What Is Art Therapy? Career Prospects For An Art Therapist

By Anuj Mishra

Modernisation has been showing its effect in every sector and medical science is no exception. The way people are examined, diagnosed and treated is highly evolved and it continues to get better and effective by the day. No doubt problems and diseases have also started showing their strange sides and types but the constantly modernising treatment techniques have always been to our rescue. One such rescuer which has been gaining immense adaptability lately is art therapy.


Art therapy is a therapeutic treatment of expressing art for the diagnosis and treatment of physical as well as mental illness. While it mainly focuses on rectifying mental disabilities, its invincible power is also known to heal physical abnormalities. In the expressive treatment of art therapy, the patient practises or performs an art form to express their mental and physical state and the therapist suggests and examines the resultant art in order to scrutinise and treat the illness.

Career Prospects For An Art Therapist

Various Forms Of Art Therapy And Who Needs Them

Talking about the types of art which are practised, painting and drawing are the most common forms, but, in many cases, dance, clay modelling and photography are also involved. This unique way of treating patients fights various flaws within a human body and mind.

This may include an individual suffering from a disturbed mental state due to a ferocious past memory. Someone going through mental trauma due to critical conditions such as cancer, depression, autism, dementia or brain injury can also be subjected to this therapy.

It could be beneficial for individuals who desire to improve their personality by enhancing their self-esteem and mental calmness. Couples going through severe inner conflicts are also often the subjects of the treatment.

In today's fast-paced lifestyle, stress and depression are major concerns amongst a large group of working professionals and through art therapy, this ever-growing problem can be fought effectively.

How Is It Conducted

An art therapist is someone who has a deep knowledge of the human mind and body along with being a veteran of art. They are fully aware of the deep insights of human psychology and behaviour which is fully acquired after having received certifications and experience in the field.

The sessions of art therapy are often conducted in large groups where people are provided with all the painting materials including a canvas, a board, a pencil, colours and all that could be needed to express themselves artistically. However, depending on the case, an individual can also be given separate treatment.

Scope Of Art Therapy In India

The profession of an art therapist is not yet booming in India while the institutions offering the course and practise are also rare. An aspiring art therapist can find this course only in a few cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Chennai.

Requirements To Become An Art Therapist

You need to be a certified professional in various expertises such as human development, psychological and behavioural disorders, counselling techniques and therapeutic techniques. They should not only have a strong understanding of painting but other arts as well including sculptures, dance and photography.

Where Is Art Therapy Practised

An art therapist can either work individually by fetching clients and counselling them or they can work in various public settings. An art therapist does not necessarily set-up a clinic like the conventional doctors. After acquiring the sufficient education and courses, one can work for hospitals, rehabilitation care centres, psychiatric organisations or clinics, assisted living centres, orphanages, senior communities and schools.

Kids experience the great impact of art therapy which is why it is largely used for treating youngsters. Other organisations such as forensic centres, research facilities and crisis centres also require art therapists.

Future Of Art Therapy In India

Although, these professionals haven't yet seen substantial opportunities in India, looking at the health ecosystem in the nation with people mostly suffering from mental conditions such as stress, depression, anxiety and low self-esteem, the future is expected to bring along a huge demand of art therapists.

A person who is an avid painter or art performer with a deep interest in the medical field, especially psychological domain, should undoubtedly ponder upon the idea of venturing into this sector. Internationally, it has already started showing its scope in various countries.

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