Art Therapy (otherwise known as art psychotherapy) is a therapy which combines traditional spoken psychotherapy with creative expression, using the creative process as a further tool for communication and exploration. The aim is to reach a better understanding of oneself and to achieve a greater sense of well-being. A common misconception is that art therapy is for people who are good at art. In fact, many people may benefit from art therapy because it is about working with the creative process. This process is used, as in other forms of psychotherapy, to reflect on the person’s situation in the current moment and to find ways of moving forward. The creative process is incorporated to different extents and with varied materials, depending on the needs of the client.
The foundations of art therapy can be found in psychotherapeutic and psychoanalytic concepts, as well as relying on the diagnostic elements of psychology. In recent decades art therapy has been adapted to a variety of indoor and outdoor settings, and its efficacy is being demonstrated in a growing body of clinical research. As a profession, art therapy has existed as a common treatment method for psycohological difficulties since the 1950s, and today it is widely used in schools, hospitals, mental health services and private practices throughout the world.
Professional art therapists will undertake a one-year post-graduate Diploma and two year Master at an accredited university, with rigorous supervision and long-term placements in public institutions. They will be registered with an accrediting body that commits them to following clear ethical guidelines.