New School University embraces woo with new ‘Creative Arts Therapy’ Program

Tragically, the school I received my Masters Degree from has now introduced a whole program devoted entirely to nonsense. They call it “Creative Arts Therapy”:

The field of creative arts therapy is now widely recognized as an essential component of healthcare in our society. Creative arts therapists integrate modalities of music, drama, the visual arts, and dance/movement into the practice of psychotherapy in a variety of clinical settings. These include psychiatric, rehabilitation, and general hospitals; nursing homes; group homes; outpatient psychotherapy clinics; special education; and private practice.

The New School’s certificate program in Creative Arts Therapy (CAT) curriculum is both didactic and experiential, grounded in the latest developments in psychology and mind-body healing. Our program is unique in encouraging students to work in more than one artistic modality in developing therapeutic insights and mastery. We integrate mind-body techniques such as creative visualization, guided imagery, mindfulness meditation, and therapeutic touch with more traditional arts therapy and psychodynamic approaches.

Recognized by who? Certainly not any reputable health organization in the world. Art therapy? Music therapy? Aroma therapy? Mind-body healing? Gimme a break! The placebo effect is not a healing modality and you certainly can’t be taught as one in a classroom.

Here’s the program’s FAQ page on Facebook:

How much does the program cost?

The cost of each course is $620.00.  Nine courses are required to graduate, so the total is approximately $5,580.00.

[Spit take] WHAT?!

Taking students’ money in exchange for providing them courses whose curriculum is based on pseudoscience and thus lack any legitimate practical application is not only an academic disgrace but is arguably fraud. Why not teach homeopathy or Scientology courses while you’re at it?

To give you an idea of what they’re selling, they’re hosting an upcoming event to be held on April 10 (Fuck! Same weekend as NECSS!) called “The Voice of Trauma: A Sound Approach to Healing the Wounds of Childhood Trauma,” which prescribes a whole bunch of touchy-feely, hippy pseudo-therapies for serious childhood trauma:

Trauma themes are explored through musical story telling, vocal improvisation and drumming.

Participants also learn to externalize and transform resistant sub-personalities commonly found in traumatized individuals through the vocal giving-and-receiving feedback loop. Clinical case examples are shared that document the effectiveness of voice-centered music therapy in transforming the ravages of early trauma. Special focus will be given to assessing strengths and weaknesses of the traumatized client, the effects of early trauma on the nervous system, and contraindications for uncovering/releasing techniques. No singing experience or musical background necessary.

I take it back. This IS fuckin’ Scientology!

For a more detailed account of what this program entails, here’s an incredibly long video presentation about it that attempts to sell it as some sort of legitimate curriculum:

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3 Responses to New School University embraces woo with new ‘Creative Arts Therapy’ Program

  1. han says:

    How irritating! I’m all for the mentally ill (or anyone, really) finding a creative outlet to express what they’re going through, but this sounds like a bunch of self-satisfied hippies disappearing into their own navels.

  2. Tony says:

    A little too quick to brand all creative therapies as being a scam, woo, or akin to Scientology.

    For persons with profound mental illness, disability, or trauma, non-verbal and creative work can be very helpful. It engages people who have been stigmatized and helps them relate to others in a more positive way, helping with self-esteem and socialization skills. It may be hard to quantify (something we skeptics like to be able to do), but can be observably replicated in a clinical environment as being of benefit to marginalized and displaced people.

    I am dismayed by the ignorance and venom of this attack.

    • mjr256 says:

      I’m happy to look at any empirical data analyzing the efficacy of aroma therapy, but if you’re suggesting its efficacy can’t be or at least hasn’t yet been sufficiently quantified, then it’s not science and should not be taught as science, especially if you’re charging thousands of dollars for the classes. Clinical anecdotes can be helpful but they’re not a substitute for properly controlled, double-blind tests.

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