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Caldwell University has received a grant from The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey to expand its graduate programming in art therapy. The $95,600 grant will support the expansion and modernization of art therapy program space on campus and establish new supervisory fellowships at mental health agency internship sites in the Newark, New Jersey area.

A new dedicated Art Therapy Center will feature a dynamic learning environment with workshop and classroom spaces equipped with state of the art technology, such as digital smartboards, tablets and iMac© personal computers and collaborative office and art display areas.

Graduate student interns will work with vulnerable children at sites like the Youth Consultation Service and The Essex County Mental Health Center and with seniors at the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey and Daughters of Israel.

Annette Vaccaro, Caldwell University associate professor of counseling and clinical coordinator, points out that Caldwell student interns provide over 9,500 hours annually at sites ranging from physical rehabilitation to pediatric units to schools and programs that serve those facing mental health problems.  “This grant will allow us to reach more sites and the most vulnerable populations who may not have the language to express themselves in words but can accept an offer to make art for self-expression and healing.”

Marsha Atkind, executive director/CEO of the Healthcare Foundation added, “We at the Foundation are keenly aware of the positive impact that art therapy can have on people suffering with various mental health challenges – people who often cannot express themselves adequately in other ways.  We are proud to have been able to support this important work.”

The art therapy graduate program prepares students to become licensed mental health counselors and registered art therapists. Caldwell offers three levels of training in art therapy. The undergraduate double major in art and psychology with art therapy concentration prepares students for entry into the M.A. in mental health counseling with art therapy specialization, the post-graduate M.A. in art therapy is designed for professionals who already hold a graduate degree in a related field but want to become art therapists, and the M.A. in mental health counseling with art therapy specialization. The Mental Health Counseling Degree with Art Therapy specialization program was the first program of its kind in the nation to become accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Program, and the first and only graduate art therapy program in New Jersey.

About the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey

The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey is an independent, endowed grant-making organization dedicated to reducing disparities in the delivery of healthcare and improving access to quality healthcare for vulnerable populations in the greater Newark, NJ area and the Jewish community of MetroWest NJ. To this end, the Foundation has granted over $133 million in its 20 year history.