Fieldwork and Practica
On entering the program, students are required to fulfill a minimum of 100 hours of fieldwork in connection with introductory coursework. Thereafter, a total minimum of 900 hours of practicum experience is required over the course of the program. The intern typically spends between sixteen and twenty-four hours at their placement site, though this can vary. Efforts are made to match the most appropriate student with the most suitable placement site, and students are required to complete a minimum of two internships, one with adults and one with children or adolescents.
Students are expected to participate fully in the life of each setting and to have opportunities to participate in many aspects of their clients' treatment. Where appropriate, students may also conduct art therapy assessments and provide individual, group, and family art therapy as primary or adjunct therapists.
Many leaders in the field of art therapy education believe that experiencing art therapy as a client is an invaluable element in training for professional practice as an art therapist. The graduate program in art therapy at George Washington University strongly recommends that students join an art therapy group or contract for individual sessions with an art therapist for personal therapy while in graduate school.
Internship or field placements are arranged by the art therapy Clinical Placement Coordinator in collaboration with students. Students participating in the field experience also attend a weekly, two-hour supervision group on campus. The University has a wide selection of placements which currently includes:
- Accotink Academy
- Arundel Lodge
- Children's National Medical Center
- Clean and Sober Streets Arts
- DC Public Schools
- Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital
- Downtown Clusters
- Fairfax County Public Schools
- Georgetown Hospital/Lombardi Center
- George Washington Art Therapy Center
- Goodwin House
- IONA Senior Services
- Make Studio
- McClendon Center
- Miriam's Kitchen
- National Children’s Research Center
- National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE)
- Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute
- Prince George’s Hospital Center
- Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents (RICA)
- Sheppard Pratt Healthcare System, Inc.
- Sibley Memorial Hospital
- St. Elizabeth’s Hospital
- Suburban Hospital
- Sunrise on Connecticut
- Walter Reed Army Medical Center
Experienced clinical instructors, most of whom are registered art therapists, provide weekly on-site supervision and provide exposure to diverse theoretical perspectives. Clinical instructors work in a wide variety of treatment settings in which students gain experience in individual, group, and family art therapy, diagnostic assessments, and, in some cases, other expressive therapies, such as dance, music, and movement.