Gwen J. Sanders, PhD, ATR-BC, LMFT

Gwen Sanders headshot

Assistant Professor of Art Therapy, Program Practicum Director

Art Therapy

School of Liberal Arts and Education

Gwen taught at Notre Dame de Namur University (NDNU) in the Art Therapy Psychology department for over twenty years as an Assistant Professor and the Clinical Practicum Director. In addition, she taught at CIIS (California Institute of Integral Studies) in San Francisco in their Expressive Arts Program and UC Berkeley Extension’s Post Master’s Art Therapy Certificate program. At UC Berkeley, she was the Art Therapy Program Coordinator, providing group art therapy with severely emotionally disturbed youth and their families for seven years and eleven years as a Clinical Supervisor in outpatient school based programs.

Gwen has had a private practice in Oakland since 1996. She was an Employee Assistance Professional (EAP) counselor at the main branch of the Oakland Post Office. She worked overseas as a Military Family Life Consultant (MFLC) for the U.S. Army in Europe on four separate assignments in both Germany and Italy for thirty to forty five days each.


Notre Dame de Namur University, PhD, Art Therapy 

College of Notre Dame, MA, Marriage and Family Therapy, Art Therapy Concentration 

California College of Arts and Crafts, BFA

Research Interests

Gwen's Master's thesis grant focused on using art therapy in multifamily groups dealing with bereavement. Her dissertation focused on the use of art therapy as a response to strong emotions (countertransference) to confusion, uncertainty and curiosity during group art therapy supervision with multiple graduate art therapy programs nationally. In 2019, Gwen authored a chapter entitled “Emerging Paradigms in Art Therapy Supervision: The Use of Response Art” in Emerging Perspectives in Art Therapy.  

Honors and Awards

  • 2019 Recipient of the American Art Therapy Association (AATA)  Distinguished Clinician Award
  • 2016 Notre Dame de Namur University’s most prestigious student nominated George M. Keller Award for teaching excellence
  • HLM and Past President of the Northern California Art Therapy Association (NorCATA)