Studying in the nation’s capital means students have a practically unlimited range of diverse internship sites to choose from.
The Art Therapy Program partners with more than 100 internship sites in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. The wide range of options means students can choose the cause, age group or setting that fits their passion, whether that means working with D.C. residents in substance abuse recovery or bringing chalk art demonstrations into assisted living facilities for people with Alzheimer’s.
“My internship working with the elderly has been one of the most rewarding jobs. I learned the true essence of what client-centered therapy is and how to enhance quality of life for those suffering.”
Hours and Credits
Graduate student interns typically spend between 16 and 24 hours per week at their placement site. Students participating in an internship also attend a weekly, two-hour supervision group on campus.
To earn internship credits, all graduate students register for a one-credit Art Therapy Practicum course six times during their studies, for a total of six credits. Students complete at least two internships, one with adults and one with children or adolescents. Occasionally, students elect to complete a third internship, depending on need and availability.
Upon entering the program, students earn a minimum of 100 hours of practicum at a placement site in conjunction with introductory coursework. Thereafter, a minimum of 900 hours of internship experience is accrued over the course of the program.
Students are expected to participate fully at each setting and to engage in many aspects of their clients' treatment, such as treatment team meetings, treatment planning, goal setting and much more. Students may also conduct art therapy assessments and provide individual, group and family art therapy as primary or adjunct therapists, depending on the site.
Finding an Internship
Finding an internship is similar to obtaining a job: The site chooses the intern and the intern chooses the site.
Internship placements are arranged by the Art Therapy Program clinical placement coordinator (CPC) in collaboration with students.
- The CPC contacts students with the link to the online internship information site.
- Each student then requests their top three choices in collaboration with the CPC, as some sites have limited internship positions available and/or require a certain level of training in the program first (i.e., some accept second-year students only). Second-year students are given seniority in choosing their sites.
- Each student obtains contact information from the CPC and sets up an interview with the site. The best matches of site and student usually come about through interviews with site supervisors.
Students are welcome to find their own internship sites. However, students in this case must work with the CPC to determine the suitability and create an agreement with the university.
Sample Internship Placements
- Children's National Medical Center
- Clean and Sober Streets Arts
- DC Public Schools
- Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital
- Dominion Hospital
- Downtown Clusters
- Fairfax County Public Schools
- Georgetown Hospital/Lombardi Center
- George Washington University Hospital
- Goodwin House
- Make Studio
- McClendon Center
- Miriam's Kitchen
- National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE)
- Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute
- Sheppard Pratt Healthcare System, Inc.
- St. Elizabeth’s Hospital
- Suburban Hospital
- Sunrise on Connecticut
- Walter Reed Army Medical Center
“My two internships have been working with adults experiencing homelessness and with adolescents at a community health center specializing in LGBTQ+ and HIV care. Through these experiences, I have been able to go outside my comfort zone with the support of supervisors and professors to gain skills in the real-world application of art therapy.”