Bufalino, Rebecca - Art Therapist

From What can you do with a degree in psychology?

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[edit] Job Title (Rebecca Bufalino)

Art Therapist

[edit] General Overview

Art Therapy combines a creative process and psychotherapy. It facilitates self-exploration and understanding of thoughts through using imagery, shapes and colours. This creative process assists in revealing thoughts and feelings that can be difficult to articulate. Art Therapists work one on one with clients who experience illness, traumas or face challenges in everyday life. They use methods of art such as drawing, painting, sculpting and photography to help reveal the expressions and emotions each client feels.

[edit] Job duties and responsibilities

  • Talk to clients in therapy sessions to build relationships and analyze progress
  • Use drawing, building, sculpting crafts and more art forms for sessions; The form of art depends on the age and abilities of the client
  • Determine appropriate form of art for each client
  • Provide guided self-expression through each session to provide a better understanding of the client
  • Assist the client in coping with cognitive, emotional or physical impairments
  • Design programs that fit the client's goals and abilities
  • Write treatment plans, case summaries and progress reports for each client

[edit] Typical workday

A typical workday for an Art Therapist is similar to that of any other Therapist or counsellor. Their days vary depending on how many appointments they have. Sometimes they can have up to eight appointments a day. This involves meeting with clients, usually for an hour at a time. Their sessions involve conducting creative programs that allow the client to express themselves through visual aids. After the sessions are completed, they typically spend a few minutes producing case summaries and evaluations of the session. Their days are repetitive in the sense that it is the same structure every day, session after session. They are different because each session is unique and involves a different program and communication depending on the clients needs. Art Therapists can work in a variety of different settings, such as:

  • Hospitals and clinics
  • Schools, colleges and universities
  • Correctional facilities
  • Private practice

Each environment allows for different types of work days. Working in a school environment involves typical workdays that fluctuate in sessions. Some days can be chaotic and involve client after client, while others can be slow. Working in a private practice allows for more flexibility in scheduling. It isn't as random and spontaneous as working in a school setting. The appointments are more planned and structured. Each work setting displays slight changes in the typical workdays but involve the same general structure and ideas related to sessions.

[edit] Educational requirements and other qualifications

In Canada, a Bachelor of Arts is required to become an Art Therapist. It is recommended that the majority of the classes taken be related to Visual Arts and Psychology. This is required all over Canada. Further education is not necessary. However, it is beneficial to continue education to further experience. Furthering education involves post-graduate certificates, graduate diplomas or Master's degrees. There are Art Therapy Institutes that provide 15-month programs following an undergraduate degree. These programs are greatly recommended. Some locations of these schools are in British Columbia: The Vancouver Art Therapy Institute (VATI) and in Toronto: The Toronto Art Therapy Institute (TATI).

[edit] Related skills, interests and abilities

Skills that are necessary for a career as an Art Therapist are:

  • Social perceptiveness - This is an important skill to have because the main aspect of being an Art Therapist is interacting and understanding the client. There needs to be awareness of the clients' reactions to certain questions and an understanding as to why they are reacting in that manner. For example, if the patient becomes fidgety or uncomfortable when discussing their family, social perceptiveness allows the therapist to recognize these unusual behaviours and associate reasoning to them.
  • Inductive reasoning - This skill is needed to be able to combine pieces of information to form general and strong conclusions. In order to determine an accurate diagnosis, the therapist must be able to connect various pieces of information from their clients childhood, family relationships, friends and temperament[1].
  • Fluency of ideas - Art therapists require this skill because they need to be able to come up with a variety of ideas related to one topic. They also need to be able to think of many solutions and outcomes in an organized manner. This is necessary when working as a therapist because there are not always clear-cut answers to a problem. Art Therapists must be able to come up with a variety of ideas/solutions and then determine which one is the most accurate.

[edit] Relevance of Psychology undergraduate degree

An undergraduate degree in Psychology is relevant to become an Art Therapist because it assists in the understanding of individual behaviours and performances. Psychology classes focus on a variety of different behaviours, illnesses and trends within children, youth and adults. Taking Psychology provides knowledge about what symptoms and behaviours (e.g. temper tantrums, easily distracted) are associated with different illnesses (e.g. ADHD, bipolar disorder). A Psychology degree also helps in the understanding of individual differences. Psychology courses teach about Piaget and Vygotsky's theories related to development. These are important theories to learn about because they increase understanding about the stages of development and how temperaments interact with environments to influence development. This knowledge is necessary to obtain to be an Art Therapist because when interacting with a client it is important to be able to make connects between all of these factors. Art Therapists need to consider environment, temperament and typical development changes when considering what their client is going through.

[edit] Salary potential

The salary of an Art Therapist is comparable to that of a counsellor, social worker or therapist. They vary depending on education level and work environment (Private practice versus agency). The average salary for an Art Therapist as of 2015 is $54 095. This is for an Art Therapist with medium experience. Salary increases with education level and experience. If a post graduate certificate or masters is obtained the starting rate of an Art Therapist will be higher than an individual who obtained and undergraduate with no postgraduate degree[2].

[edit] Job outlook

Art Therapy is a growing field. The demand for work is not extremely high. However, it is a field that is becoming more popular and is being used a lot more in therapy sessions, especially with children.

[edit] To know more

http://www.canadianarttherapy.org/about-cata http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-1125.01

[edit] Notes and References

  1. 29-1125.01-Art Therapists. (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2015, from http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-1125.01
  2. Canada salary search (n.d.). Retrieved February 10, 2015, from http://www.wowjobs.ca/salary-art therapist
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