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What Is Art Therapy? Art therapy is a form of expressive therapy, in which clients, facilitated by an art therapist, use the creative process of making art to explore their feelings. Art therapists use the process of self-expression, and the resulting artwork to help clients understand their emotional conflicts, develop social skills, improve self-esteem, manage addictions, reduce anxiety, and restore normal function to their lives.
Who Can Benefit from Art Therapy? Research shows that art therapy benefits diverse client populations, and can be effective in a variety of formats. Art therapists work with people of all ages and challenges in life, including patients with severe behavioral problems and addictions, to clients without medical or psychological issues who are simply looking for personal insight into their lives. Art therapy is most commonly recommended for people with medical, educational, developmental, or psycho-social impairment.
Art therapy is also an effective treatment for people dealing with the following issues: Individuals who are struggling with frightening memories or upsetting emotions as a result of trauma, combat or abuse Persons with serious medical health conditions or disabilities such as traumatic brain injury, cancer, depression, autism, anti-social personality or dementia Couples attempting to reconcile emotional conflicts Individuals seeking personal growth and increased self-esteem People experiencing stress, anxiety, and other problematic behaviors.
The underlying goal of art therapy is to improve or restore a client's functioning and his or her personal feelings of well-being. This begins with an art therapist encouraging the client to engage in the creative process, to explore their feelings, and to enjoy the pleasures of making art. Art therapy does not require the client to be talented or an artist, to experience the benefits. An art therapist's job is not to teach art or critique a client’s work, instead, art therapists work with clients to dive into the underlying messages communicated through their art, and combine psychotherapeutic counseling techniques to promote personal development, foster self-awareness, and build coping skills.
Where Do Art Therapists Work? Art therapists practice in a variety of traditional settings including hospitals, rehabilitation care units, assisted living centers, psychiatric facilities, senior communities and schools. They also work in some less familiar settings like wellness centers, forensic institutions, clinical research facilities, detention centers, and crisis centers. Private practice is also very common for professionals who specialize in art therapy.
What Are the Education Requirements to Become an Art Therapist? Art therapy is a mental health profession, first and foremost. The practice of art therapy requires an educational background in human development, psychological and behavioral disorders, counseling theories, and therapeutic techniques. The minimum educational standards established by American Art Therapy Association require all entry level practitioners of art therapy to have a master's degree from an institution of higher learning recognized by a regional accrediting body approved by the Council for Higher Education Education (CHEA).
Art therapists must also have a strong understanding of visual art. Art therapy often embraces a variety of art forms, such as sculpture, painting, drawing and others, so a practitioner of art therapy must have experience working with these art mediums, and the ability to guide a client through the creative process. What Is the Average Annual Salary of an Art Therapist? Art therapy salaries are influenced by such factors such as experience, location, and the ability of a practitioner to market themselves (if in private practice).
For this example, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics considers art therapists as recreational therapists for salary purposes. Data published supports the fact that professionals working in areas of higher population density (major metropolitan areas) will earn higher salaries. In 2014, art therapists, who fall under the broad category of recreational therapists, earned a annual average salary of $46,060.
Professionals in the top 10 percent of the category earned $69,230. Additional Resources and Further Reading Related Articles Related Careers
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Artwork plays a vibrant role during the personal life of your individual as well as from the social and economic development from the nation. The study of Visible arts encourages personal development plus the awareness of both our cultural heritage as well as role of art from the society. The learner acquires personal knowledge, skills and competencies through activities in Visible arts. When one studies Visual arts, he/she would come to appreciate or have an understanding of that art is an integral part of everyday life.
Thinking about becoming an art therapist? First, make sure you understand what art therapy is. We use the term “art therapy” more loosely on this site than some other sites, but we also have a different mission and like the play on words. If you’re familiar with art therapy as a career and are seriously considering becoming an art therapist, then here are some good general guidelines to becoming one.
Self Assessment Before you go down the path of becoming an art therapist (becoming educated, trained, licensed, certified and registered), it’s important to understand the demands of the profession and to consider whether you are not only capable of meeting those demands, but that you are also likely to enjoy being an art therapist. As an art therapist, you may or may not be lucky enough to pick which age group you work with.
This age group can range anywhere from kids to seniors. Since this is a therapy-related profession, it helps to have most or all of these qualities: good listener, empathetic, patience, communication skills, understanding of art and creative media. Ultimately, it’s best if you are passionate about helping people through creativity. Location Matters It’s important to understand the standards and requirements for your particular region.
For example, some countries do not identify an “art therapist” as a true profession, and therefore have no regulation around it. So, guess what? It’s pretty easy to call yourself an art therapist and therefore work as one. However, as examples, in the United States and the United Kingdom, these standards and requirements are dictated by the American Art Therapy Association and British Association of Art Therapists, respectively.
Education An art therapy education is the first big step in becoming an art therapist. In countires where the art therapist profession is regulated, you are almost certainly going to need a Master’s Degree from an accredited school offering an art therapy program. Check with your local/national art therapy organization for the most current list of accredited schools. It’s probably also ideal, and may even be required, for you to participate in an art therapy internship.
Not only will this help you gain some experience, but interning in different settings is likely to help you decide with whome and where you might like to work. Tip: It’s also a good idea to check with your local art therapy organization for any potential grants and/or scholarships. Art Therapist Certification & Licensing Art therapy is still pretty young as a profession, so it’s important to check with your local art therapy organization for proper certification & requirements.
Not all locations require certification to legally practice art therapy, so it’s beneficial to understand exactly what these requirements are. In the U.S., the Art Therapy Certifications Board (ATCB) is a good place to start. Even if it’s not required, it’s usually a good idea to be come registered and board certified (ATR-BC). Searching for Art Therapist Jobs There are various places online to find art therapist jobs and related jobs that use art as therapy.
The more places you search and apply, the better your chances. If location is vital, then you can typically narrow your search to where you’d like to work. It’s important to remember that some areas will have more opportunities than others, some will have more competition, etc. It’s also important to realize that an art therapist’s salary may not be what you’d like it to be. This is another reason to understand the importance of loving what you do.
Stay tuned for more information and, if you’re an art therapist, leave your suggestions in the comments below. You can also see what Featured Artist / Art Therapist Sara Roizen had to say about becoming an art therapist.
Title: How To Become An Art Therapist