Inherent requirements for Master of Art Therapy


These inherent requirements apply to the following course: Master of Art Therapy (course code 4595).

Western Sydney University and the School of Social Sciences and Psychology (SSAP) strongly supports the right of all people to pursue a Master of Art Therapy course.

Introduction

Inherent requirements
Inherent requirements are the essential components of a course or unit that demonstrate the abilities, knowledge and skills to achieve the core learning outcomes of the course or unit, while preserving the academic integrity of the university's learning, assessment and accreditation processes. The inherent requirements are the abilities, knowledge and skills needed to complete the course that must be met by all students.

Students with a disability or chronic health condition may be able to have reasonable adjustments made to enable them to meet these requirements.

The School is committed to making reasonable adjustments to teaching and learning, assessment, clinical practice and other activities to enable students' to participate in their course. Reasonable adjustments must not fundamentally change the nature of the inherent requirement. Students are required to undertake activities which reflect the Australian health care context which may include mixed gender, religious and culturally diverse environments. For further information contact your Director of Academic Program.

Successfully completing the course enables you to apply for full professional membership registration with the Australian and New Zealand Arts Therapy Association (ANZATA). ANZATA uses the term 'registration' to describe the full professional membership extended to graduates of Masters programs that meet the association's training and accreditation standards. However (as with social workers and counsellors) there is currently no national or state legal registration of arts therapists in Australia, although ANZATA continues to lobby for such regulation.

The inherent requirements outlined below provide a guide for students and staff when deciding whether you are able to meet these requirements and the type of reasonable adjustments that could be put in place to allow you to complete the course without compromising the academic and professional integrity of the course.

To support potential and current students' decision making, a series of inherent requirement statements have been developed. These statements specify the course requirements of the Master of Art Therapy for student admission and progression. The statements are clustered under nine domains consisting of ethical behaviour, behavioural stability, legal, communication, cognition, visual art skills, relational skills, reflective skills and sustainable performance.

How to read the inherent requirement statements

If you are intending to enrol in the Master of Art Therapy course in the School of Social Sciences and Psychology (SSAP), you should look at these inherent requirement statements and think about whether you may experience challenges in meeting these requirements.

If you think you may experience challenges for any reason including a disability or, chronic health condition, you should discuss your concerns with the SSAP staff, such as the Director of Academic Program, Academic Course Advisor or School Disability Coordinator or a Campus Disability Advisor. These staff can work collaboratively with you to determine reasonable adjustments to assist you to meet the inherent requirements. In the case where it is determined that Inherent Requirements cannot be met with reasonable adjustments, the University staff can provide guidance regarding other study options.

These inherent requirements should be read in conjunction with other course information and the codes, guidelines and policies of the Australian and New Zealand Arts Therapy Association (ANZATA), the accrediting body for this course.

The inherent requirements are made up of the following five components and domains:

  • Level 1 - introduction to the inherent requirement
  • Level 2 - description of the inherent requirement
  • Level 3 - explanation of why this is an inherent requirement of the course
  • Level 4 - the nature of any adjustments that may be made to allow you to meet the requirement
  • Level 5 - examples of tasks that show you've met the requirement. These are examples only and not a comprehensive list

There are nine domains of inherent requirements in the Master of Art Therapy. Some domains have a number of sub-domains.

  • Ethical behaviour
  • Behavioural stability
  • Legal
  • Communication
  • Cognition
  • Visual art skills and practice
  • Relational skills
  • Reflective skills
  • Sustainable performance

Inherent requirement statements

Ethical behaviour


Inherent requirement statements
1 Art Therapy is a profession guided by the codes, guidelines and policies of the Australian and New Zealand Arts Therapies Association (ANZATA) (opens in a new window) whereby arts therapists are deemed accountable and responsible for ensuring professional behaviour in all contexts. Art therapists practising in NSW and South Australia are subject to a statutory Code of Conduct for health practitioners and there are plans to introduce a National Code of Conduct. Art therapists must adhere to these codes and should demonstrate knowledge of and engage in ethical behaviour in practice.
2 Student demonstrates knowledge of, and engages in ethical behaviour in practice.
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Compliance with the codes, guidelines and policies facilitates safe, competent interactions and relationships for students and/or the people with whom they engage. This supports the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of all

4 Adjustments must ensure the codes, guidelines and policies of ANZATA are not compromised or result in unethical behaviour. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

»Demonstrate ability to reflect on ethical dilemmas and issues and take responsibility for ensuring awareness of ethical behaviour
» Understanding and practising appropriate professional boundaries including confidentiality and duty of care in work with clients in placement settings

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Behavioural stability


Inherent requirement statements
1 Behavioural stability is required to function and adapt effectively and sensitively in this role.
2 Student demonstrates behavioural stability to work constructively in a diverse and changing academic and clinical environment.
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

»Behavioural stability is required to work individually and in teams in diverse and changing environments. Students will be exposed to situations which are challenging and unpredictable, and will be required to have the behavioural stability to manage these events

4 Adjustments must support stable, effective and professional behaviour in both academic and clinical settings. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Being receptive and responding appropriately to constructive feedback
» Managing own emotions and behaviour effectively when dealing with individuals both in classroom and placement settings

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Legal

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Communication

This course requires effective, verbal, visual, non-verbal and written communication skills.

Verbal

Inherent requirement statements
1 Effective verbal communication, in English, is an essential requirement to provide safe and effective delivery of support.
2

Student demonstrates:
» Sensitivity to individual and/or cultural differences
» The ability to understand and respond to verbal communication accurately, appropriately, and in a timely manner
» Consistent and appropriate awareness of own verbal communication style
» The ability to provide clear instructions in the context of the situation
» Timely clear feedback and reporting

3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Communicating in a way that displays respect and empathy to others and develops trusting relationships
» Communication may be restricted to verbal because of physical limitations of the individual (e.g. injury, disease or congenital conditions)
» Speed and accuracy of communication may be critical for individual safety or treatment
» Close listening and accurate and empathic reflection of what is heard are fundamental to the establishment and conduct of an effective therapeutic relationship in Art Therapy

4 Adjustments must address effectiveness, timeliness, clarity and accuracy issues to ensure safety and appropriate care. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Responding verbally in an interview with clients in the field placement setting
» Participating in tutorial and clinical discussions
» Ability to listen with empathy to clients and accurately reflect back to them

Visual

Inherent requirement statements
1 Effective recognition and understanding of, and response to, visual communication is a fundamental requirement of the Art Therapy profession. Visual communication needs to be respectful, clear, attentive, empathic and non-judgemental.
2

Student demonstrates:
» The capacity to recognise, interpret and respond appropriately to visual representations and cues
» Consistent and appropriate awareness of own visual communication style
» Sensitivity to individual and/or cultural differences

3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Art Therapy uses art media as a primary form of communication between client and art therapist. It employs visual art equipment such as clay, paper, paints, and other artistic materials to create visual forms of personal expression that the art therapist assists the client to understand and explore

4 Adjustments for impaired visual communication must address effectiveness, timeliness, clarity and accuracy issues to ensure safety. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» The ability to recognise both literal and symbolic content and communication in the clients' art-making processes and in finished client artwork

Non-verbal

Inherent requirement statements
1 Effective non-verbal communication is fundamental to Art Therapy and needs to be respectful, clear, attentive, empathic, and non-judgemental.
2 Student demonstrates:
» The capacity to recognise, interpret and respond appropriately to behavioural cues
» Consistent and appropriate awareness of own behaviours
» Sensitivity to individual and/or cultural differences
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» The ability to observe and understand non-verbal cues assists with building rapport with people and gaining their trust and respect in academic and professional relationships
» Displaying consistent and appropriate facial expressions, eye contact, being mindful of space, time boundaries and body movements and gestures promotes trust in academic and professional relationships
» Being sensitive to individual and /or cultural differences displays respect and empathy to others and develops trusting relationships
» The ability to observe and understand non-verbal cues is essential for safe and effective observation of clients' symptoms and reactions as part of their assessment and treatment.

4 Adjustments must enable the recognition, interpretation and appropriate response to non-verbal cues as well as initiation of effective non-verbal communication in a timely and appropriate manner. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Recognising a postural change that could indicate the emotional state of a client
» Respecting the client's physical boundaries, rather than assuming that any client in distress needs an uninvited hug from the therapist

Written

Inherent requirement statements
1 Effective written communication, in English, is a fundamental Art Therapy student responsibility with professional and legal ramifications.
2 Student demonstrates capacity to construct coherent written communication appropriate to the circumstances.
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Construction of written text based assessment tasks to reflect the required academic standards are necessary to convey knowledge and understanding of relevant subject matter for professional practice standards
» Accurate written communication for a range of purposes and audiences is vital to provide consistent client care

4 Adjustments must not compromise the necessary standards of clarity, accuracy and accessibility to ensure effective recording and transmission of information in both academic and clinical settings. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Constructing an essay to required academic standards
» Preparing Art Therapy reports which are appropriate to the purpose and audience, and completed in a timely manner

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Cognition

This course requires knowledge of theory and the skills of cognition and literacy.

Knowledge and cognitive skills

Inherent requirement statements
1 Consistent knowledge and effective cognitive skills must be demonstrated to undertake safe and competent Art Therapy practice.
2 Student demonstrates:
» The capacity to locate appropriate and relevant information
» The ability to process information relevant to practice
» The ability to integrate and implement knowledge in practice
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Safe and effective Art Therapy practice is based on knowledge that must be sourced, understood and applied appropriately

4 Adjustments must ensure that a clear demonstration of knowledge and cognitive skills is not compromised or impeded. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Appropriately applying knowledge to practice during field placements, for example through making assessments, developing treatment plans and then conducting individual and group sessions for clients

Literacy (language)

Inherent requirement statements
1 Competent literacy skills are essential to provide safe and effective Art Therapy practice.
2 Student demonstrates:
» The ability to acquire information and accurately convey appropriate, effective messages
» The ability to read and comprehend a range of literature and information
» The capacity to understand and implement academic conventions to construct written text in an appropriate manner for the intended audience.
» The capacity to include personal and professional reflection within academic writing
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» The ability to acquire information and to accurately convey messages is fundamental to ensure safe and effective assessment, treatment and delivery of Art Therapy services
» The ability to read, decode, interpret and comprehend multiple sources of information is fundamental for safe and effective professional support in field placements
» The ability to use writing for the purposes of close observation and reflection is a primary form of learning and self-monitoring in Art Therapy

4 Adjustments must demonstrate a capacity to effectively acquire, comprehend, apply and communicate accurate information. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Conveying a spoken message accurately and effectively in a field placement setting
» Paraphrasing, summarising and referencing in accordance with the appropriate academic and/or professional practice conventions
» Producing accurate, concise and clear documentation while on placement in the clinical setting which meets legal and professional requirements

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Visual art skills and practice


Inherent requirement statements
1 Competent visual art skills are essential to provide safe and effective Art Therapy.
2

Student demonstrates:
» Familiarity with and ability to safely and effectively support the use of a range of traditional and/or contemporary visual art modalities, media, techniques and practices in the execution of Art Therapy practice.
» Capacity to develop and maintain one's own arts practice within a chosen medium, style and/or or context

3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Art Therapy uses a range of visual arts processes and media within a therapeutic framework to improve and inform physical, mental and emotional well-being

4 Adjustments must demonstrate a capacity to support client art-making. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Ability to assist clients in identifying the appropriate, choice of art media and techniques to use
» Ability to identify and modify a therapy when not effective for a client or group

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Relational skills


Inherent requirement statements
1 Art Therapy practice requires the ability to make and maintain strong therapeutic relationships with a wide range of clients, often under stressful circumstances.
2

Student demonstrates:
» The ability to establish and maintain rapport with both individuals and teams in both academic and field placement environments
» The ability to utilise creative Art Therapy in a variety of settings that enhances professional interpersonal relationships
» The ability to engage and relate appropriately in individual and group clinical supervision and experiential learning groups

3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Highly developed relational skills are a cornerstone of effective therapeutic relationships that facilitate effective engagement, assessment, intervention and closure.
» Highly developed relational skills are necessary to engage effectively in individual and group supervision of client work and experiential training activities

4 Adjustments demonstrate acceptable level of effective relational skills across the range of tasks, populations and learning experiences. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Effectively using relational and interpersonal skills to initiate and develop a therapeutic relationship with clients.
» Effectively managing difficulties arising in the therapeutic relationship while on placement
» Relating effectively, openly and sensitively to academic staff, supervisors and peers

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Reflective skills


Inherent requirement statements
1 Art Therapy practice requires self-awareness and a capacity for reflection in order to consider the effect of one's own actions, values, emotions and behaviours.
2

Student demonstrates:
» The ability to reflect constructively on their professional performance
» Awareness of own responses to hearing or viewing distressing client communications

3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Art Therapy training which requires well developed understanding of oneself in order to appropriately engage with clinical supervision of and feedback on work with clients
» Working with clients while on placement and understanding and responding to them requires the ability to notice, understand and effectively manage one's reactions to situations that may arise

4 Adjustments must demonstrate the student's ability to demonstrate an acceptable minimum level of capacity in this area. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Identifying when a clinical issue is outside one's scope or expertise
» Reflecting in clinical supervision on how one's own responses may impede or enhance work with particular clients on placement

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Sustainable performance


Inherent requirement statements
1 Art Therapy practice requires both physical and mental performance at a consistent and sustained level to meet individual and group needs over time.
2 Student demonstrates:
» Consistent and sustained level of physical energy to complete a specific task in a timely manner and over time
» Concentrating attention on client art-making and therapeutic interactions throughout an individual or group Art Therapy session
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Sufficient physical and mental endurance is an essential requirement needed to perform tasks in an assigned period to provide safe and effective support

4 Adjustments must ensure that performance is consistent and sustained over a required period. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Participating in tutorials and lectures
» Remaining focussed and providing consistent responses over a negotiated time frame during placement

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*Developed from: Johnson, A., Allan,T., Phillips,K., Azzopardi,T., Dickson,C., Goldsmith,M & Hengstberger-Sims, C. (2011). Inherent Requirements of Nursing Education (IRONE), Western Sydney University School of Nursing & Midwifery and Student Equity & Disability Services.


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