What Is Art Therapy?

Theraputic and Healing Process
"Each time I disclose my credentials, the ATCB enhances my credibility with clients." - Abigail Bliss, ATR-BC

Art therapy uses art media, the creative process and the resulting artwork as a therapeutic and healing process.

Clients - young, old and in-between - are able to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety and increase self-esteem.

Art therapy is practiced in mental health, rehabilitation, medical, educational and forensic settings - as well as in private practice, in workshops and small-group settings. Clients come from all walks of life, facing a full array of challenges. Individuals, couples, families and groups can all benefit from various art therapy formats.

Art therapy is an effective treatment for persons experiencing developmental, medical, educational, social or psychological impairment. A key goal in art therapy is to improve or restore the client's functioning and his/her sense of personal well being.

Art therapists are trained in both art and therapy. The process isn't an art lesson - it is grounded in the knowledge of human development, psychological theories and counseling techniques.

A master's degree is required for entry-level practice in art therapy. Minimum educational and professional standards are established by the American Art Therapy Association, Inc. (AATA), a membership and advocacy organization.

Art therapy is growing and the professional, academic and research foundation is expanding. The Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB) continues to invest in art therapy's professional standards and ethics and is the only nationally recognized credentialing organization for art therapists in the United States.

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