*Post-MA students may not be required to take this course. Please check with your enrollment advisor.

Art Therapy Thesis/Arts-Based Research Project

Gain the framework to focus on the integration of research skills that are relevant to art therapy practice and build an awareness of the ethical aspects of research and development work. With their research question at the forefront, students will gather data, analyze findings, and synthesize results for their final presentation.


Additional courses on various topics will be delivered throughout the year. Special interest topics may include:

  • Mind, Body, and Media
  • Through the Lens: In-Session with Lucille Proulx
  • Clinical Interventions


All diploma students receive supervision during their program, including:

  • Review of the client art and clinical work
  • Case review of clinical files (includes intakes, progress notes, summary reports, treatment plans, termination
  • Discussion of referrals, agency relationships
  • Crisis intervention, limit setting, ethics, etc.
  • Discussion of group work: designing, planning, setting goals and exploring issues and dynamics.


A student proceeding toward a Diploma in Clinical Art Therapy is required to complete all requirements of clinical training in art therapy through Practica and Supervision. The practicum setting requires each student to be interviewed by the on-site supervisor prior to admittance into the practicum site. Orientation by the practicum site staff may also be required. Practicum includes direct client contact, set up, clean up, record keeping about the art and client notes. Two case studies (and/or participant reviews in open studio at the discretion of supervisor) are required within one month of completion of Practicum.

Studying with CiiAT is more than just an education,

it’s a personal journey within a supportive community.

Whether it’s through our small, intimate classes, or through our friendly administrative and technical support team, we strive to provide personalized help and attention.


All of our programs have been designed with an optimal online learning experience in mind. Part of our highly interactive classes involves Moodle, an intuitive learning support software that provides a base for communication, assignments, feedback, and class resources. Never used Moodle before? Think of it as your very own virtual classroom space!


As a school that is recognized by the Canadian Art Therapy Association, we match our Clinical Art Therapy Diploma Program students with appropriate clinical placements in order to gain practical, real life experience. In addition to clinical placements in a student’s local community, we also offer an online clinical placement option through our Virtual Art Therapy Clinic.


Graduates from our Clinical Art Therapy Diploma Program go on to work as Professional Art Therapists in a variety of settings. We offer a variety of professional support and resources for finding work post-graduation.


“Every experience I have had so far with CiiAT has been nothing short of amazing. From their theoretical, studio art, and virtual classes to the facility’s knowledgeable, supportive, and top-notch staff, this school continues to exceed my expectations.”

~ Ashley N. ~

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