Miyo Pimâtisiwin

Canada's First Fully Indigenized 

Expressive Arts Therapy Diploma

The arts have always been central to Indigenous peoples’ lives and communities. Engaging with the arts is part of understanding our ways of knowing and living as whole beings. In the Expressive Arts Therapy program, we come together in community to learn how to use the arts in different ways to overcome difficulties and build strength, working with individuals, groups and the community as a whole.

In the Indigenized Expressive Arts, we use the arts to connect with our spirits, our bodies, our minds, and our emotions. We use the arts to connect with each other, with the land, and to our ancestral wisdom. Our approach relies on a holistic view of ourselves that integrates theatre, spoken word, movement, poetry, land-based arts, and traditional craft while strengthening inner resources, learning, and healing. 


You will learn the skills of a therapist in the companion role, walking alongside your client, group, or community on their journey towards healing, reparation, and re-connection.

The learning spaces are interactive and experiential. Learning occurs in community with Indigenous faculty who bring their lived experience working as helpers, therapists, teachers, and artists.

Our Healing Arts programs are designed around 4 central themes which are woven throughout our courses, and all terms:


Walking Our Talk: We honor our Gifts and resilience as Wounded Healers, and prioritize self-care as central to a sustainable life-long practice as a helper. We endeavor to model wellness, peace building and ethical behavior as necessary for a good life - miyo pimâtisiwin.


Embracing Cultural knowledge: We seek ways to embrace, restore, and revitalize cultural connections through embracing the power of Stories, Ceremonies and Indigenous Languages, and the Arts as Teachers; and acknowledge the fundamental necessity of land-based teachings to help us Reconnect, Respect and Protect Mother Earth.


Recognizing Collective Trauma: We recognize the interconnectedness of Personal, Historical, Ancestral, and Collective Trauma, and that healing through arts-based, trauma-informed, and strength-oriented perspectives necessarily includes enhancing personal wellbeing, addressing social inequities, and inspiring social change.


Restoring Relationality: We acknowledge the importance of restoring and rebuilding respectful Family, Community, Tribal, and Societal Relations, and embrace harmony with All Our Relations, as the core of integration and healing.

The Indigenized Expressive Art Therapy Diploma spans the course of two summer intensives and 2.5 full academic years. It includes 500+ hours of coursework, practicum supported by EagleVision, research support including arts-based studio exploration, and 20 hours of writing support. Students complete a final project/thesis as part of their learning opportunities. 

Within the Indigenized Expressive Arts Therapy Diploma, participants engage in and apply a range of healing arts, like spoken word, movement, drama, beadwork, ceremony, ecoArts, and other visual arts,  with possibilities to apply their learnings in practicum settings including their workplaces and personal lives, families, communities, classrooms, and activist projects.   Students take a Practicum Skills class, and complete 300 hours of practicum with accompanying EagleVision support.Throughout the two and a half years of the program, students will be encouraged to bring examples from applied expressive arts in their lives, workplaces, and practica to develop healing skills in community and in our classrooms at WHEAT Institute.  This program attracts social workers, health practitioners, community leaders, artists, community activists, teachers, occupational therapists, women's shelter workers and others from a variety of walks of life, all of whom are interested in understanding and utilizing expressive arts for healing and changing societal structures.  

If you want first to taste the flavour of our offerings, and/or want to build your own capacity to engage in this work, you are also welcome to enter the Indigenized Expressive Arts Diploma program through first enrolling in the Indigenized Expressive Arts Certificate (IEAC).  All courses completed in the IEAC can be directly transferred for credit in the Indigenized Expressive Arts Diploma.

May 2021 update: The 2021 Indigenized Expressive Arts Therapy cohort begins their program on July 2nd. All summer classes will be offered online. In-person programming will resume in conjunction with lifting of COVID restrictions, likely in 2022. We are hopeful for future face to face and land-based gatherings, while still including ongoing options for online participation. 

For more information about the Indigenized Expressive Arts Therapy Diploma contact WHEAT Institute at or register here.

A copy of our course of study schedule is available upon request.

Indigenous Drumming at Culture Days.jpg
Niki art.png

Current Requirements

Graduates of this program will have the training necessary to begin the registration process as professional members of the Ontario Expressive Arts Therapy Association (OEATA registers Expressive Arts Therapists with a 500 + hours training program plus thesis / final project), as well as the  the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association as either Registered Expressive Arts Therapists (REAT) or Registered Expressive Arts Consultant/Educators (REACE). In their own words, "The International Expressive Arts Therapy Association supports artists, educators, consultants and therapists using multi-modal arts processes for personal and community transformation. We provide a global forum for dialogue; promote guiding principles for professional practice, and work to increase recognition and use of expressive arts as a powerful tool for psychological, physical and spiritual wellness." WHEAT Founder and Director Darci Adam collaborated with IEATA to co-host their annual conference in 2017 titled: Indigenous Roots of Expressive Arts: Transformation, Social Justice, and Social Change, Locally and Globally

If you have a Bachelor's degree you may apply to register through the Association of Cooperative Counselling Therapists of Canada or the Ontario Expressive Arts Therapy Association.


If you have a Master's degree you may apply to register as a REAT. REACE candidates may follow the Formal (Master's degree required) or Informal Pathway (combination of work experience and training - no Master's degree required). Click here for further information on REACE registration. Work hours completed as part of an educational requirement (practicum, internship) can be accepted if they meet all requirements for work experience. A maximum of 200 hours may be earned in this manner. IEATA will accept additional work experience that may have happened prior to or simultaneous with an educational program. 100 hours of work experience may be accepted for expressive arts research and articles and publications under the category of Research and Publications. This will include hours of work students spend on their final research projects outside of class contact time with instructors.

Registration with the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA) is dependent on qualifications as assessed by IEATA. Further information can be found on IEATA's webpage here

Developmental Psychology (3 credits) and Abnormal Psychology or Psychopathology (3 credits) must be completed as prerequisites or during the program.

Students will be required to have received at least 25 hours of expressive arts or art therapy prior to or during the program as part of their learning.


Current Application Process

Application Deadlines: We are currently accepting registration for next year's 2022 Indigenized Expressive Arts Therapy cohort, which will begin in July 2022. There are a limited number of seats available and spots will be reserved as applications are received. The application deadline is May 31, 2022.


Applicants are selected based on past academic records or a PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition), a 500-word letter of intent and three letters of recommendation.

Applicants must also submit: Documentation of previous art-making experience, current Resume (reflecting some experience in clinical, rehabilitative, community and/or educational settings), Child Abuse Registry and Criminal Record Check. Registration fee of $225 is due at that time. The Director and/or selection committee will interview potential participants. Confirmation of acceptance to the Diploma Program will occur within two weeks of application. Training completion fund of $234.90 plus materials fee of $200 are due upon acceptance and signing of the Tuition Contract. In 2021 students will provide their own art supply kit - details provided upon registration.



Current Fees

There is no GST on any of our fees or tuition. All fees are listed in Canadian (CAD) dollars. Training is tax deductible, see more information here.

Tuition Fees for Expressive Arts Therapy Diploma: $23,490.00 CAD
* Term payments are calculated on the course hours you complete in the given period. An estimate will be provided to each student upon acceptance.
Term 1 due June 15
Term 2 due September 30
Term 3 due January 15
Term 4 due June 1
Term 5 due September 30
Term 6 due January 15

Additional Fees:

$225.00 CAD Non-refundable Registration Fee due upon registration (part of the application process)

$200.00 CAD Non-refundable Supply Fee due upon acceptance  

$234.90 for Non-refundable Training Completion Fund (TCF) fee due upon acceptance. See details of the purpose of this fund here.

$50.00 CAD Graduation Fee due in final term

Practicum / Thesis Extension for all Diploma Programs:

Students will be considered graduates following completion of the Practicum as well as having completed and received a passing grade on the final project / thesis. There are fees of $1600 / term for Practicum Extension and $1000 / term for Thesis Extension.