Welcome to CECAT. We’re delighted to have you visit.
You’ll find out all about our Director and Senior Lecturer and a little about the story of our college below.
Director | Senior Lecturer
Robert P. Gray
Registered Art Therapist and Psychologist
MA A. Th., AThR; B. Soc. Sc. (Psych.) (Hons.), AAPi., MAPS., BA. Theol. (Hons), MA Theol.
A highly regarded art therapy lecturer from Germany, Robert Gray has degrees in art therapy, psychology and theology. As a psychologist, he is able to present art therapy practices in an evidence-based context which further facilitates a well-founded and comprehensible training program. He leads the field in art therapy with his unique integration of psychological techniques and spiritual practices.
Robert is the founder and director of the College for Educational and Clinical Art Therapy. While he devotes his primary focus and energy to CECAT, as a sought-after speaker, Rob accepts select invitations to teach art therapy across Australia and around the world. For instance, he currently lectures on art therapy in a two-year full-time Masters Degree.
Such is his expertise and influence on the subject, we believe that CECAT’s online certificate and diploma courses are the best alternative to study art therapy if you’re unable to study at one of the universities in your country.
Robert Gray is a member of the Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapies Association (ANZACATA) He is registered with the Psychology Board of Australia (PBA) and a member of the Australian Association of Psychologists Inc (AAPi) and the Australian Psychological Society (APS). He offers clinical supervision (online) for students and professionals in many countries.
Robert is also the author of the book Art Therapy and Psychology.
Hands-on and rich with supportive study tools, it includes numerous case studies to which the reader can relate. The book is essential reading for art therapists in training and in practice, psychologists and mental health professionals looking to establish or grow their expertise.
Early Days & An Unfolding Journey
The idea of CECAT started 17 years ago. At the time, Robert Gray was working at Forster Community Health Centre as a Children, Young People and Family Counsellor, Art Therapist and Psychologist. His colleagues at Forster approached him to teach them the principles of art therapy in order to use the insights and skills gained to assist them in working with their clients. Through these lectures, the idea of CECAT turned into a vision that continues to inspire both Rob and his students today.
Rob studied art therapy for five years in Germany and was fortunate to benefit from many of the greatest minds and most experienced clinicians in this field. Coming from Germany—where Freudian (a refreshed version of it without the sexism) and Jungian work is widely accepted—he was excited and thrilled to find out that people in Australia showed a real interest in working with the unconscious.
Rob’s mother was a psychologist and Freudian psychoanalyst. Throughout his upbringing, he spent many hours learning from her and discussing different theories with her. Even from those early days, his primary interest lay in finding out how to identify a person’s unconscious content in order to assist and help them grow, and where necessary, heal and recover. Rob’s father was a philosopher and an author who took a strong worldly approach in his life. This created a lot of discussion around topics like “Does God exist?” and “What is the evidence for it?”.
After experiencing the painful divorce of his parents, Rob followed his heart, studying theology and pastoral counselling for 10 years. Shortly after the birth of his beautiful children, Rob explored the teachings of Buddha. The wisdom of these teachings appealed to him deeply, especially the idea of becoming more patient, letting go of attachments and understanding the transience of emotions. “Buddhism for Mothers” became a mantra for him (a father’s version did not exist). Along with this deepening spiritual understanding, Rob embarked on another degree to strengthen his foundation in psychotherapy, studying psychology in Australia for a further five years.
An Enriched Journey & Our Growing Influence
The College for Educational and Clinical Art Therapy (CECAT) was born out of this journey, a mixture of psychology, theology and philosophy that is grounded in a passion to make this world a better place for all people, now and well into the future. This venture is further enriched by a real interest in the environment, a value underscored by Rob’s wife, a National Park Ranger—who brings a wonderful sense of completeness to his life … and constantly reminds him to take along his ‘Keep Cup’ to town in the fight against increasing landfill.
Serving as a psychotherapist for 26 years, Rob has taught art therapy in Australia for 17 years and his influence has spread across the world over the past decade. He has worked with more than a thousand students from across Australia and has had the pleasure of teaching in 36 different countries to date. While this widespread reach wasn’t necessarily the plan in the beginning, his influence has grown organically over the years as more and more students have benefitted from his work.
In the same vein, the idea of online art therapy courses emerged organically. Rob recalls being asked by a student from Perth in 2010, “Can I do this course through distance education?” Initially, he hesitated, unsure whether such courses were, in fact, made available by anyone on the world stage. Seeing her hunger to learn, and knowing she represented many who were just as eager to study the concepts and power of art therapy, Rob pioneered the online program made available via this website. And the rest, as they say, is history.