Q: Do I have to have art, dance, or music experience to participate in Creative Arts Therapy? 

A: No. Creative Arts Therapy is not based on the principles of good vs. bad or talented vs. novice. It is based on the principle that the process of creating and engaging in a therapeutic activity is paramount to healing. 


Q: What training do Creative Arts Therapists have? 

A: Creative Arts Therapists are specially trained to aid clients in exploring and identifying their own personal understanding of their art and movement. Art therapist do not interpret their clients' artwork, dance or movement, nor do they force particular directives or media onto their clients. Creative Arts Therapy is meant to be a personal exploration within the artistic process, with therapists merely facilitating the experience.  

In order to become a Creative Art Therapist, one must complete a two-year masters program from a credentialed program. These programs include the completion of a thesis, as well as two years of intensive internship training. After graduation, Creative Arts Therapists must then work towards becoming credentialed. To receive a license in New York State, Creative Arts Therapists must complete 1,500 supervised clinical contact hours and pass the Board Certification exam provided by the Art Therapy Credentials Board. 


Q: What are the different Creative Arts Therapy modalities? 

A: There are several forms of Creative Arts Therapy, which include art, dance, music, and drama. 

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that utilizes art making as a primary mode of expression, exploration and catharsis. Art Therapy is based on an eclectic combination of primarily psychodynamic theories and therapeutic interventions. There are two primary schools of thought in the Art Therapy community: art as therapy and art psychotherapy. Art as therapy is based in the belief in the inherent healing power of the creative process of art making as a therapeutic tool in and of itself. Art psychotherapy is the idea that the art product is a means of symbolic communication of emotions and conflicts. In many practices these theories are used in conjunction with one another. 

The American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) defines dance/movement therapy (DMT) as, “the psychotherapeutic use of movement as a process which furthers the emotional, social, cognitive, and physical integration of the individual.” (www.adta.org) Recognized as beginning in the 1940’s, DMT is used with a variety of populations and in a number of settings around the United States and throughout the world. DMT can be used to establish, or re-establish a sense of relatedness to self and others. It is believed that what we experience in the mind, we experience in the body, thus working with the body in creative movement to make the unconscious available. DMT can be beneficial for many who wish to explore , relate and express through a creative, body-level experience in individual treatment or as a form of group therapy.

The American Music Therapy Association defines Music Therapy is "the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. Music Therapy is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals."