Art therapy is a branch of psychology that makes use of different forms of art as a psychotherapeutic tool. A licensed art therapist is one who conducts these art therapy sessions. There are only about 5,000 licensed art therapists in the United States. Children are the most common patients that go through art therapy, but this method of psychotherapy can also be used with adults.
There are different jobs that can be associated with art therapy. To be an art therapist, one must go through an extensive training program in order to qualify. A degree in psychiatry is also essential. An art therapist's salary depends on the number of years of experience. An art therapist with 1 to 4 years of experience can have an annual salary of around $30,000 - $40,000.
Here are the different careers you can have as an art therapist:
- Art Therapist For Children. You can choose to specialize in child therapy. A lot of children with physical or psychological problems undergo art therapy, as art can be a way for them to express their feelings and thoughts. In order to be an art therapist for children, you have to have a lot of patience, and you must know how to communicate with children. As a child art therapist, you can work for special schools or hospitals.
- Art Physical Therapist. There are different ways to express one's feelings by using the body. As an art physical therapist, you can incorporate dance therapy in dealing with patients. This branch of art therapy is useful for both adults and children. They will be able to express themselves through dancing. It is also a way for them to relax and have fun. As an art physical therapist, you can work in hospitals or in fitness centers that offer health fitness programs.
- Art Musical Therapist. Another branch of art therapy is music therapy. For music therapy, instruments or music is used to depict the feelings and ideas of a patient. For this job, it is helpful if you know how to play an instrument. There are different projects or activities that you can do as an art musical therapist. You can even conduct group sessions. As an art musical therapist, you can work for universities that have musical departments or also in hospitals.
- Art Counseling Therapist. As an art counseling therapist, you can have different mediums of art to use for therapy sessions. Counseling sessions are conducted for both adults and children. Families that want to undergo art counseling therapies may also go to you for help. As an art counseling therapist, you are expected to address personal and family issues or mental illnesses by using different media. You can work for hospitals or even start your own art therapy center.
These are the branches of art therapy that you can specialize in. To be a successful art therapist, you must have the right attitude. It will also help if you have background in the different types of art so that you can use different techniques and media when dealing with your patients. Remember to also enhance your education with regular online continuing education courses in psychology.