UMF announces new Masters in Counseling program with an emphasis on creative arts for fall 2020

FARMINGTON, ME  (April 15, 2020)—The University of Maine at Farmington is excited to announce it will be offering an innovative, new Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology with an Emphasis in Creative Arts program, for fall 2020.

One of only three similar programs in the United States, the new master’s program is designed to provide a solid clinical foundation while also integrating creative and expressive arts into the practice of counseling and psychotherapy.

“More than ever, Farmington is looking to meet the needs of the citizens of Maine,” said University of Maine at Farmington President Edward Serna. “Counseling professionals are in high demand now and will be in the future. This specialized graduate program will provide the highest level of professional preparation and support for undergraduate students, working professionals and adult learners.”

Natasha Lekes, UMF associate professor of psychology, teaching in the classroom

(Second from left) Natasha Lekes, UMF associate professor of psychology, guides student discussion with seniors Brandon Martin from Falmouth, Sam Melgar from Gardiner, and Jen Hart from Oakland.

The program promotes the development of counseling skills through professional and clinical training and immersion in various artistic modalities, including music, painting and creative writing.

This unique approach to counseling is relevant to a wide variety of individuals, including special populations for whom traditional talk therapy is inappropriate, such as children, the elderly and those with dementia or autism.

The U.S. Veterans Administration notes that counseling utilizing creative arts therapies may be especially beneficial for those who are resistive to other treatment approaches. This includes veterans with chronic pain, neurocognitive disorders, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorder.

“Maine has a growing need for qualified, effective counselors to meet the mental health needs of our communities,” says Natasha Lekes, UMF associate professor of psychology. “In developing this program, we have drawn on the strengths of the UMF psychology department as well as the expertise of mental health professionals, such as Lisa Henry, LCPC, who brings a wealth of experience as a Maine-based counselor and clinical supervisor.”

“We are excited because we have a strong undergraduate psychology program, one that is theoretically eclectic, grounded in the scientist practitioner model, and focused on experiential learning, and now we get to take these strengths and extend them to the graduate level.”

To help meet the time management needs of working professionals and adult learners, the program adopts a hybrid model, with classes delivered online and once a week in person.

Graduates of the program are prepared to serve their communities as creative, productive, service-oriented leaders in the counseling profession. With appropriate post-graduate experience, graduates are qualified to sit for the Maine State Licensing Exam to become a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC).

The master’s program will further provide an opportunity for high achieving undergraduate students to participate in an integrated 3+2 program in Creative Arts Counseling at UMF. Students enrolled in the program can take a broad range of courses at the undergraduate level, including psychology, art, music and creative writing.

The liberal arts curriculum at UMF serves as an ideal foundation for graduate-level courses in counseling and the creative arts.  Moreover, participating students will get a head start on securing practicum and internship sites and obtaining individualized career guidance.

For more information visit:  or contact Erin Connor, UMF associate dean for Graduate and Continuing Education, or 207-778-7186.

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Photo Caption: (Second from left) Natasha Lekes, UMF associate professor of psychology, guides student discussion with seniors Brandon Martin from Falmouth, Sam Melgar from Gardiner, and Jen Hart from Oakland.
Photo Credit: UMF Image

April Mulherin
UMF Associate Director for Media Relations
office: 207-778-7081
cell: 207-491-0064

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