AAGT Onsite Components

1)  AAGT Core Courses (12 hours)

Core Courses equip learners with a theoretical and conceptual scaffold for incorporating the expressive arts into meaning reconstruction grief work with individuals, groups, or communities.  The principles and practices of the expressive arts, the architecture of an expressive arts session, and benefits of using multimodal expressive approaches in grief work will be examined in relation to the meaning making process.  Consideration will be given to various factors in selecting a particular medium, including but not limited to the expressive qualities of various materials and categorical distinctions in the arts disciplines, developmental considerations, evidence for their use in practice, as well as the orientation and preferences of the therapist.  Case examples will be used to examine the use of the expressive arts with various types of loss and populations, as well as various settings.  These Core Courses are offered in a series of 90-minute mini-workshops covering the following essential areas:

  • Principles and Practices of the expressive arts

  • Architecture of an expressive arts therapy

  • Materials and methods for meaning making

  • Expressive art therapy, trauma and neuroscience

2)  AAGT Techniques Modules (9 hours)

Each module is nested within additional days of workshops, and is focused on a specific AAGT technique.  Learners pursuing AAGT Specialized Certification are required to learn six techniques at any location in the world in which such training is offered. 

3)  AAGT Case Studies (4.5 hours)

Each case study is embedded within a full-day workshop.  It consists of a case conceptualization exercise or videotaped clinical session with close attention to the therapist’s clinical reasoning process and reading of the client’s need and readiness to engage in art-assisted meaning reconstruction activities.  


When offered onsite, Case Studies commonly bridge from viewing to doing through a  Practicum component, in which learners engage in reflective analysis with coaching from Portland Institute faculty.  By alternating naturally between reflective observation, concrete learning exercises and active experimentation, as well as reflective conceptualization, learners complete a full cycle of experiential learning through direct engagement with the nuances of AAGT in meaning reconstruction in the wake of loss.  Learners are required to complete three case studies at any location in the world for AAGT Specialized Certification.

4)  AAGT Practicum Studio  (6 hours)
Learners work individually or in small groups in order to examine the meaning making process using different artistic modalities, with Portland Institute faculty serving as coaches.  Art materials will be provided in the AAGT Practicum Studio to facilitate creative engagement with the materials, both familiar and unfamiliar, in an environment that prompts experimentation and deep personal process work to widen learning.  A variety of losses, including traumatic loss, will be examined.  Learners are required to complete four sessions for AAGT Specialized Certification.

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