Art Therapy Courses in Pune

Last Updated on December 22, 2022

Art therapy courses in Pune provide students with the opportunity to explore their creativity and find balance in their lives.

Art therapy is an emerging field that helps people express themselves and cope with stress, anxiety, trauma, and other psychological issues. It is an active process that encourages patients to express themselves through art without judgment or criticism. In addition to being a form of psychotherapy, it can also serve as a complementary therapy alongside traditional medical treatment.

Art therapy courses are available at several colleges and universities throughout India. Students who pursue these programs typically study psychology or social work first before enrolling in an art therapy course at one of these institutions. However, if you are not interested in pursuing a degree in psychology or social work but still want to become an art therapist, there are several online schools that offer distance learning options for aspiring students around the globe all year round!

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Art Therapy Courses in Pune

Art therapy is a unique form of treatment that uses art to help patients express themselves and work through their challenges. To become an art therapist, you must complete an undergraduate program in art therapy, followed by a graduate program. Art therapists can work with people who have mental health issues or physical disabilities; they also provide services to veterans and children.

Art therapists may be employed at hospitals, clinics and schools, or they may have private practices. They collaborate with other medical professionals to help patients express what they are feeling through drawings or paintings. They also use their own creativity to help patients recover from traumatic experiences and improve their mental health.

In this article we will discuss the types of courses available at colleges near Pune which offer a degree in art therapy. We will also look at some of the top schools offering these programs based on factors such as reputation and affordability so that you can make an informed decision about which school meets your needs best!

MIT School of Fine Art & Applied Art

Art therapy is a form of therapy that uses art as a tool to help people express their feelings and deal with mental health issues. Art therapists use a variety of media, including painting, drawing, sculpting and collage.

Art therapy courses are available in India at some universities. These courses cover topics such as human development and behavior, group dynamics, motivational interviewing and clinical interventions. They also include training in clinical supervision and ethics. Some programs offer an internship where students can apply the skills they have learned in real-world settings.

The University of Pune offers an MFA in Art Therapy program for students who want advanced training in this field. The program consists of eight semesters, which include classroom work and practical training with clients at various facilities throughout Pune.


Art therapy is a mental health and human services profession that uses the creative process in a therapeutic context to promote health and wellness for the individual and community. Art offers alternative methods of expression and communication, which can facilitate human growth and development. Grounded in psychological theory, the therapeutic relationship between art therapist and client allows the deep work necessary for recovery and change.

Keeping pace with disciplinary advances, the MFA in Art Therapy at MIT School of Fine Arts & Applied Arts will address learning about art and psychological functioning at individual and social levels in an inclusive manner. This program will provide students with education and training in art therapy through various courses, experiential art-making and supervised internships. Students will learn multiple theories and practices in psychology and art therapy combined with skills in the studio arts for implementing art therapy in diverse settings. Each student’s artistic and academic interests will be identified and nurtured throughout the art therapy program.

In collaboration with art therapists and arts-based practitioners from India and the US, the MIT School of Fine Arts & Applied Arts, Pune, is launching a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in Art Therapy.


  • To promote self-awareness through reflection and art-making.
  • To learn the fundamentals of art therapy theory and practice.
  • To develop art therapy as a professional therapeutic practice.
  • To prepare students for a career that uses the therapeutic application of art in a variety of settings and with a wide range of populations.
  • To bring in, integrate, and strengthen the cultural rootedness and appropriateness of art therapy knowledge and practice with a global outlook.
American Art Therapy Association

With artistic practices embedded in everyday life in India, the widespread interest in the therapeutic use of art with various populations is not surprising. Several years ago, the three of us met in person for the first time in India. Bani was a graduate student in psychology at University of Delhi and planned to apply to US art therapy graduate programs since none existed in India at that time. From there on, our shared dream of finding ways for people to receive an art therapy education in India has sustained our mentoring and collaborative relationships, which first started on opposite sides of the world!

Sangeeta Prasad, Girija Kaimal, Susan Anand and Bani Malhotra at AATA conference panel presentation, 2018

Ever since our commitment to the art therapy profession in India brought us together, the three of us have been working with colleagues in the US and India to develop art therapy as a profession in India through networking, awareness, and programming. Our vision is to increase awareness of the potential benefits of art therapy and therapeutic arts in varied settings and with diverse populations across India.

We are thrilled to announce the art therapy master’s program at Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT) – Art Design Technology University (ADT) in Pune, India! The MFA in Art Therapy is now offered though the School of Fine Arts & Applied Arts (SOFA). The first batch of students will be enrolled in 2021 and will graduate in 2023. MIT-ADT is hosting a virtual launch party on June 27 at 6:30 pm IST. We invite you to join us to learn more about this critical milestone in the development of the art therapy profession in India!

In this post, we are excited to tell our story that led to this achievement and to share our hopes for the future.

Art Therapy in India

Mental health professionals and artists are intuitively exploring the therapeutic benefits of the visual arts with clients and communities. A growing number of trained arts therapists are also traveling or returning to India to work and teach. Training opportunities are offered through various organizations, and certificate or diploma degrees are available in expressive art therapy programs affiliated with educational institutions. This is the context in which we were able to organize a team ready to create the master’s program for art therapy in India.

Sangeeta Prasad and Susan Anand founded IATDF in 2015

Bringing People Together: Establishing the Indian Art Therapy Discussion Forum (IATDF)

In 2015, Sangeeta Prasad, who was born and raised in India and is now based in the US, posted a request on the Art Therapy India LinkedIn Group for volunteers to organize networking opportunities in India. She received an overwhelming response to this post from arts therapists, art-based therapists, expressive art therapists, students, and mental health professionals who wanted to get involved. Those based in India provided descriptions of their work and seemed eager to learn more about the field.

Motivated by this interest, Sangeeta Prasad and Susan Anand (who has family ties to India) co-founded the Indian Art Therapy Discussion Forum (IATDF) as an inclusive group of art therapists and non-art therapists from India, the US, and other countries to advance the profession of art therapy in India through education, networking, training, and mentorship. Set up in the form of a Google Group, members of the forum contributed to group discussions about their diverse experiences, including art therapy and the therapeutic use of the arts. People with varying levels of training and clinical practice shared innovations and adaptations that they applied in their work throughout India, sometimes involving the use of traditional art forms.

IATDF newsletter cover page

From 2015 to 2018, regular communication was set up with this pool of enthusiasts. Each month, members would meet online via video conference to share updates on their work, receive mentorship, and support one another through collaboration with art therapists in India, the US, and occasionally from other parts of the world. IATDF activities included: hosting conferences and workshop retreats in different states in India, offering webinars on special topics of interests for members, distributing an online newsletter, and presenting at the American Art Therapy Association’s annual conferences. Over the years, the membership has grown. During the most recent surge in COVID-19 cases in India, forum members supported each other and shared opportunities for healing through the arts that have been developed for healthcare providers and others affected by the pandemic.

Members of the IATDF often expressed interest in formal training that would help to define art therapy and provide career development. While some forum members were able to pursue additional education in art therapy in the US and abroad, there was clearly interest for opportunities in India. In our efforts to establish partnerships with international educational organizations, we encountered two barriers: lack of programs specializing in art therapy and lack of financial resources. As a group, we began to focus on identifying an institution in India that could provide students and professionals with affordable and sustainable art therapy education.

(Left) IATDF Workshop in Bangalore, 2017; (Right) Susan Anand at AATA Conference 2017

Expanding Training and Education for Art Therapy in India

In 2019, the Women’s Christian College (WCC) in Chennai offered a hybrid (online and in-person) introductory art therapy course for psychology master’s students. In order to minimize the barriers of teacher and financial resources and keep tuition affordable, the class was a collaborative effort, which included: art therapists Sangeeta Prasad, Susan Anand, and Dr. Girija Kaimal; expressive arts therapist Jennie Kristel; and WCC psychology faculty member D. Sumathi. The course included didactic online lectures, homework assignments, and hands-on, arts-based learning experiences. Some members from the IATDF were also invited to present their work and experiences of using art-based or expressive arts therapy in an Indian setting. D. Sumathi was the course coordinator in the department and also supervised students, kept track of academic credits, and was the interface liaison between the online faculty, students, and WCC administration.

(Left) Manissha Khanna, Jennie Kristel, Sangeeta Prasad and Bani Malhotra, IATDF Workshop in Delhi University, 2016; (Right) Smita Deshpande, Assistant Professor at MIT School of Fine Arts and Applied Arts

Due to the success of the course in the first year and heightened student interest in art therapy, WCC decided to continue offering the introductory course as an elective. When the course was offered in 2020, India was in lockdown due to COVID-19, so it had to be taught completely online. Additional faculty were hired to help with teaching and administrative responsibilities. Bani Malhotra, art therapy doctoral student at Drexel University in the US, and Sarah Shruti Lall, WCC course coordinator and doctoral student joined the team.

Ethics webinar by Dr. Penny Orr in 2019

With the experience gained through this introductory course and feedback received from the students at WCC, the faculty and other members of the IATDF were motivated to develop a post graduate (master’s) program. Smita Raje-Deshpande, an Arts Based Therapist in India, first pitched the idea of creating a master’s program to faculty and administrators at the Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT-ADT), Pune. After careful consideration of WCC feedback and review of IATDF discussions, a hybrid model for teaching a master’s program, an MFA, in art therapy was developed at MIT-ADT through the School of Fine Arts.

Once again, this has been a collaborative effort! Dr. Penelope Orr, who has years of experience planning and directing online art therapy programs in the US and other countries, assisted in curriculum design and development. Other members of the faculty include Sangeeta Prasad, Dr. Girija Kaimal, Susan Anand, Jennie Kristel, Aishwerya Iyer, Bani Malhotra, and teaching assistants Smita Raje-Deshpande and Manissha Khanna. Our focus for this hybrid master’s program is on inclusion, cultural relevance, and sustainable models of art therapy education.

Looking back on our journey to this point, the WCC course contributed to student growth and interest in the field while providing the team with crucial learning experiences to support their efforts on institutional collaboration and methodological planning of a degree course.

Aishwerya Iyer, MA, ATR-P adjunct faculty at MIT Art Therapy course.

Creating a Sustainable Future

The US-based faculty assisted by faculty at MIT will teach courses for the first five years and then the program will transition to art therapy faculty primarily located in India and others from around the world. We envision a program that will train art therapists to meet the needs of people in both urban and rural areas through the context of Indian health care and mental health policy, and educational structures. Students who complete the WCC introduction course to art therapy will now have the option to pursue a master’s degree (MFA) in art therapy in India.

This dream of a graduate level program has been realized through the dedication, commitment, and determination of so many! Our hope is that this program will prepare students to make a positive impact as art therapists working across India, whether it be in schools, hospitals, clinics, or community spaces.

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