Course Title: Art as Experience in Creative Arts Therapy

Part A: Course Overview

Course ID: 012538

Course Title: Art as Experience in Creative Arts Therapy

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


360H Education


Sem 1 2006

Course Coordinator: Ms Gerry Katz

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 4650

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course explores concepts of the arts, creativity and play as therapeutic tools to effect wellbeing among individuals, groups and communities. As a student, you will explore the role of the arts in primarily, but not exclusively, western society as well as philosophical and theoretical frameworks with which to consider the use and integration of the arts in therapy.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

As a student, you will be expected to:
• demonstrate an understanding of the cultural and personal experience of the arts;
• critically analyse the theoretical assumptions underpinning the arts as therapy;
• demonstrate an understanding of how art is a way of knowing oneself in the world;
• analyse the political and social implications of art as experience; how the arts shape and influence individuals and communities.

It is expected that you will be able to:
(a) Think critically about the role of the arts in society;
(b) Begin to become conversant with the philosophy, background, and practical approaches to creative arts as therapy;
(c) Develop an understanding of the languages of the arts, relative to creative arts therapy;
(d) Demonstrate a practical understanding of the transformative aspects of creative process.

Overview of Learning Activities

A variety of teaching / learning experiences will be used including, experiential/studio workshops, collaborative, interactive discussions, mini-lecture, field work, reflection on learning, assessment, and peer feedback. Students will have opportunities to participate in small group discussions and to participate in interactive feedback sessions. As with all courses in this Program, creative arts activities will be used to both enhance the learning experiences and to maintain a focus on
the therapeutic use of the arts.

The course focuses on a broad overview of the arts as it affects the wellbeing of the community, groups, and the individual.
Symposia discussion will examine such questions as:
• What is the role and function of the arts in societies?
• Is there a relationship between the arts, creative processes, and imagination to a sense of wellbeing?
• When and how are the arts in transformative and therapeutic?
• What are the ‘languages’ of the various art forms 
Integral Experiential workshops will explore approaches to Creative Arts Therapy, through the hands-on use of various arts mediums 
Field Work research will extend these ideas beyond the classroom/studio.

Overview of Learning Resources

Required Texts:
Assigned Readings
Collection of Selected Readings – RMIT

Dewey, John. (1936) Art as Experience
Kaplan, Francis. (2002) Art, Science and Art Therapy: Repainting the Picture London, JKP
Thomson, Martina. (1997) On Art and Therapy: an exploration. London. Free Association Books.
Journal Articles and Internet sources (refereed)

Suggested Readings:
Betensky, Mala. (1995) What Do You See? Phenomenology of Therapeutic Art Expression
London. Jessica Kingsley.
Cattanach, Ann (2001) Process in the Arts Therapies London. Jessica Kingsley Publisher
(1997) Children’s Stories in Play Therapy London. Jessica Kingsley
Hogan, Susan. (1997) Feminist Art Therapy. London. Routledge.
Landy, Robert (1996) Essays in Drama Therapy; The Double Life London.
Jessica Kingsley Publisher
Lett, W. 1993. How the Arts Make a Difference in Therapy. Melbourne: Ausdance.
May, Rollo. (1975) The Courage To Create New York. W.W. Norton & Co.
Moon, Catherine. (2002) Studio Art Therapy London. Jessica Kingsley Publisher
Warren, Bernie (Ed) 1984. Using the Creative Arts in Therapy. London: Routledge.
Winnicott, D.W. (1971) Playing and Reality. London. Routledge.

Note: In keeping with the philosophy of learning within the Creative Arts Therapy program, students are responsible for completing all readings as directed relative to each class/workshop. As part of the learning experience, each student will be asked to evaluate the course according to preset criteria. The evaluation form allows for personal comments and is submitted anonymously.

Overview of Assessment

The assessment for the course will take the form of a submitted portfolio, and will contain materials as follows:

a) Essay – 2500-3000 words (45% of grade)
b) Small Group Presentation and Written Report – (1000 words) (45% of grade)
c) Self-assessment of learning using the Learning Log (10% self-grade)
Due dates for the portfolio items to be negotiated with the course facilitators.