Art Therapists

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Also known as:
Art Therapist, Auriculotherapist, Educational Therapist, Hydrotherapist, Music Therapist, Peripatologist

Video transcript

When words alone fail to help a client address difficult emotions and memories, art therapists use the creative process to help them break through. Art therapy combines psychotherapy with the visual and physical experience of creating art to express and process personal issues. Art therapists plan and conduct art therapy sessions or programs to improve clients' physical, mental, or emotional well-being. They design projects to support each client's needs, such as drawing or creating a collage about an experience, or creating a clay sculpture describing a hope for his or her future. Art therapists invite their clients to reflect on their art and explore its meaning. Art therapists administer assessments, document clients' progress, and discuss client cases with colleagues. They typically work in schools, hospitals, mental health clinics, and in private practice. Self-employed art therapists usually have duties such as billing clients and promoting their business. A master's degree in art therapy and licensure are required to enter the field. Some states specifically license art therapists, while others license counselors and therapists, who may include art therapy in their practice. Art therapists bring the tools and materials that can help individuals give voice to their inner experience... even when they lack words to describe it.

Plan or conduct art therapy sessions or programs to improve clients' physical, cognitive, or emotional well-being.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
Daily tasks

Conduct information sharing sessions, such as in-service workshops for other professionals, potential client groups, or the general community.

Analyze data to determine the effectiveness of treatments or therapy approaches.

Supervise staff, volunteers, practicum students, or interns.

Customize art therapy programs for specific client populations, such as those in schools, nursing homes, wellness centers, prisons, shelters, or hospitals.

Communicate client assessment findings and recommendations in oral, written, audio, video, or other forms.

Review research or literature in art therapy, psychology, or related disciplines.

Observe and document client reactions, progress, or other outcomes related to art therapy.

Develop individualized treatment plans that incorporate studio art therapy, counseling, or psychotherapy techniques.

Conduct art therapy sessions, providing guided self-expression experiences to help clients recover from, or cope with, cognitive, emotional, or physical impairments.

Select or prepare artistic media or related equipment or devices to accomplish therapy session objectives.

Interpret the artistic creations of clients to assess their functioning, needs, or progress.

Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Therapy and Counseling Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
Fine Arts Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Sociology and Anthropology Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
Philosophy and Theology Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.