Art therapist: So you want to be an art therapist? This rewarding career uses art to help people express emotions and deal with psychological issues. As an art therapist, you’ll use creative modalities like drawing, painting, sculpture, and collage to help clients gain insight into behaviors and feelings. But what exactly does an art therapist do on a daily basis? What duties and responsibilities come with this unique job?
In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of an art therapist’s role. From assessing clients and developing treatment plans to running group sessions and collaborating with other professionals, you’ll get an inside look at the day-to-day life of an art therapist. You’ll also learn about the education and training required for this career. If you have a passion for art and helping others work through challenges, art therapy could be an ideal field. So grab some supplies and let’s get creative!
Key Duties and Responsibilities of an Art Therapist
As an art therapist, your main role is to help clients improve their mental, emotional and social well-being through artistic expression and the creative process.
- Meet with clients to evaluate their needs, interests, and abilities in order to develop customized treatment plans. You’ll use your knowledge of art, psychology, and counseling techniques to determine the best approaches for each client.
- Guide clients through artistic activities like painting, drawing, sculpting or crafts and evaluate their creative works. Help them gain insight into their feelings and behaviors, develop social skills, reduce anxiety, and find alternative ways of coping with traumatic experiences.
- Observe clients during sessions, assess their progress, and adjust treatment plans accordingly. Provide ongoing support and encouragement to help clients achieve their goals.
- Stay up-to-date with advancements in art therapy and counseling techniques through continuous learning. Complete any required licensing renewals and certifications.
- Maintain proper documentation of client treatment plans, progress reports, session notes, and other records as required. Keep information confidential in compliance with laws and professional ethics.
- Collaborate with other healthcare professionals like psychologists, social workers, doctors and nurses. Make referrals to appropriate services or community resources when needed.
- Promote art therapy by educating people about its benefits and applications. This could involve giving presentations, writing articles, or networking with other organizations.
- Handle administrative tasks such as billing, scheduling appointments, and general office duties. Manage your calendar, supplies, and workspace.
- Stay physically and emotionally present to actively listen, show empathy, and support clients. Art therapy can be intensive work, so practitioners must be able to cope with difficult situations in a compassionate manner.
With the right person in the role, an art therapist can have a profoundly positive impact on people’s lives. It’s a rewarding career for those passionate about both art and helping others.
So you’re interested in becoming an art therapist, huh? That’s great to hear. Art therapy is a rewarding career, but it does come with a lot of responsibilities. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about an art therapist’s duties:
What exactly does an art therapist do?
An art therapist helps clients improve their mental, emotional, and physical health through creative expression. They use art materials like paint, clay, and collage to guide clients in expressing their feelings and work through trauma, depression, anxiety, addiction, and more. Art therapists evaluate clients’ artwork and guide them in gaining insight into their thoughts and behaviors.
What are an art therapist’s day-to-day duties?
- Meet with clients for therapy sessions, either one-on-one or in groups
- Review clients’ medical histories and evaluate their needs to develop treatment plans
- Guide clients in creative expression through art projects and discuss the meaning and symbolism in their artwork
- Help clients gain insight into their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors through art
- Evaluate clients’ progress and adjust treatment plans as needed
- Consult with other healthcare professionals like psychiatrists, counselors, and social workers when needed
- Complete administrative tasks like maintaining client records, developing marketing materials, and budgeting
Do art therapists work with specific populations?
Art therapists work with people of all ages, from young children to the elderly. Many art therapists specialize in helping specific groups like:
- Children and teens struggling with emotional or behavioral issues
- Trauma victims and PTSD sufferers
- Alzheimer’s and dementia patients
- People with learning disabilities or physical challenges
- Individuals struggling with addiction
- People with depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, and other mental health conditions
What kind of education or training is required to become an art therapist?
To become a licensed art therapist in the US, you need a master’s degree in art therapy or a related field like counseling or social work, along with supervised clinical experience. Some art therapists also pursue voluntary professional certification. The most common credential for art therapists is the ATR, or Registered Art Therapist.