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Thread: Expressive Art Therapy

  1. #1

    Default Expressive Art Therapy

    Has anyone heard of this field before? Well It has always for a long time been a huge interest of mine to get more involved with ceramics, now i have found a way i can do it, and still have a dependable career field.
    Basically I would be working with people who have autism, disorders, trauma, or lots of stress, by helping them express their feelings through painting, pottery, sculpting, poetry, that kind of stuff. It is basically my dream come true, not only do i get to work on a deep incite towards art, but also help people through their problems at the same time.
    Anyhow, i have just recently started to look into this, and i pretty much have decided i want to major in it. If anybody has some advice as to where to get started, it would be appreciated.

    You know, when you think about it too, being an ab/dl is just another form of expressive therapy, although i highly doubt i would ever subscribe somebody to such a practice, i'd probably lose my licence.

  2. #2

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    I'm going to assume you don't yet have a BS- I'm guessing you're investigating college/career options and are weighing this as an option. Anyway, a very close friend of mine has a degree in art therapy. She worked for years as a social worker, until she got laid off when the economy went belly up. She's recently found a new job and is starting an art therapy business on the side.

    The upside for art therapy is that there's a good market for it and there's very few people out there doing it.

    The downside of it is that if you want to build a career as an art therapist, you should also double major in business. Art therapy isn't a service offered by many hospitals, counseling centers, etc. You need to be prepared to start up and run a business- this means in addition to being an art therapist, be prepared to be a CEO, an accountant, a marketer, a scheduler, and a biller. You're also going to need to find out a way to find clients. My friend's business is starting to build, but she's told me the only way she's finding clients is because she built herself a huge network of contacts in nursing homes, adult care facilities, etc when she was a social worker for 30 years. Since she already has a foot in the door, they invite her back to give presentations to their staff on her services and how they can refer her clients. But those opportunities wouldn't exist if not for her background.

  3. #3

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    Good to know, that helps a ton. I kind of figured that i might need to start my own office, but I didn't know what i would be up against.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyger View Post
    Good to know, that helps a ton. I kind of figured that i might need to start my own office, but I didn't know what i would be up against.
    Honestly, these issues aren't unique. While you may not be a doctor, you're still a medical practitioner. Think of all the different things that happen in a doctor's office to make it work, and realize you'll need to replicate all of those. It's not impossible. It's just not a situation where you'll find "art therapist" in the want ads. The business is out there. You just need to be prepared to be a small businessman (woman?) in addition to a medical professional- and realize that a medical practice operates with a good amount of overhead that your average dry cleaners or hardware store doesn't.

  5. #5

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    Very good advise from NightFox, and things I wouldn't have thought through. It sounds like you might want to consider more traditional forms of therapy such as physical therapy. That would get you into the medical field and provide you with employment through the established medical area. You could always branch out once you are established.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by dogboy View Post
    Very good advise from NightFox, and things I wouldn't have thought through. It sounds like you might want to consider more traditional forms of therapy such as physical therapy. That would get you into the medical field and provide you with employment through the established medical area. You could always branch out once you are established.
    I actually had the same thought. Look into MS degrees in Occupational Therapy or Physical Therapy. These degrees are two years beyond a BS, and you'll walk into a $90k/yr job with minimal searching. Yet they're still low enough on the academic totem pole that you could start pursuing Art Therapy afterward. Trust me, if you're employed as an OT with a rehab center and one day tell your boss you're now qualified for Art Therapy, they'll use you for it.

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