Art Therapist

Art therapists alleviate stress in patients by encouraging them express themselves through art. Art therapy decreases stress and helps people coping with substance abuse problems, depression, mental health disorders, social problems, neurological disorders, and developmental disabilities.

The following are typical art therapist responsibilities:

  • Organizing and supervising group therapy sessions
  • Assisting patients on a one-on-one basis
  • Conducting patient evaluations
  • Coordinating patient activities
  • Developing treatment plans

Where Do They Work?

Art therapists can be found working in the following:

  • Hospitals and psychiatric and medical clinics
  • Mental health and out-patient clinics
  • Drug and alcohol treatment clinics
  • Halfway houses
  • Homeless and battered women's shelters
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Community health centers
  • Universities, colleges, and elementary and secondary schools
  • Correctional facilities
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Art studios
  • Private clinics

Education and Training

Art therapists are required to hold master’s degrees in art therapy or a related field such as recreational therapy. The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) is responsible for accrediting art therapy degree programs. Curriculum included within these programs include art therapy techniques, human development, art history, research methodologies, art therapy ethics, multiculturalism, diversity, and other courses related to art therapy.

After earning a master’s degree, aspiring art therapists are permitted to apply to the Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB) for professional certification. To become certified, candidates must prove they’ve completed required clinical hours and provide supervisor or other professional recommendations. After satisfying ATCB certification requirements, candidates can take the Board Certification (ATR-BC) assessment. This test is offered once a year at multiple locations nationwide.

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