Art Therapy

Art Therapy

The art therapy program introduces students to the use of the visual arts as an expressive therapy. An
undergraduate degree in art therapy is meant to prepare students for work in a therapeutic setting and for graduate work in the field of art therapy. A Master’s degree is required to practice as an Art Therapist. Students will develop their artistic skills through visual arts courses in drawing, painting, and sculpture. Psychology coursework will focus on the skills and populations students are likely to encounter in art therapy settings.

Visual arts and psychology coursework will be integrated into an art therapy context through two art therapy courses, and through an internship and senior thesis project specifically focused on art therapy topics. As part of the internship and senior thesis, students learn first-hand how art therapists work with individuals or groups to facilitate improved well-being through creative expression.

Definition

Art therapy is a human service profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork 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 practice is grounded in the knowledge of human development, psychological theories, and counseling technologies.

Art therapy is an effective treatment for persons experiencing developmental, medical, educational, and social or psychological impairment. A goal in art therapy is to improve or restore the client’s functioning and his/her sense of personal well being. Art therapy is practiced in mental health, rehabilitation, medical, educational, and forensic settings with diverse client populations in individual, couples, family, and group therapy formats.

Art Therapy Credentials Board, Inc.

Professional Organizations

American Art Therapy Association
North Carolina Chapter of the AATA
Art Therapy Credentials Board
Art Therapy Without Borders

Career Options

Art therapists work at a variety of places, such as:
hospitals , mental health clinics, special and mainstream
education providers, veteran centers, halfway houses,
shelters, palliative care and hospice centers, prisons,
forensic medicine labs, drug and alcohol service centers,
volunteer sectors, private practices