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Advanced Diploma Of Transpersonal Art Therapy

Duration: One year intensive or over two years or Mid Year over 18 months

VET FEE Help is available for prospective students

Austudy is available to for all deliveries

Government Accreditation

1. The Advanced Diploma of Transpersonal Art Therapy (52454WA) is nationally recognised by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).

2. Phoenix Institute is registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutes and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS code 02701K), however the Advanced Diploma is currently not available to international students.

Professional Accreditation

1. The Advanced Diploma of Transpersonal Art Therapy is accredited by the Australian Association of Holistic and Transpersonal Counsellors (AAHTC). The AAHTC provides membership and professional indemnity insurance for practitioners ( andby the International Institute for Complementary Therapists (IICT). IICT provides membership and professional indemnity insurance for practitioners.

The course provides the skills and knowledge essential for art therapy practice including: working with clients, working with groups, life transformation, grief, loss, risk management, children and life transitions and case management.

Career outcomes

This course is particularly relevant for those who wish to gain employment in organisations such as art therapy/counselling services, government agencies, alcohol and drug centres, rehabilitation, community health centres, outreach services, residential services, elderly, disability, refugee support services, youth centres and women's health centres, men's health services, schools, corrections and private practice.

Course overview

The Advanced Diploma of Transpersonal Art Therapy is a creative and enriching experience. One does not need to be an artist or have artistic talent to complete this course. Art therapy is a client-centred process and each module deepens the theory and practice of working creatively with the client by using paint, clay, music, movement and dance.

The first part of the art therapy course is orientated towards applying art therapy self-awareness techniques and methods to gain insight into one's personal mythology and creative unconscious. Transpersonal work is about seeing behind the mask and attempting to experience greater authenticity and creativity in one's life.

Because most of our students are mature age, we assume they do have significant life experience and wisdom. This experience is then informed by transpersonal art therapy, so the therapist develops their own unique style and emphasis when practicing.

The first part of the journey also combines mainstream art therapy theory with traditional healing models and techniques that demonstrate how different cultural beliefs use art in their healing practices and rituals. This learning includes participating in clay work, ritual, group art pieces, case study analysis and a range of creative techniques.

The second part of the course directs students towards the application of art therapy techniques when working with clients or groups. Students also learn about mainstream mental health models because this is how most people benchmark their mental health. But one of the significant diversions from mainstream approaches is the transpersonal discovery of spiritual crisis and emergence - "break through" not "breakdown" and the relationship between mental health and spiritual experience.

Further, students learn client-centred therapeutic techniques, case management, ethics, use of appropriate materials, working with different populations, legal obligations and setting up an art therapy practice.

Students also complete 50 hours of supervised art therapy placement and ongoing supervision in the class.

It is a very creative journey facilitated by well trained staff in a supportive group and safe environment.

Students also complete 100 hours of supervised placement and ongoing supervision in the class.

Course Structure

The Advanced Diploma of Transpersonal Art Therapy (52453WA) requires the successful completion of 6 competencies.

Unit Code

For effective training and assessment of the Advanced Diploma of Transpersonal Art Therapy the 6 competencies are delivered through 12 modules outlined in the table below.

Qualification of Study

Phoenix Institute of Australia


Unit of competency

Module 1: Foundations of Visionary Practice 601A

Module 2: Foundations of art therapy I: Evolution 602A

Module 3: Foundations of art therapy II: Professional emergence 602A

Module 4: Symbol, myth and healing in art therapy 603A

Module 5: Crises, transitions, trauma and healing across the life-cycle 603A

Module 6: Foundations of mental health and mental disorder 604A

Module 7: Transpersonal art therapy approaches to mental health and disorder 604A

Module 8: Transpersonal art therapy counselling skills I: Micro skills 605A

Module 9: Transpersonal art therapy counselling skills II: Transpersonal analysis 605A

Module 10: Essential professional practice skills in transpersonal art therapy 606A

Module 11: Contemporary ethico-legal and best practice issues in transpersonal art therapy 606A

Module 12: Placement and clinical case analysis and management

100 hrs supervised placement606A

Unit Name


Use applied transpersonal psychology in visionary practice


Use applied transpersonal psychology in art therapy practice


Assist clients with life problems using transpersonal art therapy practice skills


Use transpersonal art therapy, visionary practice techniques in mental health practice


Assist clients using transpersonal counselling skills in art therapy


Perform art therapy within the contexts of regulated ethical and best practice standards

Advanced Diploma Delivery Format

One Year

The format for the one-year Advanced Diploma is six days (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday one week, Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday the next week). There is a week break between each fortnightly module with a break in August.

Two Year

The format for the two-year diploma is four days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday) and four weekly evening tutorials 6.30pm to 9.30pm, with six modules in the first year and five modules in the second year.

The diploma has 396 hours face-to-face teaching over 11 Modules plus 100 hours in supervised placements.

Course Content

Module 1: Foundations of Visionary Practice

The foundation module introduces students to the core concepts and theories in transpersonal work through a historical and comparative approach. The central focus is upon establishing a model for transpersonal work drawing upon both cross-cultural perspectives and an understanding of the nature of consciousness. It covers:

  • the history of transpersonal psychology
  • models of the psyche and the spectrum of consciousness
  • comparison between mainstream and traditional models of healing
  • exploring states of consciousness
  • mythology and life patterning
  • hero's journey and life transitions
  • shamanic and spiritual perspectives
  • the transpersonal process in counselling
  • history of the unconscious.

Module 2: Foundations of Art Therapy I: Evolution

Coverage of the major approaches to art therapy, including the psychoanalytic, existential and transpersonal, and the meaning and application of transpersonal approaches in art therapy. It covers:

  • art, culture and healing
  • archetypes, images and symbols
  • modes of perception
  • exploring 'self' in mandala work
  • exploring personal and collective symbols
  • cross-cultural perspectives
  • symbols of transformation
  • introduction to therapeutic ritual.

Module 3: Foundations of Art Therapy II: Professional Emergence

Core concepts in the theory and practice of transpersonal art therapy. Existential-phenomenological factors in art therapy. The nature of soul work at the core of therapy. This module explores working with images and symbols particularly how one applies art therapy to dreams. It covers:

  •  working phenomenologically
  • health, illness, disease and curing
  • therapy and the construction of meaning
  • self-realisation, authenticity and art
  • appreciation and exploration
  • art therapy and dream work
  • working with shadow in dreams
  • archetypal dream work
  • psychodrama
  • one-on-one and group dream work.

Module 4: Symbol, Myth and Healing in Art Therapy

Exploring the structure and dynamics of the psyche is a central focal point of transpersonal work. Core notions from psychoanalytic traditions compared with the shamanic model of art therapy. Explorations of structure and process through:

  • art therapy and phenomenology
  • symbols of transformation
  • divination and perception
  • therapy and the construction of meaning
  • self-realisation and self-awareness
  • mask work.

Module 5: Crises, Transitions, Trauma and Healing Across the Life-cycle

Exploring the life cycle and specific challenges related to the development phases. Here the idea of movement through the life cycle as a series of transitions that can be understood and enabled therapeutically by art therapy is explored. This will include rites of passage and therapeutic ritual as it relates to healing and personal transitions in life. It covers:

  • life cycle and life-transitions
  • understanding culture and its various layers
  • adolescent rites of passage
  • adolescence stages
  • psychodrama and healing
  • ritual and healing.

Module 6: Foundations of Mental Health and Mental Disorder

Coverage of the major, mainstream 20th century paradigms of mental health, theories of personality and society implicit in them and their principal critics.

It covers;

  • mainstream approaches to mental health and art therapy
  • abnormal psychology
  • existentialism and humanism
  • DSM-IV, depression, psychosis and diagnosis psychological and psychiatric paradigms
  • mental health first aid
  • grief, loss, change and art therapy
  • placement.

Module 7: Transpersonal Art Therapy Approaches to Mental Health and Disorder

Coverage of transpersonal crises and emergence. Methods for working with these factors in art therapy. Mapping the spaces in which transpersonal crises emerge and are resolved. It covers:

  • mental health, cultural context & art therapy
  • spiritual crisis/emergence
  • madness, mysticism and creativity
  • psychosis and shamanic models
  • the anti-psychiatry movement in the 1960's
  • mental health, art and spirituality
  • art therapy and the unconscious
  • spirituality as experience
  • mapping spiritual experience.

Module 8 & 9: Transpersonal Art Therapy Counselling Skills I: Micro Skills. Mod 9: Transpersonal Art Therapy Counselling Skills II: Transpersonal Analysis

These two modules are designed to provide students with a comprehensive foundation in inter-transpersonal skills which are essential to being an effective therapist. The fundamentals of communication and counselling skills are extended into transpersonal dimensions of human interaction, using a self-realisation model. It covers:

  • client-centred approach
  • counselling practice
  • psychdrama
  • therapeutic relationship
  • case management
  • application of art therapy techniques to clients
  • transference and counter-transference
  • managing the session
  • boundaries and ethics
  • working with different populations.

Module 10: Essential Professional Practice Skills in Transpersonal Art Therapy

Presentation and evaluation of major practice paradigms in art therapy. Developing a personal style in practice. Working with individuals, groups, organisations and communities. Re-affirming the transpersonal and especially shamanic template. It covers:

  • transpersonal approaches
  • construction of meaning
  • art therapy paradigms
  • case studies and practical work
  • developing a transpersonal art therapy paradigm
  • application of art therapy theory and practice.

Module 11: Contemporary Ethico-legal and Best Practice Issues in Transpersonal Art Therapy

Current climate of professional practice in Australia, ethico-legal matters, inter-professional relationships in referrals and integrative practice, case studies and practice work. It covers:

  • setting up a practice
  • ethics and legal obligations: mandatory reporting
  • setting goals
  • developing your identity as an art therapist
  • supervision
  • personal development and care
  • networking.

Module 12: Placement and Clinical Case Analysis and Management

The placement module is an opportunity for studentsto gain first hand experience in the wider community by working with and being involved in art therapy and related activities. The placement program is structured workplace learning that helps prepare you for the workforce. It is part of your course, designed to help you better understand what you have learned by putting it into practice in the workplace. All students must undertake 100 hours of supervised work placement to complete their Advanced Diploma. Details discussed in class. It covers:

  • developing your identity as an art therapist
  • supervision
  • professional development
  • personal development and care
  • networking.

It should include experience in direct service delivery to individuals and/or groups and/or communities.

- Supervision by appropriate agency personnel

- Assessment of performance by appropriate agency personnel

- Analysis of agency work in terms of a written report

- Specific and separate report on case work.

Transpersonal Art Therapy Course Outcomes

Successful completion of the course requires the following outcomes student’s must:

• Show competence in knowledge of the core concepts, theory and research in the modules

• Show competence in utilising materials and skills taught in the modules

• Be able to demonstrate initiative and flexibility in the application of knowledge and skills

• Understand the conditions under which skills and strategies are applied; limits and boundary conditions

• Be able to express their competences both practically and in verbal and written forms

• Pursue self-development in the use and competence in the relevant transpersonal techniques.

Requirements to achieve a qualification

In order to qualify for the Advanced Diploma, students must fulfill the following requirements:

• Attendance at all lectures, tutorials and practical sessions. Where attendance is not possible through circumstances beyond the student’s control, then suitable makeup work, if possible, must be completed according to a set schedule. Minimum attendance, allowing for valid excuses [e.g., medical certificates] is 80% of all class sessions and 80% of the total course.

• Completion on time of all written assignments and art works.

• Completion of all case studies relate to both work with individuals, clinically, and work with groups.

• Completion of agency placement [practicum: 100 hours]

• Demonstration of appropriate interpersonal skills and mental health status in class and clinical sessions, which allow competent professional practice.


The process of assessment throughout the course is continuous and addresses students’ performance in the following ways:

• Through evaluation of written assignments and art works which address the concepts, theory and practice of transpersonal work and which are required for every module throughout the course.

• Through evaluation of written case studies, which are required for practice-oriented modules.

• Through observations and ratings of interpersonal skills and development of professional counselling and art therapy skills in role playing and clinical practice sessions.

• Through observations and ratings of students’ performance in tutorials in written and verbal modalities.

• Through observation and assessment of students’ performance in workplace environments …for example, relevant agencies.

• Through written and oral examinations at the end of the course.

RPL (Prior learning) This is conducted on a case-by-case basis in which the content of prior learning, whether it is formal academic or other industry training, is assessed and can be translated into course credit. This based on detailed transcripts, curriculum statements, course notes and readings and job descriptions as well as examples of workplace reports produced. This must be approved prior to commencing the course.

Credit Transfer This is available on application and on a case by case basis. Students must complete a Credit Transfer & RPL Application Form. This must be approved prior to commencing the course.

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