Thinking of Training to be an Art Therapist?
What is Art Therapy?
Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that utilizes a creative medium to offer an additional and alternate way for individuals to explore and understand their life experiences in a safe and therapeutic space.
Established in Europe and America as a profession since the 1960s, it is practiced with a variety of client groups, including individuals and groups availing of psychiatric services, children and people with learning disabilities. Its history can be linked to the development of arts in social and health contexts, from Outsider Art and Art Education to the development of Psycho-analysis/Psychotherapy in the 20th century.
Which course should I choose?
If you are considering training as an Art Therapist here are some pointers and questions to help you consider which course might be suitable for you. Please be aware that to practice as an Art Therapist and to be a member of a Professional Association that represents Art(s) Therapists, it is normal for the course to be accredited with that association. In Ireland this is with the Irish Association of Creative Arts Therapists www.iacat.ie. A recognized course will also have normally been validated through a recognized educational institute that maintains quality standards. In some countries (such as the UK) State Registration systems also apply.
Points to consider:
- Is the course accredited with a professional body which represents the interests of Art(s) Therapists in that country. And on completion of the course are you eligible to join a professional body as a qualified member?
- Does the course work to the standards set up by the Professional Body for the training of Art(s) Therapists in that country?
- Is the course validated with or through a higher education body/ institute that monitors the quality and standards of the course? What level is the course on the Higher Education Framework?
- On completion of the course will you be eligible to apply for State Registration in countries that have a State Registrations system?
- What qualifications/ clinical experience do the members of teaching staff have?
- Is personal therapy a requirement during the training and how many hours are required?
- What pre course clinical/ work experience is required?
- What level of personal art involvement is required?
- What placement opportunities are available?
- Am I insured as a student on placement through the college?
- What art studio experience is available on the course to help maintain and develop your creativity?
- What academic and pastoral support is available during the course?
- What are the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of the course?
- Is there a visiting lecturer programme?
- Can I talk to past students to hear of their experience?
- What’s the interview process?
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