Taught course

Art Psychotherapy (International)

Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh · Occupational Therapy and Art Therapy

Entry requirements

A UK honours degree or equivalent in the area of the visual arts supported by a portfolio of art work in a variety of media. Degrees in subjects such as psychology, social work, nursing, education etc. will be considered if supported by a substantial portfolio of art work over some years. A portfolio showing no more than 20 examples of artwork should demonstrate a serious involvement with art media and your own personal process of work with imagery. It is recommended that you include sketchbooks. Slides, photographs, CDs and DVDs of your work are acceptable. Some applicants prepare their portfolio by attending art classes over some years. Such a portfolio will need to be in a format like Flickr or on a website and is required to be sent in prior to an interview. You must also have a minimum of one year’s experience of work (or part time equivalent) in a caring capacity or equivalent. Relevant care work includes a position as nursing assistant, project worker, arts instructor etc. or care work in a community setting, art teaching, facilitating art workshops. This could be with Social Services or Health Service departments. It is worth enquiring locally to ascertain if an Art Psychotherapist is employed and could offer voluntary work or allows a visit. Voluntary work in these areas is also very useful experience. Some experience of personal art psychotherapy or psychotherapy, or experiential workshops in art therapy, psychotherapy or the creative therapies, is desirable. In the absence of a degree experience, 8-10 years work experience in the caring professions could be considered for entry.

Months of entry


Course content

This course is designed for people who have at least one's year's experience of, or are currently working in a caring capacity such as psychiatry, special education, social services and the voluntary sector.

The discipline of art psychotherapy draws upon the visual arts, psychotherapy and psychology and is applied within psychiatry, special education, social services and the voluntary sector. Art psychotherapists work with individuals, groups and communities.

Art psychotherapists enable clients to access their own image-making abilities. The therapist and their client jointly explore the meaning of the process and image/art object in the light of personal experiences and/ or interpersonal relationships that may sometimes be distressing or troubling. The aim is to facilitate the intra-personal and interpersonal communication of experiences that the client may initially find difficulty in discussing verbally. The art psychotherapist's task is to support processes of emotional integration by providing a safe, reliable and containing therapeutic environment within which the client can create and use art making to develop insight and effect change.

The course aims to integrate learning across the theoretical, experiential and practical aspects of the training. It places the student at the heart of the learning process encouraging individual responsibility for learning. As students are mature graduates with many life skills and diverse work experience, the student cohort is regarded as a resource for peer learning and skills sharing. In this course, emphasis is placed equally on academic studies, experiential learning and supervised placements.

Information for international students

If you do not hold a recent, acceptable English language qualification you will be required to take a SELT (Secure English Language Test) IELTS test gaining an overall score of 7.0 and no individual component score below 6.5.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

This course does not attract any NHS or SAAS funding, the majority of students self fund their studies or apply for a Professional Career Development Loan:

International Funding

Qualification and course duration


part time
36-72 months
full time
24 months


full time
24 months
part time
36-60 months

Course contact details

Margaret Hills de Zarate
+44 (0) 131 474 0000