What Do Creative Arts Therapists Do?
Creative arts therapists use active engagement in art, dance or movement, drama, and music as therapeutic approaches to address mental, emotional, developmental, and behavioral disorders of their clients. Creative arts therapists work with individuals of all ages who may have a variety of mental or physical health issues, including those who are temporarily or permanently disabled. Creative arts therapists, working with clients one-on-one or in groups, strive to use creative processes to bring out artistic self-expression to help people resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight. Creative art therapy is also used to help people manage stress and promote overall mental and physical well-being.
Creative arts therapists are often part of a larger multidisciplinary rehabilitation team coordinating to develop and implement a client’s therapeutic goals and objectives. Using their skills in art, dance or movement, drama, and music in conjunction with psychotherapeutic theories and methods, creative arts therapists are able to elicit thoughts and feelings from clients to supplement traditional “talk” psychotherapeutic methods. Creative arts therapy uses the relationship between the patient and the therapist in the context of the artistic process as a dynamic force for change and expression.
Where Do Creative Arts Therapists Work?
Creative arts therapists work in a number of institutional and community settings, including hospitals; nursing homes; correctional institutions; adult shelters; schools; community centers; adolescent, substance abuse, and mental health group homes or half-way houses; and adult day care programs. Creative arts therapists usually work a 40-hour week, though they may work some evenings and weekends to account for working with the different populations they serve in non-traditional settings.
What Do Creative Arts Therapists Earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not yet publish employment and earnings data for creative art therapists. In 2018 however, the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) published preliminary findings based on a 2016 membership survey. According to the data, one quarter of respondents reported salary ranges from $30,000-$49,999 (28.8%) and another quarter of respondents reported salary ranges $50,000-$79,999 (26.3%). For more information, please visit the AATA, website.
Supply and Demand
According to recruiter.com, the demand for Art Therapists is expected to go up, with an expected 5,870 new jobs filled by 2018. This represents an annual increase of 3.52 percent over the next few years.
New York Educational Requirements
For creative arts therapists, an undergraduate college education should include coursework in both creative arts and psychopathology, with specific courses in general, developmental, and abnormal psychology. Some colleges may offer an undergraduate degree in creative arts therapy, but a master’s degree or doctorate degree in creative arts therapy or substantial equivalent is required for licensure in New York. Advanced degree programs include additional coursework in fine arts, psychotherapy, and clinical internships.
New York Certification/Licensure Requirements
To be licensed in New York as a creative arts therapist, an individual must have a master’s or doctorate degree in creative arts therapy from a registered, accredited program, or its equivalent and at least 1,500 hours of supervised experience in an approved setting. In addition, an individual must pass one of three exams: the Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB) test, the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) test, or the New York State Case Narrative Exam. For more information on New York State licensure requirements, go to: http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/mhp/catlic.htm.
In addition to school-based scholarships, scholarships for undergraduate and graduate education are available through national organizations:
for art therapists: http://www.americanarttherapyassociation.org/aata-awards/;
for music therapists: http://www.musictherapy.org/careers/scholars/; and
for dance therapists: https://adta.org/encouraging-scholarship/.
Education Programs in New York (subject to change)
The following programs offer bachelor’s and/or master’s degrees in one or more of the creative arts therapies:
Creative Arts Therapy
1000 Hempstead Turnpike
Hempstead, NY 11549
|Long Island University
C.W. Post Campus
Clinical Art Therapy
720 Northern Boulevard
Brooklville, NY 11548
1000 Hempstead Avenue
Rockville Centre, NY 11571
Creative Arts Therapy
4245 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14618
34 Stuyvesant Street
New York, NY 10003
Creative Arts Therapy Dept.
200 Willoughby Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205
|SUNY New Paltz
1 Hawk Drive
New Paltz, NY 12561
|SUNY at Fredonia
280 Central Ave.
Fredonia, NY 14063
|Buffalo State- SUNY
1300 Elmwood Ave
Buffalo, NY 14222
|School of Visual Arts
132 West 21st St., 3rd floor
New York, NY 10010
|Russell Sage College
Creative Arts in Therapy
65 1st Street
Troy, NY 12180
101 Broad Street
Plattsburgh, NY 12901
|St Thomas Aquinas College
125 Route 340
Sparkill, NY 10976
Additional Web Links
For more information on creative arts therapists, go to:
American Art Therapy Association: http://www.arttherapy.org
American Music Therapy Association: http://www.musictherapy.org
National Association for Drama Therapy: http://www.nadt.org
New York Art Therapy Association: http://www.nyarttherapy.org.
National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Association: http://www.nccata.org