This program is the first accredited art therapy program at a public university in Indiana, one of only two in the state and one of 18 across the United States. The May 2021 graduating cohort – the first class under the accreditation status – is already out in the community providing mental health and art therapy services. The accreditation ensures that the program meets the standards required for graduates to become registered art therapists, just like many other specialized health professionals.
“I think anyone in the mental health community can speak to the need for increased services across the professional fields,” said Eileen Misluk, art therapy program director and assistant professor. “Specifically, the need for art therapy and other creative therapies that help individuals whose experiences and/or traumas are not easily articulated is immense.
“The pandemic made us feel things that, for many, could not be explained because they were so far from our current reality, like food scarcity, distrust of neighbors and friends, fears of being in public, and, of course, grief and loss. Talking about these feelings was not as impactful as creating.”
The American Art Therapy Association defines art therapy as the integration of mental health and human services through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory and human experience. At IUPUI, some of the student research and instructor clinical practice includes the use of art therapy as a healing tool in the treatment of eating disorders, grief, addiction recovery and many other areas.