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Featured Career: Art Therapist

Art Therapy

Art therapy wasn't a formal program until the 1940s; since then, it has become a thriving business that now requires a graduate-level education. During the 1970s, it was recognized as a form of psychotherapy, combined with teaching in the very early days of the profession. The technique of art therapy is built on the idea that creative expression can foster healing and mental well-being. Doctors recorded that individuals experiencing symptoms of mental illness often expressed themselves in drawings and other artworks, which influenced many to investigate the use of art as a healing strategy. A significant difference from art teaching is that therapists avoid praising or criticizing artwork while encouraging creativity without judgment. Specific art techniques are not taught; instead, image-making is used to help patients express and work through issues and problems. The therapeutic properties of creating art are not only found in therapist-driven situations. These properties are used more often than you may think. For example, Psychiatric nurses and child life specialists in hospitals draw with their patients, and play therapists offer art as part of psychotherapy with children and families.

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Many art therapists see people who can not be helped by conventional means. An individual considering a career in art therapy must be someone who can distinctly and rationally explain the artistic process. Usually, art is identified with the vernacular pointing out the beauty or symbolism of a specific piece. However, art can often express emotions and experiences that may be disturbing or upsetting to others. In order to help heal clients from their past trauma, patients are given guidance through the use of interactive art, which can be expressed by verbal or written means, like drawing, painting, coloring, sculpting, or collage- followed by discussions of what the art symbolizes, which is disclosed by the patient.

Face paint

It isn't necessary to have a background in art to become an art therapist, but knowledge of artist tools may be useful. You must earn a Master's degree in art therapy recognized by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You can also get a Master's degree in a counseling-related field, emphasizing art therapy, which usually takes two years to complete. After completing a bachelor's degree, a candidate for an art therapy program must also take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Tuition alone for a master's program can range anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 per year. Like several other mental health careers, the pay for art therapists is relatively low, especially in the beginning. The average salary ranges between $44,631 and $74,179. American Art Therapy Association (AATA) -approved art therapy programs commonly consist of approximately 18 months to 2 years of full-time education.

Art therapists can work in various environments and are likely to be part of a team with several other medical professionals. This team may include, but is not limited to, marriage and family therapists, rehabilitation counselors, physicians, psychologists, nurses, mental health counselors, social workers, and teachers.

A man sculpting pottery

Art therapists commonly acquire comprehensive academics and clinical training in the theory, approaches, techniques, and practice of art therapy, allowing them to create a specialized healing atmosphere and build a therapeutic connection and experience while in session with a client. If you feel strongly about this career choice, follow your heart. To be wealthy in experiences and abundant with the number of people you will come to know can hold more value to some than a generous paycheck with little inner fulfillment.

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