Expressive Arts Therapy | Webster University

Expressive Arts Therapy


Effective 1 June 2020 through 31 May 2021

Please see the Temporary Adjustments to Policy on Grading for Undergraduate Courses for Spring 2020

Please see the Undergraduate Catalog Archives for PDF versions of past catalogs.

18 Credit Hours

This program is offered by the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts/Department of Art, Design and Art History and is only available at the St. Louis home campus.

For information on the general requirements for a certificate, see Certificate under the Academic Policies and Information section of this catalog.

This certificate is available to students pursing a bachelor's degree and/or those who have already completed a bachelor's degree.

Program Description

Expressive arts therapy is a growing area for graduate study that may lead to subsequent employment as an expressive arts therapist. Expressive arts therapy integrates the healing objectives of the fields of art therapy, dance therapy, psychodrama and music therapy. This undergraduate expressive arts therapy certificate offers an introduction the unique potential to the fine and performing arts to foster healing and increase empathic human connection. Techniques from expressive arts therapy have been proven to increase mind-body integration, support self-actualization and promote healing in adults and children in numerous therapeutic and non-therapeutic contexts. Because the arts rely primarily on sensory processes (auditory, vocal, visual, tactile and proprioceptive) to engage individuals and groups, expressive arts therapy is often utilized as an adjunctive or alternative approach to language based "talk" therapy. For this same reason, techniques from expressive arts therapy are frequently adapted for use in humanitarian settings which serve migrants, war refugees and victims of trafficking. For this reason, the expressive arts therapy certificate may be considered complimentary to the international human rights certificate and the migration and refugee studies certificate offered at Webster. 

In order to see clients, students who complete the expressive arts therapy certificate will need to pursue a graduate degree before they are able to obtain professional licensure. Students are encouraged to check entrance requirements for any post-graduate programs prior to finishing their degree at Webster in the event they need to take additional coursework.

Students seeking this certificate are required to adhere to the Ethics and Standards of Practice guidelines of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA).

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to describe the basic principles of art therapy, dance therapy, psychodrama and music therapy and how these principles combine in expressive arts therapy. 
  • Students will be able to identify the key figures and factors that led to the development of expressive arts therapy and to summarize the four key concepts that are unique to expressive arts therapy: Intermodal Transfer (Levine), Crystallization (Knill), Expressive Therapies Continuum (Hinz) and the Creative Connection (Rogers). 
  • Students will apply and practice these concepts through hands-on activities* individually and in collaboration with class peers. 
  • Students will demonstrate a basic level of proficiency in two of the four fine arts areas of music, dance, theatre or visual art. 
  • Students will demonstrate an introductory level of knowledge in psychology.
  • Students will prepare an Expressive Arts Therapy Project* for the campus community or another specific community group in the St. Louis community.

*All activities in this program, including the Expressive Arts Therapy Project, will follow the key concepts of expressive arts therapy and may be therapeutic for students and participants. Due to ethical considerations and the basic level of this certificate, however, none of the activities included within this certificate's requirements will be considered or evaluated as "therapy." In each hands-on activity within this certificate and Expressive Arts Therapy Project, students will work within ethical guidelines as established by the IEATA and Webster University.

Required Courses

Expressive Arts Therapy (6 credit hours)

  • ART 2200 Introduction to Expressive Arts Therapy (3 hours)
  • ART 4810 Expressive Arts Therapy Project (3 hours)

Psychology (6 credit hours)

  • PSYC 1100 Introduction to Psychology (3 hours)
  • PSYC 3900 Introduction to Counseling (3 hours)
    or PSYC 3125 Abnormal Psychology (3 hours)

Fine and Performing Arts (6 credit hours)

Choose a minimum of 6 credits with prefixes outside of one's major (see the certificate director for prerequisite and advising questions). 

The following four courses are highly recommended:

  • ART 3820 Performance Art (3 hours)
  • DANC 1220 Improvisation (2 hours)
  • THEA 1080 Studio Acting (3 hours)
  • THEA 3070 Creative Dramatics: Social Issues* (3 hours)

*With permission of the certificate director and instructor.

Other available course options:

  • ART 1010 Creative Strategies (3 hours)
  • ART 2610 Printmaking Concepts and Techniques (3 hours)
  • ART 2715 Fine Art Photography (3 hours)
  • ART 2410 Painting I (3 hours)
  • ART 2530 Ceramics: Space (3 hours)
  • ART 2315 Sculpture I (3 hours)
  • ART 3690 Book Arts (3 hours)
  • ART 3050 Topics in Studio Art* (3 hours)
  • DANC 1410 Introduction to Professional Dance I (2 hours)
  • DANC 1030 Dance as an Artform (3 hours)
  • DANC 3250 Somatics* (2 hours)
  • DANC 1100 Modern Dance I (2 hours)
  • DANC 3000 Topics in Dance* (1-3 hours)

*With permission of the certificate director and instructor.

For non-music majors:

  • MUSC 1035 Introduction to Electronic Music (2 hours)
  • MUSC 1080 Beginning Class Piano (2 hours)
  • MUSC 1090 Beginning Guitar Class (2 hours)
  • MUSC 2002 Applied Voice (1 hour)
  • MUSC 2004 Applied Instrument (1 hour)
  • MUSC 2001 Applied Piano (1 hour)

For music education majors:

  • MUSC 2501 Applied Piano (2 hours)
  • MUSC 2502 Applied Voice (2 hours)
  • MUSC 2504 Applied Instrument (2 hours)

Recommended Courses

Keystone Seminar:

  • KEYS 4019 Art & Social Engagement: How Do the Arts Impact the World? (3 hours)


To pursue the certificate in expressive arts therapy, you must be one of the following:

  • A sophomore student or higher, successfully pursuing a bachelor's degree in any major within the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts.
  • A sophomore student or higher, successfully pursuing a bachelor's degree in psychology within the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • A graduate who holds a bachelor's degree with a fine arts or psychology major.

Current undergraduate students should petition to become an expressive arts therapy certificate candidate after successfully completing their freshman course of study (C or higher) and any departmental reviews. To petition to begin the expressive arts therapy certificate, students must write a letter of intent to the certificate director, Carol Hodson, and submit to

Webster graduates must apply for acceptance into this certificate through the Academic Advising Center.

Applicants who have previously completed a bachelor's degree at other accredited institutions must apply through the Office of Admission.