Gwen J. Sanders, MA, MFT, ATR-BCGwen Sanders

Assistant Adjunct Professor, Graduate Art Therapy Program

Gwen Sanders, MFT, ATR-BC, is an adjunct assistant professor and the MFT practicum coordinator/program director in the Art Therapy Psychology Graduate program at Notre Dame de Namur University. Gwen is adjunct faculty in the Expressive Arts Graduate Program of California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. She taught in the Post Master’s Certificate Art Therapy program at UC Berkeley, extension. She is past president of the Northern California Art Therapy Association (NorCATA) from 1998-2000 and served on the Board for seven years. In 1991 she developed the Art Therapy program for Seneca Center where she was the coordinator and supervisor for art therapists working within the agency for 19 years. She was a clinical supervisor in a variety of Seneca programs since 1999 but focused primarily on the Alameda county outpatient public school program in Oakland since 2002.

Gwen has extensive clinical experience where she has been: a therapist in day treatment programs with children and adults, an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) counselor for the Post Office in Oakland and in private practice, an outpatient therapist in a clinic, a hospice and bereavement support counselor and an activity director with the elderly. Gwen is a psychotherapist in private practice since 1996, provides supervision for interns and trainees (Art Therapy/Marriage & Family Therapy/Social Work), and is a Consultant and trainer to non-profit agencies, schools and art organizations. Gwen has provided brief short term solution focused problem solving overseas as a Military Family Life Consultant (MFLC) for the Army since 2006 working with soldiers and their families. She is a CAMFT Certified Supervisor since 2003. Gwen has presented papers at both the state and national art therapy conferences.


  • MA, Marital and Family Therapy. College of Notre Dame, Belmont, California, 1991.
    • AATA/ATCB & MFT (BBS) approved
    • Specialization: Art Therapy
    • Summa Cum Laude.
  • BA, Fine Arts. California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, California, 1975.
    • Honors with Distinction

Courses Taught

  • Metaphors of Child Psychopathology
  • Practicum & Seminar Clinical Supervisor & Program Director
  • Communication and Counseling Skills


  • Research Grant, Notre Dame de Namur University, April 2012.
    • Title: International Art Therapy Gratitude Research in Nicaragua: Supporting the Caregivers to Prevent Compassion Fatigue

Professional Affiliations

  • Northern California Art Therapy Association (NorCATA)
    • Legislative Advocacy Fund, Administrator/Treasurer; 2004-2010.
    • Board member, 1996-2001:
      • Director of Internal Communication, Newsletter, 2000-01.
      • Coordinator of State Art Therapy Conference, 2000, 150 attendees.
      • President 1998- 2000: Preside over all meetings; oversee, organize & communicate with AATA, Board & Membership; write quarterly newsletter updates, represent affiliate chapter at national conferences.
      • Director of Membership 1996-97: Maintain current membership database & mailings.
  • American Art Therapy Association, Inc. (AATA)
    • Publications Committee 2003-06: Help review & edit current publications.
    • Ethics Committee 2000-02: Review updated ethics documents.
    • Resolution Committee 2001: Appointment by President.
  • California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists (CAMFT)
  • East Bay California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists (EBCAMFT)

Presentations, Lectures and Conferences

  • East Bay CAMFT CEU Presentation. Art Therapy Workshop: “Clay Countertransference, Empathy Enactment”; Orinda, California, October 15, 2011.
  • American Art Therapy Association National Conference. Panel Presentation: “Awareness: Art Therapy in the Digital World”; Sacramento, California, November 2010.
  • Seneca Center, San Leandro, California
    • Outpatient School based training: “Family art genograms”; April 2010.
    • Clinical Workshop: “Art Therapy: Vicarious Trauma & Healing”, May 2009.
    • Clinical Workshop: “Clay Countertransference”; March 2007.
    • Clinical Workshops (for community): “Art Therapy with Children” (6 hours); May 2009 & May 2006; April 2005; March 2004.
    • Training: “Using Art with Youth”; December 2005.
    • Training: “Fun Activities with Youth”; August 2005.
    • Training: “Boundaries as Best Practice”; March, July 2005.
    • In-service: “Countertransference using Clay”; July 2001.
    • Clinical Training for Therapists: “Art Therapy Techniques with Families & Children”; six week case conference, Summer 1998-2000.
    • In-service: “Art Therapy with SED Youth”; June 1997.
    • In-service/s: “Art Therapy Assessments”; October, November 1995.
    • In-service/s: “Introducing Art Therapy: History & Effectiveness”; April, May, October 1992.
  • Hospice of the Valley: Hospice Foundation of America/Living with Grief: Children & Grief National & Local Panel Discussion: Panel participant/Local & national webinar: impact of violence and persistent PTSD symptoms of unresolved loss & grief on youth, families in at risk communities. 2008.
  • California College of the Arts (CCA): Guest lecturer: “Developmental stages of Adolescence” Undergraduate arts program for BA graduating „elective‟ arts; April 2008.
  • New Connections, Concord, California
    • In-service: “Introduction to Art therapy with Youth” Clinical training for school based Master’s & Doctoral Trainees/Interns; two 2 hour training; November 2005, May 2006.
  • Transpersonal Counseling Center, Palo Alto, California:
    • In-service: “Art Therapy Workshop” Clinical training for Doctoral Interns; 6 hour training for internship program; March 2005.
  • Family Resource Center, Rosa Parks School, Berkeley, California
    • In-service: “Art Therapy with Children” Clinical training for School Based Graduate Trainees; 2 hour training; November 2001, April 2004.
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Emeryville, California
    • In-service: “Art Therapy for Caregivers & Facilitators”; August 2003.
  • Davis Street Counseling Center, San Leandro, California
    • In-service: “Art Therapy” Clinical Training for School Based Graduate Trainees and Interns; March 2003.
  • State Art Therapy Conferences, Asilomar Center, Pacific Grove, California
    • Panel Presentation (Moderator): “Art as a Mirror”; June, 2002.
    • Paper Presentation: “Historical to Contemporary Blood Imagery”; June, 2002.
    • Paper Presentation: “Nine Years Later: Paintings Depicting Symbolism & Loss from a Stroke Survivor”; June, 1998.
  • San Leandro Counseling Center, San Leandro, California
    • In-service: “Art Therapy” Clinical Training for School Based Trainees & Interns; December 2001.
  • Pierce Street Integral Counseling Center, San Francisco, California
    • In-service: “Art Therapy in an Outpatient Setting” Clinical Training for Trainees; November 2001.
  • American Art Therapy Association National Conference
    • Paper Presentation: “Historical to Contemporary Blood Imagery Transitions~Graphic Projections of Pain Transformed in SED Youth”; Albuquerque, New Mexico, November 2001.
    • Paper Presentation: “Nine Years Later: Paintings Depicting Symbolism & Loss from a Stroke Survivor”; Portland, Oregon, November 1998.
  • US Postal Service, Regional EAP Training, Pacifica, California
    • In-service: “Trauma Debriefing for Clinicians using Clay”; March 2001.
    • In-service: “Art Therapy with the Elderly”; May 1999.
  • Park Day School, Oakland, California:
    • In-service: “Assessing Children Using Art Therapy”; September, 1997.
  • Health Clinic, Albany, California
    • Co Facilitator/Trainer: “Art Therapy with Eating Disorders”; June 1997.
    • Guest Lecturer: “Promoting Self Esteem Using the Arts” Women’s Addictions Group; April 1996.
  • Visiting Nurses Association of Northern California & Hospice, Emeryville, California
    • Guest Lecturer: “Art Therapy with Terminal Patients”; October 1993.