A Career in Art Therapy

several tubes of paint with paint coming out

A Career in Art Therapy

A number of students are interested in a career in Art Therapy (also called creative arts therapy or expressive arts therapy). Art therapy is different than most other types of therapy , because the communication with a client is nonverbal. Thus, art therapy uses art and the creative process to help treat a person who has mental health problem. (For a more complete definition of art therapy iclick this link--American Art Therapy Association). Art therapists use both art media and the verbal processing of produced imagery to help people resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, and manage behavior (including stress reduction).

How does an Art Therapist work with with their client? They can have a client can draw a picture of an event or an emotion. It should be noted that more than one person can be involved in the drawing (e.g., a family drawing together). IThe Art Therapist observes the finished piece and interprets the nonverbal symbols that are expressed in the art. If more than one person is working on a project, the Art Therapist will note how the group interacted as they worked together. There are various types of art produced in Art Therapy: paintings, drawings, and photographs. It is very important to note that a client doe not have to be a trained artist in order to gain benefits from Art Therapy--the goal is not to create an art masterpiece, but to express oneself.

Art Therapists are trained in both art and therapy. Therefore, it is important to distinguish an Art Therapist from a Psychologist who uses some art when treating a client. 

man shaping slay using a potter's wheel

Please note that the comments of Dr. Golding and the others who post on this blog express their own opinion and not that of the University of Kentucky.

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