Art Therapist Career

Job Description: Plan or conduct art therapy sessions or programs to improve clients' physical, cognitive, or emotional well-being.


Is Art Therapist the right career path for you?
Take the MyMajors Quiz and find out if it fits one of your top recommended majors!

Art Therapist Career

What Art Therapists do:

  • Communicate client assessment findings and recommendations in oral, written, audio, video, or other forms.
  • Conduct art therapy sessions, providing guided self-expression experiences to help clients recover from, or cope with, cognitive, emotional, or physical impairments.
  • Conduct information sharing sessions, such as in-service workshops for other professionals, potential client groups, or the general community.
  • Customize art therapy programs for specific client populations, such as those in schools, nursing homes, wellness centers, prisons, shelters, or hospitals.
  • Design art therapy sessions or programs to meet client's goals or objectives.
  • Develop individualized treatment plans that incorporate studio art therapy, counseling, or psychotherapy techniques.
  • Establish goals or objectives for art therapy sessions in consultation with clients or site administrators.
  • Gather client information from sources such as case documentation, client observation, or interviews of client or family members.
  • Instruct individuals or groups in the use of art media, such as paint, clay, or yarn.
  • Interpret the artistic creations of clients to assess their functioning, needs, or progress.
  • Recommend or purchase needed art supplies or equipment.
  • Review research or literature in art therapy, psychology, or related disciplines.
  • Select or prepare artistic media or related equipment or devices to accomplish therapy session objectives.
  • Talk with clients during art or other therapy sessions to build rapport, acknowledge their progress, or reflect upon their reactions to the artistic process.
  • Write treatment plans, case summaries, or progress or other reports related to individual clients or client groups.
  • Confer with other professionals on client's treatment team to develop, coordinate, or integrate treatment plans.
  • Observe and document client reactions, progress, or other outcomes related to art therapy.
  • Analyze or synthesize client data to draw conclusions or make recommendations for art therapy.
  • Assess client needs or disorders, using drawing, painting, sculpting, or other artistic processes.
  • Photograph or videotape client artwork for inclusion in client records or for promotional purposes.
  • Supervise staff, volunteers, practicum students, or interns.
  • Analyze data to determine the effectiveness of treatments or therapy approaches.
  • Coordinate art showcases to display artwork produced by clients.
  • Teach art therapy techniques or processes to artists, interns, volunteers, or others.
  • Coordinate field trips for client groups to museums or other public displays of art.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Monitoring and Controlling Resources - Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Holland Code Chart for an Art Therapist