Foundation Course in Art Therapy


 What is art therapy?

As it is practised today, art therapy is a form of psychotherapy in which making images and objects plays a central role. The essence of art therapy lies in the relationship between art and therapy. As such, art therapy involves both the process and products of imaginative activity and the provision of a safe environment within which it is possible for individuals to discover, explore and share the meaning their images or objects may have for them.

‘… art therapy is most concerned … with the symbolic expression of feeling and human experience through the medium of art.’  (Edwards, 2004, p4)

The range of settings in which art therapists now work is constantly developing and includes hospitals, schools, community based centres, prisons and units providing therapeutic services for particular client groups including adults, young people, and children. Within these broad areas art therapists may work with individuals on a one to one basis or with groups. Increasingly art therapists are also to be found practising in a number of specialised fields such as family therapy, forensic psychiatry or physical illness and medicine. In each of these areas the aims of art therapy will inevitably vary according to the needs of the individual or client group.

The Foundation Course in Art Therapy

The course is designed to provide an introduction to art therapy for:

  • People intending to train as art therapists or art psychotherapists (as an experience to support an application for the MA in Art Psychotherapy Practice):
  • Those who wish to gain some experience of art therapy for their own personal or professional development, for example:
      • Artists;


      • Counsellors and psychotherapists;


      • Mental health workers;


      • Nurses;


      • Psychologists;


    • Youth and community workers.

It offers:

  • An experiential introduction to the theory and practice of art therapy and includes:
  • Experiential workshops led by the course facilitators;
  • Talks, seminars and workshops given by staff and visiting art psychotherapy practitioners from a range of fields.

Dates for 2020

  • Wednesday, 22nd January 2020      9:30am to 4:30pm

    Thursday, 23rd January 2020           9:30am to 4:30pm

    Friday, 24th January 2020                 9:30am to 4:30pm

    Thursday, 13th February 2020         9:30am to 4:30pm

    Friday, 14th February 2020              9:30am to 3:30pm

Course fees and applications

Full fee: £475 – to be paid when a place on the course is accepted

NB: If any participant drops out of the course they will still incur the full financial liability of the course. An agreement must be signed to that effect. If you wish your employer to pay, they will be invoiced for the full amount prior to the course beginning.

Applications will be considered from people with a strong commitment to art and/or who are employed in educational, health, social services or voluntary sector settings. Special consideration will be given to those applicants who have already been provisionally accepted onto the MA Art Psychotherapy Practice, pending their gaining more personal experience of art therapy. Prospective students for the Foundation course need not have any formal art training, although this is generally a requirement for those intending to apply for a place on the MA in Art Psychotherapy Practice at a later date.

All applicants are asked to write a short, 500-word essay in response to the question ‘Is art always therapeutic?’ This should be returned, along with the attached application form (below) to the Foundation in Art Therapy course facilitators (address below).

If successful, applicants will be informed in writing. You will then need to pay the fee in full to secure your place.

The deadline for the receipt of applications for the course starting in January 2020 is Wednesday, 13 November 2019.


Art Therapy Foundation Course

Art Therapy Northern Programme

Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust

Netherthorpe House

101 Netherthorpe Road

Sheffield S3 7EZ

Feedback from our recent participants

  • “The course perfectly fit what I needed from it, and left me enthused and excited about the future.”
  • “I enjoyed the art making in the experimental workshops which gave me a greater understanding of what art psychotherapy is about…the range of art materials was really impressive and gave me a lot of freedom.”
  • “The course has opened up a huge range of possibilities which I am looking forward to exploring.”
  • “I liked the experimental work and how friendly and knowledgeable the course leaders are.”

Further information

The course facilitators are:

Hannah Godfrey:

Hannah is an art therapist who currently works in community mental health and with older adults with dementia both within the NHS. She has worked within other clinical areas such as addiction, the criminal justice system, forensic mental health and learning disability services. Hannah is also an associate lecturer on the MA Art Psychotherapy Practice programme. Hannah has an interest in working therapeutically in mental health particularly with personality disorders. She has written about working with anger in Leibmann, M (2008) ‘Art Therapy and Anger’  London: Jessica Kingsley.

Naomi Perry: BA (Hons) MA Art Psychotherapy Practice

Naomi lectures on the MA Art Psychotherapy Practice programme and maintains a small practice working with children and young people within educational settings. She has experience with the NHS and Private Healthcare sector. Before training as an art therapist, Naomi worked for many years in social housing and she is particularly interested in working with young people who are most hard to reach.

Art Therapists working with the course have included the following people:

Germaine Bryant

Siobjhan Burns

Deborah Gibson

Jacqui McKoy-Lewens

Debbie Michaels

Tim Needham

Ric Stott

Caroline Turner

Sally Weston

Katie Wilson

Chris Wood

Experiential workshops

These will provide participants with an opportunity to explore the use of art materials and image-making to express and communicate experiences and feelings. The workshops will constitute small groups, each led by one of the course facilitators who are qualified, state registered art therapists. The emphasis of the workshops is educational rather than therapeutic.

Guidelines for workshop participants

The primary aim of the art therapy workshops is education, not therapy. However, due to the experiential nature of these workshops difficult personal issues or feelings may surface from time to time. Workshop participants are therefore reminded of the following:

* Personal issues that arise are confidential to the workshop;

* All participants should respect the privacy of group members and each individual’s right to choose their own level of involvement;

* Participants are required to respect the safety of people and property.

Boundaries and creative exploration

Art Therapy and Art Psychotherapy:

‘… provide a space which is safe and set apart for meditative, self-reflective experience. It is a place with its own rules and boundaries, within which the patient can be free to explore the inner world. The safety provided by these boundaries is essential to prevent the process from becoming overwhelming …’ (Schaverien, 1991, p. 63).

Consistent attendance helps to establish and maintain a learning environment where participants can safely explore their relations with image making, art objects and each other.

Lectures and Seminars

These introduce participants to some of the ways the therapeutic potential of art is employed by experienced practitioners in a variety of settings. They take the form of presentations of clinical work and provide opportunity for discussion.


These will give an opportunity to experience and think about some aspects of the theory, practice and philosophy of art therapy

Successful completion of the course requires a minimum attendance of 80%.  A certificate of attendance will be awarded. This will not automatically ensure entry to the professional training provided by the Art Therapy Northern Programme, however, the certificate will support an application to undertake further training.  On the final day you will be asked to share something of your personal experience of the foundation course, drawing upon what you have learned through workshops, lectures, discussion and reading during the programme.  We would suggest that you keep a reflective journal throughout the course – it might help you with this task.


Meeting with course facilitators

There will be opportunities to discuss course matters with the course facilitators, and time to talk about anything more personal if needed.

Course evaluation

There will be ongoing opportunities for participants to give feedback about what has been useful about the course and what could be extended or improved. Your comments will be appreciated throughout the year and we provide a feedback form.

The Art Therapy Foundation Course will not qualify you to practice clinically as an art therapist; it will give you a good experiential grounding and enable you to take your learning further.


Edwards, D. (2004) Art Therapy. London, Sage Publications

Schaverien, J. (1991) The Revealing Image. London and New York: Routledge, reprinted in 1999 by Jessica Kingsley.

An introductory reading list

Adamson, E (1984) Art as Healing. London: Coventure Press.

Case, C. and Dalley, T. (2006) The Handbook of Art Therapy (2nd Edition). London, Routledge.

Dalley, T. (ed.) (1984) Art as Therapy. London, Tavistock.

Edwards, D. (2004) Art Therapy. London, Sage Publications.

Liebmann, M. (2004) Art Therapy for Groups: A Handbook of Themes, Games and Exercises (2nd edition). London, Routledge

McNiff, S. (1992) Art as Healing. New York, Shambala.

Malchiodi, C. (2006) Art Therapy Sourcebook. New York, McGraw-Hill

Milner, M. (1971) On Not Being Able to Paint. London, Heinmann.

Silverstone, L. (1997) Art Therapy the Person-centred Way: Art and the Development of the Person (2nd Edition). London, Jessica Kingsley

Skaife, S. and Huet, V. (1998) Art Psychotherapy in Groups: Between Pictures and Words. London, Routledge

Thomson, M. (1989) On Art and Therapy. London, Virago.