Having a difficult time locating the type of degree that will combine your creativity and art skills with a solid means of making money? A program in art therapy does just that.
The degree will prepare you with creative processes by allowing you to put your art skills to work in an environment of helping others. It’s a win-win situation and a great career to establish in the ever-growing world of healthcare.
What is Art Therapy?
Art therapy is an established and well-respected mental health profession that uses art as a means of therapy in treating mentally ill patients. Art therapy is used to improve a patient’s physical, emotional and mental well-being and is used with people of all ages.
Art therapy programs can be found at most four-year institutions as well as some community colleges. The program integrates visual arts, human development, psychology and various models of mental health counseling. Art therapy can be used on children, adults and the elderly and recently has been utilized in marriage and family counseling.
An art therapist may find themselves interacting with individuals or small groups. They work together with other mental health professionals and physicians who have insight into the patient’s care and development. Strategic planning is crucial in dealing with patients and putting forth after-care recommendations.
Art therapists work in a variety of healthcare settings as well as other types of organizations and places of business. The most common places for art therapists to work are in hospitals or medical centers. Hospitals that have a psychiatric ward are popular places for art therapist jobs. Out-patient mental health facilities and day treatment centers are also great places to find art therapy jobs.
Some of the more uncommon, yet highly desirable, places of employment for art therapists are half-way houses, domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, and correctional facilities. Jobs in schools and elder care facilities are becoming more and more prevalent. Most art therapists work out of a counseling office and see patients throughout the day. Some have their own studio where art can be created and kept on display for the patients and their families to see.
Personal Qualities Needed for a Career in Art Therapy
While you may be artistic and have a desire to put your skills to work, you may prefer to work alone. If this is the case, art therapy may not be the career path you want to take. Art therapists enjoy working with others and receive a great deal of pleasure helping people.
Art therapists possess personal qualities and characteristics such as patience, emotional stability, empathy and sensitivity. An art therapist must be able to put their creative skills and talents to work while possessing an insight into human behavior. An art therapist must have exceptional communication and interpersonal skills, as a majority of their job involves listening and communicating effectively with patients. Having a sense of humor and adaptability to change are also helpful to being successful in this highly rewarding career.