Art therapy is an established mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight.
-American Art Therapy Association
How do you become an art therapist? Below are some suggestions to consider:
1. Visit the American Art Therapy Association website, there you will find a list of schools across the country and I recommend you choose a school that is approved by AATA. The website is www.arttherapy.org/aata-education.html
2. Work toward either a double major in art and psychology or majoring in one with a minor in the other. It is important to be well versed in all different types of art making processes and to have a clear understanding of how the material can be used in art, as well as an understanding of the theories of psychology, human behavior and development.
3. Read up on art therapy by authors such as Judy Rubin, Pat Allen, Bruce Moon or Shawn McNiff- through familiarizing yourself with their work, you will gather a clearer understanding of how art therapy works.
4. Do some social service, volunteer or related work with a population that you have an interest in. The experience of working with people is invaluable and will only help you have a deeper understanding and will improve your knowledge as you move forward into your career. Most art therapy programs require at least 500 volunteer hours before you can get into an art therapy masters program.
5. Most importantly, make art. Make lots of art. Make art about yourself, about your life, about your dreams, your fears, your passions, your feelings, your inner self. Don’t be afraid to let the art guide you and lead you and help you to understand yourself. Your art is your language that no one can tell you is wrong or bad or not important, it is very important. There is no right or wrong art or good or bad art. Consider seeing an art therapist so you can understand what it means to express yourself and value the therapeutic process. It is important that you let go of any fear, doubt and allow your art to lead you where you need to go. Your art is your light and it will lead the way.
This is an image I created in 2007 as a logo for my business, also as a necklace. To me it represents growth, being grounded, staying connected to my passion and core. I wear it to remind me of what I stand for and my connection to my work as an art therapist empowering others and supporting their growth, self discovery and change.
Art Therapy Studio Chicago, LTD Flat Iron Arts Building 1579 N Milwaukee Ave, Studio 210, Chicago, IL 60622