Diptic“What is art therapy?!”  I’m frequently addressed with this question and it’s my motto that no question is a dumb question. So, if you find yourself curious about the profession of art therapy in counseling, please read on!

Creativity is one of the most important qualities you can develop. Simply put, art therapy is about expressing yourself, your emotions, and what’s going on around you. It’s about problem solving and thinking outside of the box. Art Therapy focuses on the process and experience of art rather than the product itself.

Art Therapists are counselors that use art as a tool for communication and emotional healing, encouraging clients to express and understand their emotions through their own artistic expression and creative process.

The American Art Therapy Association defines Art Therapy as a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making within the context of a professional therapeutic relationship to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight.

Common Misconceptions About Art Therapy:

+ Only “artists” benefit from art therapy

+ Art therapy is only for children and not for adults

+ The art therapist will be able to know secrets about you just by looking at your art workphoto-38

+ Art therapy is like going to an art class. 

+ Art therapists are not real therapists or counselors

+ Only people who are currently struggling with many BIG issues should seek art therapy

+ Any therapist can call themselves an “art therapist” as long as they do art during their sessions with clients

+ An art therapist cannot be your primary therapist

+ It will be awkward during art therapy sessions because the art therapist will just stare in silence while I draw

+ You will have to make art during every art therapy session

Where Do Art Therapists Work?

Art Therapists use art in treatment, assessment and research, and provide consultationng homes; corporate structures; open studios and independent practicess to allied professionals. Art therapists work with people of all ages: individuals, couples, families, groups, and communities. They provide services, individually and as part of clinical teams, in settings that include mental health, rehabilitation, medical and forensic institutions; community outreach programs; wellness centers; schools; nursing homes; corporate structures; open studios, and independent practices.

Educational Requirements:

Wade_0045Art Therapists are professionals trained in both art and counseling/ therapy. They are knowledgeable about human development, psychological theories, clinical practice, spiritual, multicultural, and artistic traditions, as well as the healing potential of art.

A master’s degree is required for entry-level practice in art therapy. Minimum educational and professional standards are established by the American Art Therapy Association.

The Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB) is an independent organization that grants credentials. Registration (ATR) is approved upon completion of graduate education and post-graduate supervised experience. Board Certification (ATR-BC) is granted to Registered Art Therapists after completion of a national exam and continued education.

Art Therapy as a Career:

I’m often contacted by individuals desiring more information on the field of art therapy. If you have questions, I may have answers! Please check out this blog post and don’t hesitate to contact me directly at artstoriesstudio@gmail.com.