What is art therapy?
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that encourages the expression of thoughts and feelings through the use of art materials and the creative process. The artwork created in the presence of the art therapist can provide a focus for discussion, helping the client to reflect and make sense of behaviours and emotions that may have felt confusing or unmanageable.
As art therapy does not rely on spoken language it can be helpful to those who have difficulty in expressing their thoughts and feelings verbally or for when experiences are simply too difficult to put into words.
People who attend art therapy do not need to have any previous experience or artistic ability. The focus is on how the art-making process and materials are used to express feelings rather than creating a piece of art.
Who are art therapists?
Art therapists have a post graduate qualification in art therapy. They are required to study psychoanalysis, child development and attachment theory as part of their training.
As art therapy is a state regulated profession, art therapists must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) in order to legally practice. Art therapists work in accordance with the British Association of Art Therapists’ (BAAT) code of conduct and principles of practice. They are required to be in clinical supervision and maintain their continuing professional development.