What is art therapy?

Art therapy is a mental health modality where a client creates an artwork which is then followed up with a counselling session that aims to analyse this artwork. This allows for a calming experience for individuals to focus on their mind, body and emotions. It also lets the individual reflect on their life and past experiences. Some of the benefits of an art therapy treatment session include improved self-esteem, better behaviour management and reduced stress. Art therapists provide their valuable services to assist people dealing with:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Dementia
  • Grief
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Fears and phobias
  • Eating disorders
  • Muscle tension
  • Substance abuse
  • Trauma

There are many professional bodies that assist art therapists with professional development and networking opportunities, which include:

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

Art Therapy Courses in Adelaide

Should you study art therapy?

A common misconception about art therapy is that you need to be creative or already have an intrinsic artistic ability. However, all you need is an interest in helping others improve the quality of life of clients through finding meaning in their experiences through their artworks. Additionally, in order to become an art therapist in Adelaide, you will need to possess the following interpersonal skills:

  • Friendly and patient attitude in order to help build trust and ensure a safe and non-judgmental environment for the client.
  • Good verbal communication skills in order to guide clients in using art for therapeutic purposes and clearly explain to them why they feel a specific way.
  • Strong critical thinking skills to be able to observe and evaluate the artworks produced by the client.
  • Empathetic listening skills to be able to be more receptive to changes in the client's behaviour, emotions and thoughts. This is important if you have many sessions with clients and allows you to track changes. 

If you see an alignment with your personal and professional goals as well as your characteristics with the requirements of being an art therapist, then continue reading to learn more about your course and career options in Adelaide.

What are the course and study options for art therapists in Adelaide?

All art therapists in Adelaide are required to complete undergraduate and postgraduate degrees before they can work in a professional workplace setting. Firstly, they must obtain an undergraduate degree in either art, counselling, social science, nursing, psychology or another related course. Following this, you will be required to do a Master's program with a specialty in art therapy or art education. In Adelaide, there are many flexible study options and delivery modes available to you. This includes on-campus, online or blended learning methods.

The theoretical aspects of the course will cover a wide range of aspects that relate to art therapy. This includes an overview of art therapy, processes, how it can assist with an individual's mental health and self-awareness, ways to facilitate the growth of new ideas and how to conduct guided painting exercises. You are also required to complete 750 hours of supervised clinical training as a part of your postgraduate degree.

If you scroll up, you will find a list of art therapy courses available to you in the Adelaide region. If you still have any questions regarding the learning modes, curriculum or accreditation after browsing your options, you can get in touch with the institution directly.

What happens after you complete your art therapy course?

After finishing your 5 years of educational training, you will be eligible to join the peak membership organisation for art therapists, the Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapies Association (ANZACATA). This is a prerequisite for all art therapists in Adelaide before they can work in a professional setting.

Art therapists have a wide range of workplace environments that they can work in. Sometimes they will be required to work alongside social scientists, allied health practitioners or researchers. Some of these workplace settings include psychiatric facilities, clinical research facilities, rehabilitation centres, assisted living facilities, mental health agencies and correctional facilities. Alongside their professional work, they need to meet the requirements of the Continuing Professional Education program in order to continue to work as a practising art therapist.

After gaining a couple of years working as a professional art therapist, you will be able to become self-employed where you have the option to start your own art therapy private practice. This career option will give you the opportunity to have greater control over the management of your business and how you interact with clients. If this is something that you pursue in the future, Natural Therapy Pages is able to help you in gaining new clients and traffic to your business. This can be done by letting you list your in-person art therapy sessions or online services via the practitioner listing page.