Art Therapy is a human service profession that utilizes art media and the creative process along with counseling technique. Creating art, viewing it, and talking about it provides a way for people to cope with emotional conflicts, increase self awareness, and express unspoken concerns. The creative process involved in art making is constructive by nature and engages the whole person- psycho socially, cognitively, and physically. The art therapist uses pictures, art supplies, metaphor, and visual symbol as well as the understanding of behavior to help clients address their own personal concerns and conflicts. The results of artistic efforts can be readily seen; strengths and problem areas can be identified with the help of the therapist, and progress can be documented visually.
Art therapists work with individuals, families, couples, and groups in a wide range of settings. Art therapy is a powerful approach for people of all ages, races, and socio economic status. Artistic talent is not required; a willingness to participate in the process is all that is necessary.
Materials are chosen to correspond with the interests, physical condition, and energy of the client. Media range from markers and colored pencils, watercolor or acrylic paints, oil and chalk pastels, to clay, collage, photography, and multi media sculpture.
The Art Therapist
Art Therapists are required to hold a Masters degree in art therapy from an accredited school. They are nationally registered (ATR) through the American Art Therapy Association and Board Certified (BC) through the Art Therapy Credentials Board. These designations certify that the art therapist has undergone adequate training and complies with ongoing professional development standards. Art therapists are proficient in a wide range of art techniques, counseling theories, and approaches. They are skilled clinicians who can work to facilitate growth through the use of spontaneous art, assessment, and planned therapeutic approaches.
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