Studying Transpersonal Art Therapy
While there has been a real revolution in the physical therapies over the last decade, there seems to have been less focus on the spiritual aspects of our lives. And while there is the option of following a more conventional path and study counselling, this avenue does tend to focus on alleviating symptoms as opposed to sourcing the root cause of a problem. Transpersonal counselling, though a relatively unknown discipline, is gaining exposure as a solution dedicated to solving the real issues that we all face. To find out more, ntpages caught up with Martin Peake, Director of the Phoenix Institute of Australia, which delivers courses in Transpersonal Art Therapy.
What does the term ‘transpersonal’ actually mean?
“It basically encompasses a holistic type of counselling that incorporates an individual’s psychological and spiritual life and ultimately looks to examine and explore their human potential. It is less about alleviating symptoms and more about helping people become more conscious in their lives. Transpersonal art therapy covers the spectrum of human experience including mind, body, spirit and environment. It is not about eliminating symptoms, but accessing positive human potential as well.”
What can transpersonal art therapy help us achieve?
“Transpersonal art therapy is about self management through greater self awareness. Ultimately it is a process towards greater self-realisation and it can help us to reach our full potential, find meaning, purpose and direction in our life; while understanding our place in it. It is not anti-drug but pro-self management through greater understanding.”
What is the attraction of studying transpersonal art therapy?
“In recent years there has been a real revolution in body-related therapies, but not much movement in spiritual or psychological mental health. It is still too diagnostic, reactive and mechanistic – relying too heavily on drugs, not the active imagination. There is now more attention being paid to these elements of our lives and I believe this is where the next revolution in mental health will occur. What we are teaching in art therapy will be mainstream in the next five to seven years.”
Do you have an expectation of your students?
“Rather than regurgitating course material, we are looking for students to bring their life experience into the course and to explore, reframe and value the wisdom gain from it.”
What field could a graduate expect to work in?
“Our graduates go onto work in a variety of fields, with the majority employed in government and non-government agencies, such as schools, welfare and human services. About a third of students are self-employed, primarily in their own practice, while others go onto work in Indigenous health, mental health, refugees, schools, work places, rehabilitation, disabled, elderly, correctional services and community art.”
How long is the Diploma of Transpersonal Art Therapy?
“The diploma is run over one year full time or over two years part time and consists of 12 modules. It is a very experiential course and is about learning in the doing – so very practical.”
Are your diploma courses nationally accredited and recognised?
“Yes, our courses are registered by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and as a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). As an ASQA registered Institute, students are assured that the institute meets the nationally agreed standards set out in the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) and that the vocational education and training qualifications, and units of competency delivered by the Institute are nationally recognised. We are also accredited by the Australian Association for Holistic and Transpersonal Counsellors, that allows our graduates to gain professional indemnity insurance to practice.”