Using creative measures, art therapists encourage patients to express themselves artistically. They use a variety of materials to get patients to discuss and work through emotional difficulties. Art therapists work with patients suffering from a variety of issues including mental and physical illness, those recovering from a traumatic experience, and patients with a learning difficulty.
Work can be either one on one, or in small groups. Many art therapists work as part of a therapeutic team, alongside psychologists and psychotherapists, nurses and social workers. This form of treatment is becoming more widely recognized, and as a result, the opportunities are increasing for practitioners.
The majority of practitioners work either for the NHS or for local authority social services departments. However, opportunities are also increasing with private health care providers, the voluntary sector, drug and alcohol services, and the prison service.
Salaries will vary depending upon experience and location. A newly qualified practitioner working for the NHS can expect to earn around ?19,000 a year, while a senior therapist can earn up to ?30,000 a year.
It is also possible to combine private self-employed work with a part-time position in the NHS, for example. For information on all the different possibilities, refer to the following organizations:
Health Professions Council
NHS Learning and Development Service
British Association of Arts Therapy (BAAT)
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