NW Art Therapy

Art therapy is a human service profession that serves to increase self-awareness and self-esteem, improve social skills and behavior, increase the ability to problem solve, decrease stress, improve reality orientation and resolve emotional conflicts through the process of making art. In an art therapy session art media, images and other creative techniques are used to build the therapeutic relationship through the process of creating and sharing of the art work. Within the practice of art therapy the knowledge of psychological theories and human development are used in assessment and treatment of the individual.

How do I become an art therapist?

The requirements to become an art therapist consist of completing a Master's level art therapy degree program, which is a combination of the study of psychological theories, assessment, research, diagnosis, counseling techniques, and art therapy techniques, process and theories. Once a Master's degree has been obtained then post-graduate supervision is required to gain registration as an art therapist. There are some undergraduate programs in art therapy for individuals interested in starting their education at this level, but completing a Master's program will be required to practice professionally. The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) has a listing of all approved graduate and undergraduate programs in the United States.

What types of credentials do art therapists have?

The primary credential that art therapists carry is ATR, Art Therapist Registered, which represents that they have completed a specific number of post-graduate supervised hours and submitted references for approval by the Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB). Some art therapists have taken an exam through the ATCB to become a Board Certified Art Therapist, ATR-BC. Once an art therapist has become board certified they are required to maintain this credential through continuing education credits (CEC's). Individual art therapists may have additional credentials related to the education and training they have received. The ATCB has a listing by state of art therapists who are registered and board certified.


Do art therapists have a license?

Art therapists in Oregon were granted art therapy licensure on January 1, 2020. This means that for a clinician to be able to use the term Art Therapist and to be able to practice Art Therapy they need to be licensed to ensure that they have completed the training required to practice Art Therapy.

There are two Art Therapy licenses in Oregon: Licensed Art Therapist (LAT) and Licensed Certified Art Therapist (LCAT). An art therapist with either license has graduated from a Master's degree program in Art Therapy or has met the equivalency and has completed post-graduate clinical supervision hours. An LCAT Art Therapist has also passed a national board certification exam in Art Therapy.

An art therapist may also have another license from different licensing board such as Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) or Licensed Social Worker (LCSW).

If you are an art therapist seeking more information about the Oregon art therapy license please call the Oregon Health Licensing Office information line 503-378-8667.