What is art therapy?

Art therapy is a therapeutic method that combines psychotherapy techniques with creative processes to treat a variety of psychological and emotional disorders. Art therapists assist people in exploring their emotions, acknowledging them, and ultimately releasing them so that they can live a more positive life. The goal of art therapy is to help people regain control of their minds, bodies and spirits by using their preferred art tools to express their thoughts and feelings. Anxiety, depression, trauma, grief, phobias, addiction, relationship problems, cancer and dementia are just a few of the conditions that can benefit from art therapy.

Some of the professional art therapy associations in Canberra that art therapists can join include:

  • Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapies Association (ANZACATA)
  • Professional Association for Arts Therapy in Australia and New Zealand (ANZATA)
  • Australian Counselling Association (ACA)
  • Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA)
  • Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW)
  • Australian Clinical Psychology Association (ACPA)
  • Australian Community Counselling Association (ACCA)
  • Australian Counselling
  • Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (ARCAP)
  • Australian Psychological Society (APS)

Art Therapy Courses in Canberra

Should you study art therapy?

If you enjoy the arts and helping others as well, art therapy could be your calling. And apart from learning a variety of art therapy techniques, studying art therapy will instil in you the admirable skills and qualities that have contributed to the success of many art therapists, including:

  • Knowledgeable and capable of using a variety of art tools, as well as an interest in studying human behaviour.
  • Highly creative and problem-solving savvy so that you can interpret your clients' artworks based on the colours, patterns and symbols used in relation to their current pattern of thoughts and feelings.
  • Excellent communication skills will enable you to guide your clients through the use of art for therapeutic purposes.
  • Caring personality and genuinely concerned about your clients' health and wellbeing.

If this aligns with your career goals and personal qualities, keep reading to learn about your course and study options in Canberra that will allow you to start your career as an art therapist.

What are the course and study options for art therapy in Canberra?

Whether you want to become a registered art therapist or learn how art therapy works so you can use it on yourself, family members and friends, Canberra has many art therapy schools that offer a variety of learning pathways. Art therapy can be studied on campus, online, or through a hybrid learning system. If you work 9 to 5 during the week or are preoccupied with household and family obligations, evening and weekend classes are also available.

If you're not sure whether art therapy is worth the investment, you can start by attending a workshop that demonstrates how the modality works. This will allow you to experiment with a variety of artistic tools and see how they work when rendering a therapy program.

A diploma qualification is beneficial if you want to graduate with a variety of healing tools that will enable you to find work. This course can take anywhere from 18 to 21 months to complete.

To become a registered art therapist, you must first earn a four-year bachelor's degree in counselling, psychology, psychotherapy, or any related field. After that, you must complete a two-year postgraduate program in art therapy.

A list of art therapy schools and course options can be found at the top of this page. If you have any questions about the entry requirements, curriculum, delivery methods or payment plans at the institution you want to attend, you may contact them directly.

What happens after you complete your art therapy course?

After finishing your studies and becoming a member of the Australian, New Zealand, and Asian Creative Arts Therapies Association (ANZACATA), you can begin to pursue your dream job in any industry. Art therapists can be found in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, community health centres, rehabilitation centres, mental health facilities and holistic clinics.

You can also open your own private practice specialising in art therapy. Being self-employed allows you to have more control over your work and manage your schedule with your clients. To gain and retain new clients, you can also list your in-person and online services on Natural Therapy Pages' practitioner listing pages.

Regardless of where you choose to work, taking Continuing Professional Education programs will help you stay current on art therapy techniques and maintain your membership in your organisation. Among the courses worth investing in are: