FAQ and Links

Where do art therapists work?

Art Therapists work in a variety of settings as primary or adjunct therapists. Locations can be hospitals, private practice, mental health agencies, school systems, and community art studios. 

What media do art therapist use?

Art Therapists use a wide variety of media like clay, sculpture materials, craft supplies, paint, chalk, and pencils. They are trained to also help teach people how to use media as part of the process and know how to use certain media as a way to enhance the therapeutic process for an individuals needs. The final product is always viewed in non-judgmental ways and clients have visual progress of therapy in their artwork.

Who do art therapist work with? Kids? Adults? Disabled?

People of all abilities and ages can benefit from art therapy. Clients do not require special art training or talent. The creative process can provide individuals with an alternative way to communicate feelings that may be too difficult to be put into words or that words along cannot describe.

What are professional standards in art therapy?

The professional standards for training involve master's degree level work in art therapy or another related field with 24 semester hours of additional art therapy training.

Master’s level art therapy training usually lasts two to three years and includes most of the curriculum a counseling psychology program would cover, as well as a curriculum concerning the utilization of art materials in the therapeutic process. Students typically fulfill one or two practicum internships and have supervision with an art therapist, as well as with other supervisors in social services, educational, and mental health settings. Ethically art therapists go by the same standards, which any counseling professional would adhere to.

Where can I get trained to be an art therapist? 

There are a variety of master level training programs in art therapy. In the United States there are approximately thirty masters level programs and 5 Doctoral. The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) sets educational and credentialing standards for art therapy training programs and practicing professionals. Programs that are accredited have been approved by AATA. In addition, many of these programs offer a Post-Master's Certification in Art Therapy after completing an M.A. in a related field.
 

There are two training programs in the Pacific Northwest:
Antioch University in Seattle (http://www.AntiochSea.edu or telephone number (206)441-5352)
Marylhurst near Portland, Oregon (http://www.Marylhurst.edu or (503) 636-9526).
  

I'm thinking about becoming an art therapist. How can I find out more info?

Besides searching on the internet and reading books or articles, the best starting point is to talk with an art therapist and explore what they like about their work, how they became an art therapist, and starting to ask yourself what the appeal is for you.  This website has a page to find art therapists in Washington state. 


Suggested Art Therapy Readings:
Special thanks to Rebecca Bloom for providing this list.

Easy to read:
1.    Malchiodi, C.A. (2006). Art therapy sourcebook.  New York: Guildford

2.    Barber, V (2002) Explore Yourself Through Art: Creative Projects to Help You Achieve Personal Insight & Growth & Promote Problem Solving.  Plume.

Advanced readings:
3.    Allen, P. (2005). Art Is a Spiritual Path.  Boston: Shambhala.

4.    Allen, P. (1995) Art Is a Way of Knowing.  Boston: Shambhala.

5.    Hagood, M. (2000). Use of art in counseling child and adult survivors of sexual abuse. Philadelphia:  Jessica Kingsley Publications.

6.    Linesch, D. (1990). Adolescent art therapy. Taylor & Francis.

7.    Shirley, S. (2001). Group process made visible: Group art therapy. Philadelphia:  Brunner-Routledge.

8.    Wadeson, H. (2000). Art therapy practice: Innovative approaches with diverse populations. New York: John Wiley.
 

American Art Therapy Association

http://www.arttherapy.org
The American Art Therapy Association, Inc. (AATA) is a national association dedicated to the belief that the creative process involved in the making of art is healing and life enhancing. Founded in 1969 AATA is a not-for-profit organization of approximately 4,750 professionals and students that has established standards for art therapy education, ethics, and practice. AATA committees actively work on professional and educational development, national conferences, regional symposia, publications, governmental affairs, public awareness, research, and other activities that enhance the practice of art therapy.

Art Therapy Credentials Board

http://www.atcb.org
The Art Therapy Credentials Board, Inc. (ATCB), an independent organization, grants postgraduate registration (ATR) after reviewing documentation of completion of graduate education and postgraduate supervised experience. The Registered Art Therapist who successfully completes the written examination administered by the ATCB is qualified as Board Certified (ATR-BC), a credential requiring maintenance through continuing education credits.

Good Therapy

http://www.goodtherapy.org/
"Finding therapists that provide collaborative and non-pathologizing psycho-therapy and counseling."

Counseling Seattle

"The starting point for consumers of mental health and chemical dependency counseling services and for the professionals in these fields." Run by Floyd Else.

The Arts We Need

http://www.theartsweneed.org
A not-for-profit organization 501(c)(3), dedicated to providing Creative Arts Therapy and related arts programs to people with special needs and assisting programs that are either attempting to start an arts program or improve upon an existing program.

Arts in Therapy Network

http://www.artsintherapy.com
An online community for Creative Arts Therapists (CAT) and those who are interested in the Healing Arts.