The goal of the Expressive Therapies master’s degree programs is to provide students the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to practice in a range of professional settings, including health care facilities, schools, community agencies, and private practices. The Expressive Therapies 60-credit programs meet the academic and field training requirements for mental health counselor licensure (LMHC) in Massachusetts. (Students intending to work outside of Massachusetts are advised to review their state's regulations to determine their eligibility for licensure.) Specialization tracks prepare graduates for certification or registration by their respective professional associations.
The Expressive Therapies faculty established these program goals. Aligned with the mission of Lesley and the Graduate School of Arts & Social Sciences, they are also specific to the Graduate Expressive Therapies Department, with deep consideration of our program’s history and the contemporary landscape of expressive therapies and mental health counseling.
1. Dual Identity as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor and Expressive Therapist
Students will demonstrate a dual identity as a clinical mental health counselor and expressive therapist, and an understanding of the ways in which the professions enhance and complement one another.
2. Professional Orientation and Ethics
Students will demonstrate an understanding of the counseling profession and their modality profession. Students will demonstrate the capacity to provide counseling services within the ethical codes of the counseling profession and their modality specializations, and with an understanding of legal issues.
3. Clinical Mental Health Counseling Theory
Students will gain substantial knowledge of core counseling theories as applied to individual and group processes, skills, and approaches.
4. Human Development Across the Lifespan
Students will assess and cultivate an understanding of human growth and development throughout the lifespan, including an understanding of arts-based development, and the connection between developmental theory, clinical issues. Students will be able to design interventions, as well as apply considerations of environmental, biological, and cultural factors.
5. Clinical Skills and Helping Relationships
Students will demonstrate counseling skills and techniques which exhibit awareness of self and other in the therapeutic relationship. Students will demonstrate the ability to document and evaluate progress towards treatment goals.
6. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Students will develop a critical multicultural lens of the sociocultural foundations in the counseling and expressive therapy process, including developing an awareness and knowledge of power, privilege, and oppression at the micro, macro, personal, and interpersonal levels. Students will develop strategies to identify and eliminate cultural barriers, prejudice, and discriminatory practices.
7. Career Development
Students will demonstrate knowledge of vocational counseling theory and apply career development methods to individual professional development.
8. Group Process in Counseling and Expressive Therapies
Students will develop a theoretical and embodied understanding of group process and dynamics, theory, skill, and approaches.
Students will gain knowledge and skills in understanding and utilizing formal assessment instruments and information gathering techniques, used in case conceptualization, treatment planning. Students will also be able to analyze and critique assessment tools regarding ethical usage and multicultural competency.
10. Research and Program Evaluation
Students will develop the ability to locate, read, critique, and evaluate research to inform clinical practice. Through this activity, students will contribute knowledge to the profession of counseling and their modality specializations.
11. Psycho-diagnostics and Treatment
Students will gain an understanding of the broad spectrum of psychopathology and diagnostic criteria utilized in the current DSM 5 and ICD 10 to inform ethical clinical practice and evaluation within a diverse context.
12. Trauma and Crisis Intervention
Students will demonstrate trauma-informed skills within clinical practice, including knowledge of crisis intervention, and risk and suicide assessment. Students will understand current research and application in how the arts are used in trauma-informed practice, including individual, community, cultural, and systemic complex trauma across the lifespan.
13. Embodied, Experiential and Creative Clinical Practices
Students will be able to articulate, embody, and apply the transformative nature of creativity and the arts intrapersonally, interpersonally, and clinically, demonstrating the integration of knowledge and skills within practice.
14. Mental Health and Community Systems
Students will demonstrate knowledge and apply skills associated with working in diverse communities and multi-disciplinary teams. Students will critically analyze methods of treatment, referral, and interdisciplinary collaboration from a global health perspective.
15. Personal Growth, Insight, and Congruence
Students will develop and engage in multifaceted processes which foster self-awareness, and awareness of others’ experiences with cultural sensitivity. Students will develop and begin to articulate and evidence, in their scholarship and clinical practices, their theoretical orientation.
Students take courses in a scheduled sequence, where learning takes place in increments that align with their emerging competencies as clinicians. Following the program's course sequence ensures that students build upon knowledge and skills in a manner that maximizes their learning efforts, and that is appropriate and supportive, as they begin to practice in the field.