'is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of expression and communication.Within this context, art is not used as a diagnostic tool but as a medium to address emotional issues which may be confusing and distressing'. (The British Association of Art Therapists, BAAT).
Who do Art Therapists work with?
Art Therapists work with people of all ages and abilities in a number of settings including mental health services, schools, prisons, learning disability services, residential homes, day and respite services. They are employed in both statutory and voluntary services. A number of Art Therapists work on a freelance basis or in private practice.
Is any artistic skill required?
No particular skill, experience or ability in art is required, just a willingness to use the art materials in an exploratory way.
Art Therapy is not a recreational activity or an art lesson. Although the sessions may be challenging at times, they can also be enjoyable.
Who is an Art Therapist?
Art Therapy is a regulated profession and in the UK, only those who...
Are registered with The Health Professions Council, (HCPC)
may legally use the titles Art Therapist/ Art Psychotherapist.
To ensure safe, effective and legal practice and keep skills and knowledge up to date Art Therapists' have a statutory requirement to...
Undertake continuing professional development (CPD)
Re-register every 2 years.
The British Association of Art Therapists, (BAAT), is the professional organisation for Art Therapists in the United Kingdom and has its own Code of Ethics of Professional Practice.
Full membership is only open to registered Art Therapists.
Art Therapists are bound by the standards of conduct, performance and ethics of both HCPC and BAAT.
How does art therapy help?
Art therapy provides a safe and accepting space for people to talk about themselves and explore about what may be troubling them. It can be useful for people who struggle to communicate their feelings and emotions as it does not rely solely on verbal language.
The use of art materials allows feelings to be accessed more readily without words getting in the way. The Art Therapist is trained to encourage individuals to gain a greater understanding of their art language and interpret what images may mean in the context of their life story.
Improving self expression and communication through creativity within the therapeutic relationship can help by reducing feelings of isolation and help to contain emotions, which may then reduce stress, depression and anxiety.
Individuals with trauma related issues, learning disabilities, autism, dementia and acquired brain injury can find this a useful way to find meaning and give shape to feelings and emotions that may otherwise present in a more distressful and challenging manner.