Is becoming an art therapist right for me?
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How to become an Art Therapist
Art therapy is a specialized field that combines art and psychology to help individuals express their emotions, reduce stress, and improve their mental health. To become an art therapist, you will need to complete the following steps:
- Obtain a bachelor's degree: A Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, Social Work, Fine Arts, or Art Therapy is the first step towards becoming an art therapist. It's important to choose a degree program that includes courses in art therapy or allows you to take them as electives.
- Complete a Master's degree in Art Therapy: To become a licensed art therapist, you will need to complete a Master's Degree in Art Therapy from a program accredited by the American Art Therapy Association (AATA). This program typically takes two years to complete and includes coursework in psychology, counseling, and art therapy.
- Gain clinical experience: As part of your Master's program, you will need to complete a supervised clinical internship in art therapy. This will give you the opportunity to work with clients and apply the skills you have learned in your coursework.
- Obtain licensure: After completing your master's degree and clinical internship, you will need to obtain licensure to practice as an art therapist. The requirements for licensure vary by state, but typically include passing an exam, completing supervised clinical hours, and meeting educational requirements.
- Continue your education: As a licensed art therapist, you will be required to continue your education through continuing education courses and professional development activities. This will help you stay current on new techniques and research in the field of art therapy.
Certification requirements and titles may vary by state, so it's important for art therapists to research the specific requirements in the state in which they wish to practice. Here are some of the certifications available for art therapists:
- Registered Art Therapist (ATR): This certification is granted by the Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB) and is the most common certification for art therapists in the US. To become an ATR, an individual must have a Master's Degree in Art Therapy or a related field, complete supervised clinical hours, and pass a national certification exam.
- Board-Certified Art Therapist (ATR-BC): This certification is also granted by the ATCB and is an advanced level of certification beyond the ATR. To become an ATR-BC, an individual must have a Master's Degree in Art Therapy or a related field, complete 1,000 hours of supervised clinical experience, and pass a national certification exam.
- Art Therapy Certified Supervisor (ATCS): This certification is granted by the ATCB and is for art therapists who have completed specialized training in supervision and have demonstrated competence in supervising other art therapists.
- Licensed Professional Counselor-Art Therapy (LPC-AT): In some states, art therapists can also become licensed as professional counselors with a specialization in art therapy. The requirements for licensure vary by state but typically include a Master's Degree in Art Therapy or a related field, completion of supervised clinical hours, and passing a state licensing exam.
There are many online resources available for art therapists. Here are a few:
- The American Art Therapy Association (AATA): AATA offers a range of resources for art therapists, including publications, conferences, and networking opportunities. Their website also has a job board and a directory of art therapy programs.
- International Art Therapy Organization (IATO): IATO is a global organization that provides resources, advocacy, and training for art therapists. Their website offers information about conferences, events, and publications related to art therapy.
- Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB): The ATCB is the credentialing organization for art therapists in the United States. Their website has information about the certification process, continuing education requirements, and ethical standards.
- Art Therapy Alliance: The Art Therapy Alliance is a global community of art therapists that provides online resources, networking opportunities, and professional development resources.
- Art Therapy Blog: This blog offers a range of resources for art therapists, including articles on art therapy techniques, case studies, and interviews with leading art therapists.
- Art Therapy Without Borders: This nonprofit organization promotes the use of art therapy in humanitarian and social justice contexts. Their website offers resources for art therapists who want to work in these areas.
- The Journal of Art Therapy: This peer-reviewed journal publishes research on art therapy, as well as articles on best practices and innovative approaches to art therapy.
- The Art Therapy Sourcebook: This book by Cathy Malchiodi is a comprehensive guide to the field of art therapy, including techniques, theories, and case studies.
- The Creative Arts Therapies Manual: This book by Stephanie Brooke provides an overview of the creative arts therapies, including art therapy, music therapy, and dance/movement therapy.