My most asked question after what is art therapy, is how can I become an art therapist?
Often people ask if the groups I facilitate for adults in cultural and other settings are for professionals hoping to explore the field of study within art therapy or for those who want to attend art therapy for their own mental health benefits.
The answer is yes to both
For example the sessions I facilitate in RHA Gallery are classed as art therapy (tasters and short term groups are low support level therapy) but attending art therapy is also the first step to exploring the path of studying art therapy!
With any somatic or creative therapy, we can not begin to study something we do not understand or do not have have any experience with. A master's level qualification is required to register with IACAT (Irish Association of Creative Art Therapists) and practice art therapy in Ireland. Training normally takes 4 years part time or 2 years full time with a relevant undergraduate degree and experience.
From my Msc training experience I seen how using therapeutic art to explore your own emotions/experience is a vital part of becoming an art therapist. A level of understanding personal therapeutic art-making is a requirement on all art therapy/psychotherapy masters courses in Ireland, UK and elsewhere.
My MSc Art Therapy training was in Ulster University, School of Art and many of my colleagues now work as art therapists across Ireland. It is a very diverse and exciting career that can support people across the lifespan in a great range of settings.
Check out more information about creative therapies in Ireland here www.iacat.ie