In Summary - Art Therapist
Art Therapists typically work in the following Career Sectors:
The Work - Art Therapist
Art therapists use art to help people who have difficulty expressing themselves verbally or who have lost touch with their feelings. The art therapist aims to ease their clients' emotional distress and improve their quality of life. Some clients may not be able to speak, so artwork provides a valuable means of communication.
Art therapists work with a wide variety of clients including children, the elderly, those with physical needs, psychiatric patients and offenders. They work with individual clients on a one-to-one basis and also with groups of clients.
Therapists work in rooms set aside for artwork. They offer support to their clients and encourage them to use different sorts of materials such as clay, paper, paint and collage. They believe that creating any kind of art is a therapeutic act. They may get their clients to work on their own projects or on group projects.
Art therapists do not judge a client's work, though they liaise with doctors and psychotherapists who may try to interpret a client's work, to help with diagnosis and treatment. The creative process, and the interaction between the therapist and the client, may help the client to take responsibility for their actions, share with other people and do more things for themselves.
However, improvements of this kind may take a long time and not all clients respond positively to therapy.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Analyze data to determine the effectiveness of treatments or therapy approaches.
- Analyze or synthesize client data to draw conclusions or make recommendations for art therapy.
- Assess client needs or disorders, using drawing, painting, sculpting, or other artistic processes.
- Communicate client assessment findings and recommendations in oral, written, audio, video, or other forms.
- Conduct art therapy sessions providing guided self-expression experiences to help clients recover from or cope with cognitive, emotional, or physical impairments.
- Confer with other professionals on client's treatment team to develop, coordinate, or integrate treatment plans.
- Customize art therapy programs for specific client populations, such as those in schools, nursing homes, wellness centers, prisons, shelters, or hospitals.
- Design art therapy sessions or programs to meet client's goals or objectives.
- Develop individualized treatment plans that incorporate studio art therapy, counseling, or psychotherapy techniques.
- Establish goals or objectives for art therapy sessions in consultation with clients or site administrators.
Interests - Art Therapist
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.
Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
You need a warm, friendly and supportive personality. Clients may progress very slowly therefore you should be understanding and patient.
You will also need to be a competent artist.
Entry Requirements - Art Therapist
Pay & Salary - Art Therapist
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 25k - 47k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Art Therapist
Useful Contacts - Art Therapist
Irish Association of Creative Arts Therapists
Association of Registered Complimentary Health Therapists of Ireland (ARCHTI)
Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP)