Arts Therapy

Arts Therapy

Arts therapists use visual art-making, drama, dance and movement to improve physical, mental and emotional well-being. They work with individuals or groups using arts processes such as painting to create meaning, rather than focussing on the end product.

Arts therapy can be helpful for people who cannot verbalise their feelings due to developmental, cognitive or other conditions.

Where do arts therapists practice?

Arts therapists work across a range of health settings including private practice, community health, education, hospital, mental health facilities, rehabilitation facilities, disability sector, aged care and palliative care. They may work in a solo practice or be part of a multidisciplinary team.

When should I see an arts therapist?

There are many reasons why a person might benefit from seeing an arts therapist.

These include:

  • to express feelings that may be difficult to verbalise
  • to explore their imagination and creativity
  • to develop healthy coping skills and focus
  • to improve self-esteem and confidence
  • to increase communication skills
  • to share in a safe nurturing environment
  • to improve motor skills and physical co-ordination
  • to identify blocks to emotional expression and personal growth.

What services do arts therapists provide?

Arts therapists provide therapeutic interventions using the visual arts, including drawing, painting, sculpture, sand and play for mental health diagnoses, wellbeing, early intervention and developmental disorders. Arts therapies can help people to resolve conflicts, develop interpersonal skills, manage behaviour, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and achieve insight.

How are arts therapists qualified?

In order to practise and use the recognised title AThR (registered arts therapist), the following requirements must be met:

  • Complete a minimum two years Masters degree
  • Complete a minimum of 750 hours of supervised clinical placement.
  • Professional membership of Australian and New Zealand Arts Therapy Association (ANZATA)
  • Complete continuing professional development and work under a code of ethics

Further Information

For more detailed information about arts therapy, please visit the Australian and New Zealand Arts Therapy Association website.

Find a practitioner

The Australian and New Zealand Arts Therapy Association has a Find an Arts therapist service that can be accessed here.


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