What exactly is Art Therapy? To explain it briefly it is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of communication.
Its not necessary to have any skills or experience in art to go have art therapy as the diagnosis from what they express with painting or drawing is the main concern of the therapist, not how well they can paint something. The use of art as a way to express and communicate ones thoughts and feelings is a way to show things that they may otherwise not be able to express verbally or in other ways. The whole idea is for the clients to be able to make changes and grow on a personal level through the use of the art materials in a safe environment.
A career in art therapy does not mean you need to be an artist however most art therapists do have a considerable understanding of art processes that assist their therapeutic practice; they work with both individuals and groups in a variety of residential and community based settings like adult and child mental health services, learning disabilities centres as well as places like youth and family centres, palliative care and in the prison service.
Its not an easy career by any means, as the art therapist's work is sometimes challenging and calls for skill and sensitivity and is often mentally taxing; It’s a very rewarding career however and most art therapists will tell you of the job satisfaction they get from helping others heal and recover.
To become a registered art therapist you need to have a tertiary qualification in a field such as, teaching, nursing, psychology, fine arts or art education, and a postgraduate diploma or masters degree in art therapy. Details of training institutions in NZ below
When it comes to Art therapy, well a picture speaks a thousand words!