Introduction to art therapy I

Do you want to unleash the creativity within you and your clients? Do you want to understand how thoughts and emotions are expressed through art making? Do you want to know how you can increase strength and facilitate well-being through the process of making art? Do you want to increase your understanding of imagery and symbolism of art?

Who is the course for?

The course is intended for everyone interested in art therapy, including those who seek to study and work with art therapy professionally. The course is also useful for professionals who are searching for a better understanding of the art-making process in order to facilitate well-being and personal development of their clients and students.

Course Content

Insight into the basic concepts and methods of art therapy is offered in the course by means of lectures, reading, written assignments, discussions and workshops, whereby students take part in the creative process and experience the opportunities facilitated. Knowledge of one’s own art making increases self-awareness and gives participants the tools to help others who might find themselves in trouble. A number of ways to create artwork will be introduced in the course, with the aim of increasing creativity, strengthening identity, fostering communication, facilitating self-awareness and improving well-being. Prior knowledge or experience of art is not required for participation.

Further Information

One of the course locations is the Continuing Education Department at the University of Akureyri. For further information please contact us via email: or

Basic concepts and methods of art therapy


Sixteen years ago, art teacher and compulsory school teacher Ásta Þórisdóttir attended the Introductory Course I – What is Art Therapy? She says:

“The knowledge I gained from attending the course has been of great use to me throughout my career of working with children and adolescents, and it still is. I learned to understand that the art created by the children and teenagers who I work with has important underlying meanings. What I learned in the course has proved useful for understanding a wide variety of symbols and signs in the artwork.

My understanding of the art has in some cases opened up a dialogue with the students which I have then been able to share with other professionals. For example, I have managed to present difficulties which the children express in their artwork at team meetings with other professionals.

Sometimes the message in the children’s artwork is quite clear. Art teachers and other staff are in a perfect position for developing an understanding of an individual’s condition and overall well-being through the images they create. I think the course should be part of the core of teacher education programmes. I would be the first person to attend a continuing art therapy foundation course for professionals.”

Sonný Hilma Þorbjörnsdóttir, teacher and artist:

“What you offered to us who participated in the course was an opportunity to stop, look, review and rethink. Your presence allowed us a certain freedom to be, just be present there and then in the moment, which can only be created through respect for the individual and belief in the individual's abilities. You gave us a framework and I think we all adjusted to it without fear of being judged. What we learned about art therapy and the insight you provided into that world was immeasurably valuable for me. Giving keys to that world to someone who is ready to open up will increase our possibilities to work on and support ourselves and others. You are a great teacher, Unnur, and hopefully I will get the chance of meeting you again soon and experience and learn more and more and more.”

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