About the Program

What is Transpersonal Art Therapy?

Written by Michael A. Franklin, PhD, ATR-BC

Transpersonal psychology is viewed within the graduate art therapy program as an evolving, researched discipline that integrates established models of psychology with valuable subjects from spiritual disciplines and wisdom traditions. This transdisciplinary assimilation, which strives to prevent cultural appropriation, results in a comprehensive model of psychology.

Transpersonal Art Therapy draws on this wide ranging premise through its core value to embrace the imaginal elements of the creative process as a rich healing opportunity. Any artistic act is a sample of multiple behaviors (cognitive, affective, kinesthetic, contemplative and spiritual), leading to the awareness that to form materials and processes is to transform oneself through art—we can literally create our way out of and through our suffering. The living image that results from the art process is the true teacher of this path. An art therapist working within the transpersonal approach strives to remain open to differences and to work for change at personal, cultural, institutional, and spiritual levels of transformation. Overall, this work is offered with empathic intentions, compassion for self and other, and the desire to transformatively serve communities and larger social systems.


The Transpersonal Art Therapy program supports Naropa’s mission by training students to become master’s-level graduates of Clinical Mental Health Counseling, licensed professional counselors, and art therapists.

Transpersonal psychology recognizes and integrates the insights, attitudes and practices of world wisdom traditions with modern psychological approaches. This integration provides the context for training students within the program, and it offers a context and a variety of techniques for the practice of professional counseling following the program. The program seeks to provide training that is grounded in rigorous academic work, a blend of critical thinking and contemplation, and skillful application of effective clinical skills, and it seeks to integrate this training with the practice of moment-to-moment awareness and present-centeredness.


The internship is designed to provide students with training and supervision in the practice of psychotherapy through field placements in human service agencies. The Professional Seminar class is taken concurrently with the field placement and is designed to educationally enhance and support the field placement experience.

Field Placement

Below is an incomplete list of some of the agencies (both past and present) which have participated in the field placement program for the Transpersonal Art Therapy concentration:

Olivia Phipps headshot


with your counselor

Olivia Phipps

Graduate Admissions Counselor

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This is where experiential learning meets academic rigor. Where you challenge your intellect and uncover your potential. Where you discover the work you’re moved to do—then use it to transform our world.

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