Unconventional Careers: Art Therapist

Another unique career is here. You?ve undoubtedly heard about careers in art and therapy. But did you know a career as an art therapist exists? So, what exactly does an art therapist do?

Let?s find out!

The concept that creative expression aids healing is still relatively new in India. Through artist endeavours, people can explore their emotions, address and overcome stress, and explore different aspects of self. An art therapist plays an active role in sessions, where they guide patients through creative processes and support them as they actively participate in the process.

Challenges around low self-esteem, behavioural concerns and conflict resolution are addressed and treated through art therapy. Unlike the pill-popping modern medicine, art therapy is a gradual process. You?d be surprised to know how people with physical challenges have created beautiful art.

Art therapy has proved to benefit many, yet why is it that people haven?t pursued this career? Firstly, it is an unconventional career, and it takes courage and persistence to take up a creative endeavour. Second, the uncertainty around it doesn?t attract young adults to take up this field.

Mental health has taken centre stage, especially during this pandemic. An increasing number of people have sought alternative or complementary healing therapies. Art therapy is one of the many options available.

?Art has always been the raft onto which we climb to save our sanity. I don?t see a different purpose for it now.?

- Dorothea Tanning

Would you like to Pursue a Career in Art Therapy?

To become an art therapist, you need to have been certified in human development, psychological and behavioural disorders, counselling techniques and therapeutic techniques. On acquiring these certifications, one can work for hospitals, rehabilitation care centres, psychiatric organisations or clinics, assisted living centres, orphanages, senior communities and schools. This therapy is used with all age group but mainly with kids. Here are some centres that provide training in Art Therapy:

1. Sankalpa (Auroville, Pondicherry)       

Sankalpa is an art centre based in the International Zone of Auroville. The art centre is actively hosting various individual and group expressive art therapy sessions for all ages and backgrounds, workshops, training, collaborations and much more. Even volunteers are welcome to participate in this program.

2. Arth Counselling and Arts-Based Therapy (Andheri West, Mumbai)

Arth is a mental health initiative established in 2014 by the founder, Dr Nivedita Chalill, to promote Mental Health through Counselling and Arts-Based Therapy. Through the years, they have continued expanding their services to include preventive and promotive ARTH services.

3. Anantaraa Arts-Based Therapy (Andheri West, Mumbai)

?Arts-Based Therapy (ABT) is the evidence-based use of art forms to accomplish individualised goals within a therapeutic relationship. It is a contemporary therapy based on traditional and modern artistic material.

4. Abhyaantar Healing Arts (New Delhi)

Abhyaantar helps people through Expressive Arts Therapy (EAT) using a combination of visual art, dance, drama and creative writing to enable their clients to explore and fully express themselves.

Role of An Art Therapist

  1. Design a treatment as per the needs of the patients.
  2. Keep patients in the loop about the steps taken.
  3. Learn updated methods to promote growth and self-development.
  4. Evaluate the patient?s progress and development.
  5. Record and maintain the therapy sessions, progress and any observations.
  6. Join larger communities and forum to discuss case studies and best practices.
  7. Work together with psychiatrists, psychologists and occupational therapists for patient treatment.
  8. Ensure safe and clean facilities.
  9. The therapist should maintain professionalism during the therapy.

An art therapist can work individually or in a public centre. Upon completion of required certification and practice, an art therapist can work for hospitals, rehabilitation centres, psychiatric organisations, and any communities seeking help.


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