What Is Art Therapy?
Have you always wondered what art therapy entails? Are you interested in becoming an art therapist? Art therapists work with patients to help them recognize and creatively express their thoughts or emotions and enhance their mental well-being. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
About Art Therapy
According to the American Art Therapy Association (AATA), art therapy is based on the belief that the creative process can help patients resolve psychological conflicts and work through their emotions (www.arttherapy.org). As an art therapist, you'll encourage patients to creatively express themselves and then analyze their work, incorporating theories related to symbolism, non-verbal communication and psychotherapy. Art therapy patients may engage in painting, drawing, sculpture or other visual art forms.
When Is Art Therapy Used?
You'll find that art therapy is used to explore a patient's mental health in ways other than what verbal therapy is capable of doing. Art therapists believe images can provide insight into a patient's subconscious thoughts and emotions. By exploring images and the subconscious, art therapists treat patients of all ages with various mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, trauma and neurological disorders. Many hospitals, clinical facilities and public health organizations include art therapy programs among their options for treatment.
Educational Requirements For Art Therapists
If you're interested in working as an art therapist, you'll need a graduate degree. Some schools offer master's degrees in art therapy. You'll likely wish to look for art therapy programs that are AATA-approved. Some such programs include clinical work in the first year of study. You'll also take courses on cross-cultural counseling, child development and art therapy as it pertains to psychopathology.
Becoming A Certified Art Therapist
Once you finish your degree and complete at least 1,000 hours of postgraduate professional experience, you may apply for the Registered Art Therapist (ATR) professional credential. The Art Therapy Credentials Board offers this credential (www.atcb.org). Once you're a registered art therapist, you may then take a written exam to become a Board Certified Art Therapist (ATR-BC). You may also be qualified for more advanced credentials, such as the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) designation in your state.