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How to become an Art Therapist

art therapist careers

What does a Art Therapist do?

Art therapy encourage self-expression through the medium of art. Art therapists work with clients who may be suffering from a mental or physical illness, have learning difficulties or are recovering from some kind of traumatic experience.

Through the use of various art materials, the client is encouraged to discuss and work through emotional difficulties. Group discussions and creative activities are central to the Art therapy, although a lot of work may take place on a one- to-one basis.

Art therapists work alongside psychologists and psychotherapists, nurses and social workers. Liaison with these professionals and also the client’s family is an integral part of the therapy.

What's the working environment like working as a Art Therapist?

Working hours are mostly 9am to 5pm, although some flexibility may be required depending on location.

Therapists may be based in a general or specialised hospital or day/community centre. A driving licence can be useful, as travel may be necessary between sites.

What does it take to become a Art Therapist?

As an art therapist you need:

  • experience in working within the arts
  • a strong interest or background in psychology
  • a mature outlook, and the ability to handle sensitive and difficult issues
  • the ability to gain clients’ trust and confidence
  • strong communication skills for working with people on an individual basis or in a group

Art Therapist Career Opportunities

Most art therapists work within the NHS or local authority social services departments. However, there are opportunities within the private health care sector, voluntary sector, with drug and alcohol services, and the prison service. With experience it may be possible to progress to senior grades or train in supervision.

Sessional work is frequently available.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Art Therapist that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

British Association of Arts Therapists (BAAT)
24-27 White Lion Street
N1 9PD
Tel: 020 7686 4216

Health Professional Council (HPC)
Park House
184 Kennington Park Road
SE11 4BU
Tel: 020 7582 0866

NHS Learning and Development Service
Tel: 08000 150 850
Email: learning@nhscareers.nhs.uk

NHS Careers
PO Box 376
BS99 3EY
Tel: 0845 606 0655

Courses to help you become a Art Therapist