Art therapists work with patients who are encountering mental or emotional challenges; the creativity unleashed in creating art often helps patients explore their feelings and improve in many areas of their lives. Art therapists must help patients to feel achieved, possess appropriate behavior, reduce stress, and increase a general sense of well-being.
Art therapists are employed primarily in schools, hospitals, private practice, rehabilitation centers, and senior living facilities. It is very important that they are knowledgeable in their fields and about new developments regarding art therapy. They may be expected to carry out initial evaluations, progress reports, and final evaluations if patients have completed their programs, and therapy may be conducted in individual or group settings. These therapists often work with families, medical personnel, and other therapists in order to create suitable programs for patients. They may also teach therapy skills to family members that may be used at home and even create frameworks for art therapy programs.
A master’s degree in art therapy, psychology, counseling, or social work is generally required for this position, and many institutions prefer candidates who have years of experience from previous jobs and/or internships. Some positions are full-time while others are part-time and on-call, depending on the employer. Above all, it is important to be professional, patient, and comforting in order to help patients feel at ease.
Art Therapist Tasks
Assess patients' development, abilities, personality, interests and conflicts through their art productions.
Encourage patients with special needs and circumstances to express themselves creatively with art.
Prepare and submit patients' reactions and progress reports, confer with treatment team.
Develop treatment plan with varied interventions based on assessment, interests and objectives of therapy.