The American Art Therapy Association defines art therapy as, "a mental health 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 and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem." (http://www.arttherapy.org/)
To qualify as a professional art therapist and eventually apply for registration and board certification, you must complete the required preparatory courses at the bachelor’s degree level and core curriculum as outlined in the AATA Education Standards for Master’s Degree Programs. Entry into the profession of art therapy is at the master’s level. Graduate level art therapy programs include:
* Master’s degree in art therapy * Master’s degree in counseling or a related field with an emphasis in art therapy
In 2008, the AATA adopted standards for Post-Master’s degree programs as an education for those who already hold a master’s degree. Preparation for the practice of art therapy requires the completion of a master’s degree;Approved status is granted to master’s degree programs that elect to undergo evaluation by the AATA Education Program Approval Board [EPAB]. All education must be offered in an academic institution accredited by one of the regional or national institutional accrediting bodies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
What do ATR and BC mean?
ATR is the credential for a Registered Art Therapist. The Art Therapy Credentials Board states: Becoming a Registered Art Therapist (ATR) requires the completion of master’s level education (including art therapy core curriculum and supervised practicum and internship experiences) and post-education supervised clinical experience.
ATR-BC signifies the registered art therapist is also Board Certified, and has taken and passed a voluntary certification examination.