Art Therapy Curriculum

Art Therapy Careers

art therapy graduate student
Art therapy is a dynamic field filled with creativity that brings together the use of psychology and the arts including, visual arts, dance, poetry, music, and many others to help with all different sorts of clients working through a variety of issues. Art therapists generally strive to combine the application of principles in psychotherapy with the healing power of the arts to help improve the lives of clients.

Art therapy can be beneficial to all many types of clients regardless of their respective issues or artistic talent or abilities. Art therapy seeks to utilize art in a healing manner in a safe and comfortable environment together in conjunction with the application of psychotherapy principles and practices. The main aim of art therapy is to use art in a therapeutic manner.

Art Therapy Master’s Degree Programs

Those who are interested in pursuing careers in the art therapy field must usually earn a master’s degree in art therapy in order to pursue a career as a practicing art therapist. While some students pursue employment in art therapy upon completion of a graduate degree program in art therapy, other students continue their academic pursuits and study to earn their Ph.D. in the study of art therapy.

Master’s degree programs in art therapy typically take roughly two years to complete if attending at a full time pace, those who attend part time or take a leave of absence can expect to spend a longer time earning their graduate degree in art therapy.

An art therapy master’s degree curriculum seeks to cultivate students mentally, emotionally, and academically to help prepare them for all of the various aspects of being a practicing art therapy professional. Art therapy master’s degree students must take concentrated classes and complete coursework in a variety of subjects including research therapy, art therapy, psychopathology, ethical issues, psychotherapy, psychological development, numerous art based courses and various other subjects. Students complete the aforementioned coursework to have an opportunity gain an in-depth understanding of various facets of the practice of art therapy.

Students pursuing graduate degrees in art therapy have an opportunity to immerse themselves in both the practical and theoretical aspects of art therapy. Master’s degree programs in art therapy often require candidates to complete and sometimes present a thesis in an art therapy topic. A thesis is a type of long research paper or project that can take a substantial amount of time to complete. Other art therapy graduate programs require candidates to sit for comprehensive examinations and complete several research papers of varying lengths. Most art therapy graduate programs also include a training or internship component as part of the degree requirement. Internships in the field are designed to give art therapy students the ability to gain hands on experience from practicing art therapy professionals in the field.

Art Therapy Certifications

Some positions in the art therapy field require prospective applicants to acquire certain eligible art therapy certifications. Each various art therapy certification comes with its own specific set of requirements that candidates must complete which can include examinations, supervised research, training hours, and other varying requirements. The Art Therapy Credentials Board also known as the “ATCB” provides varying certifications to eligible art therapists.

Some art therapists seek to become certified as Registered Art Therapists also knows as “ATR’s.” In order to become an ATR, prospective candidates must first earn a master’s degree in art therapy from a graduate program with an internship component and a supervised practicum among other necessary requirements. There are also supervised clinical experience requirements. Art therapy professionals can also seek to become Board Certified Art Therapists or “ATR-BC.” In order to obtain ATR-BC status, eligible candidates must first earn their ATR and then complete an examination consisting of 200 multiple choice questions administered by the ATCB.

Art therapy professionals can also earn supervisory credentials known as “ATCS.” ATCS is the newest available art therapy certification and is available to ATR-BC’s who have an interest in pursuing further credentials. In order to earn an ATCS interested candidates must either apply based on academic merit or experience based qualifications and then wait for a lengthy eight week review process in order to be given their ATCS credentials.

By Svetlana Rovenskaya, June 2014

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