What comes to your mind when you hear the term art therapy? Do you imagine an art class? Or a skilled artist finding reprieve in their masterful work? There can be many misconceptions held about what an art therapist is, who needs art therapy, and what happens in art therapy sessions. Allow us to paint a clearer picture for you by clearing up some common misconceptions about art therapy.
Myth #1 Art Therapy Is Arts and Crafts Art therapy is an intentional one-on-one therapeutic practice led by a professional art therapist. While elements of art-making are almost always used in art therapy, the end goal is the inner journey of the client rather than the physical artistic creation. Art therapy is used to treat and respond to a variety of mental illnesses, traumas, or life transitions. Myth #2 Art Therapy Is Only For Children Art therapy is used for a variety of people, coming from different age groups and backgrounds. Art therapy is often used to aid individuals with diagnoses of autism, PTSD, dementia, and eating disorders. Art therapy is even used to serve people in prison settings, and to aid community and cultural healing. Myth #3 Anyone Can Be Called An Art Therapist The American Art Therapy Association holds strict ethical standards that qualify only well-trained professional art therapists to practice art therapy. To become a professional art therapist, you must obtain a relevant bachelor's degree and a master's degree at a nationally accredited school. You must additionally complete 100 hours of supervised practicum, and 600 hours of a supervised art therapy clinical internship. Myth #4 You Must Be A Good Artist To Benefit From Art Therapy Many of us have grown up believing that “good art” has to be perfect. In art therapy, art is considered “good” when it is a vehicle to understanding ourselves and the world around us. There are no mistakes! Recipients of art therapy are encouraged to create and express themselves no matter what their skill level.
In drawchange sessions, which are designed with art therapy-based principles in mind, we encourage all children to embrace their perceived “mistakes”. We intentionally do not provide erasers so that children can learn to use their “oops” to create something new, or to embrace them as a beautiful part of their creations. You will often hear our founder/CEO, Jennie Lobato telling the children, “There are no mistakes in art”.
As an art therapy-based program provider, we are excited to share the power of art to heal and empower the children we serve.
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“Becoming an Art Therapist.” American Art Therapy Association, American Art Therapy Association, 2017, www.arttherapy.org/becoming-art-therapist
Patel, Karissa. “5 Misconceptions About Art Therapy.” Psychreg, 22 Sept. 2022, www.psychreg.org/misconceptions-art-therapy.
“5 Common Myths about Arts Therapy.” Ikon Institute of Australia, 19 Oct. 2020, www.ikoninstitute.edu.au/top-5-creative-therapies-myths