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Art Therapist

Use activities like painting or crafts to treat patients' emotional issues.

What does an Art Therapist do?

Art therapists are a type of mental health professional who use the sight and creation of art to help their patients work through illness, mental issues, or past trauma. Your patients come from all over, including retirement homes, halfway houses, women’s shelters, psychiatric hospitals, and schools.

Along with good art skills, an open mind, lots of patience and good listening skills are important tools for art therapists in their dealings with these ranges of clients and illnesses.

The premise of an art therapist’s job is that art helps a patient boost self-esteem, work through a loss, lower anxiety, and overall improve mental and emotional well-being. Using this theory you work with a wide range of patients with a wide range of issues. In the span of a single day you may find yourself working with a young burn victim, an elderly AIDS patient, someone with depression or schizophrenia, and a person with developmental needs.

You make your therapy plans by combining psychology with different forms of art, creating personalized sessions that include activities such as loom weaving, picture painting, or quilt sewing to address a patient’s individual therapy needs. Throughout these sessions you keep track of your clients’ progress with detailed records, notes, and charts to see what is helping the patient, and if you are meeting your overall therapy goals.