what is art therapy?

Art for Me Award
Mixed Media 

Art therapy as a clinical practice engages individuals and groups with materials and creatively-inspired activities to promote socialization, self-acceptance, symptom reduction, personal expression, improved esteem, and skill building. These practices, under the supervision of a professional art therapist, may provide opportunities to improve mental health and manage physical disabilities. 


Art therapy is practiced by professional clinicians with a Masters Degree in Art Therapy (MAAT). Graduate programs in art therapy accredited by the American Art Therapy Association include courses to develop superior cultural competency, understand human growth and development, improve awareness of material usage, facilitate group and family therapy, establish ethically-sound practices, and improve understanding of psychopathology (currently utilizing the DSM-5). Advanced education in art therapy also provides strong theoretical understanding, professional writing skills (APA formatting for publishing), and extensive self-awareness. A minimum of 600 internship hours, within 2-3 varying facilities are required in order to complete this comprehensive program.