Child Art Psychotherapy Studies

Child Art Psychotherapy is a therapy for children with mental health difficulties, where the child is supported to explore and process areas causing distress in his/her life through the medium of art. The child is provided with the space and time to create images, and the child is supported to discuss his/her images with the therapist. It is a method to access and process trauma at both conscious and unconscious levels. The image is used as a means of communication between the child and therapist, which some children find less stressful than attending verbal therapies.

This is a child–oriented therapy, with each child progressing at his/her own rate, with the end-point of therapy agreed jointly with the child and therapist. Child Art Psychotherapy is internationally accepted as a method to treat children who have mental health difficulties, with child art psychotherapists frequently employed in Child and Adolescent Mental Health inpatient and outpatient settings in the UK. Art psychotherapy is used in the UK in school settings with distressed children. Child Art Psychotherapy is specifically recommended in the UK for use in those recovering from first episode psychosis and is sometimes used with those recovering from eating disorders.

This two year, part-time taught masters programme, delivered at the UCD School of Medicine, Nelson Street, Dublin 7 is for professionals who wish to specialise in using images in a psychotherapeutic context to understand the inner world of the child. A specific method of Child Art Psychotherapy which was developed for use in Child and Adolescent Mental Health teams is taught, known as the Vasarhelyi method of Child Art Psychotherapy.

Subjects taught

There are 6 modules in each year. Teaching comprises lectures, seminars, training in Child Art Psychotherapy and group supervision sessions which are delivered each Friday of term time between 10.30am and 5.45pm. Students also attend fortnightly 1:1 supervision. There are 3 Trimesters each year. Trimester 1 and Trimester 2 are taught Trimesters. Assignments are carried out during Trimester 3. Usually, Trimester 1 is 15 weeks duration and Trimester 2 is of 15 weeks duration with a break for the Easter holidays.

Group Process
Students participate in group process every Friday from 4.15pm to 5.45pm for the duration of the course during term time. Students reflect on their own therapeutic processes.

Clinical Placement
Students are placed for one full day per week on a Child and Adolescent Mental Health team, usually a community team. The clinical placement commences at the end of Trimester 1 Year 1 and continues through to the end of the course. The clinical placement is usually arranged by the course coordinator and clinical placement supervisors who are situated within a variety of child and adolescent mental health multidisciplinary settings throughout Ireland. Fortnightly case management supervision in the clinical setting is provided by senior members of the professional CAMHS teams, and is provided in the CAMHS setting.

Individual Supervision
Method specific supervision of child art psychotherapy practice is a focal point of the course and is provided by Child Art Psychotherapy course supervisors in the teaching centre.

Independent Study
Trainees are required to allow a considerable amount of extra hours throughout the course for autonomous learning and specified learning activities e.g. reading of relevant literature, preparation of supervision material, preparation for case presentations, essay on clinical case studies, thesis dissertation, the research protocol assignment and written and oral examinations.

Personal Psychotherapy
The course also requires that trainees engage psychotherapy for the duration of the course ie 100 hours of personal psychotherapy.

Theory and Practice of Child Art Psychotherapy 1 & 2
Child Art Psychotherapy Training and Experiential 1 & 2
Research Module

Entry requirements

This course is suited to

Art therapists
Social Care Workers
Social Workers

Those who are working with traumatised children or with “looked after” children may find this course useful. It may also be useful to those who are working with children with long-term physical illnesses.

Graduates have found work in educational, voluntary and statutory organisations and also within the private sector.


24 months part-time.

Enrolment dates

Next Intake Sept 2024

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Part time

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