1Art Therapy is a mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the Art Therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem.
Today art therapy is widely practiced in a wide variety of settings including hospitals, psychiatric and rehabilitation facilities, wellness centers, forensic institutions, schools, crisis centers, senior communities, private practice, and other clinical and community settings. During individual and/or group sessions art therapists elicit their clients’ inherent capacity for art making to enhance their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Art Therapist Training
2 Art therapy practice requires knowledge of visual art (drawing, painting, sculpture, and other art forms) and the creative process, as well as of human development, psychological, and counseling theories and techniques.
A master’s degree is required for entry level practice in art therapy from institutions of higher education recognized by regional accreditation bodies approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Minimum educational, professional, and ethical standards for the profession are established by the American Art Therapy Association, a membership and advocacy organization which serves its members and the general public by providing standards of professional competence, and developing and promoting knowledge in, and of, the field of art therapy.
The Art Therapy Credentials Board, Inc., (ATCB) the credentialing body for the profession of art therapy, confers and administers professional credentials to art therapy practitioners upon achieving a master’s degree in art therapy. ATCB’s mission is “to protect the public by promoting the competent and ethical practice of art therapy through the credentialing of art therapy professionals.” Those who hold ATCB credentials are required to adhere to the ATCB Code of Professional Practice.
The ATCB is an independent organization from the American Art Therapy Association and the Educational Programs Approval Board, grants professional practice credentials to art therapists at three levels: Registered (ATR) —granted upon completion of graduate education and postgraduate supervised experience; Board Certified (ATR-BC) —granted to Registered art therapists who pass a written examination and is maintained through continuing education; and Certified Supervisor Credential (ATCS) —offered to qualified Board Certified art therapists who have demonstrated substantial supervision qualifications.