The need for a worldwide Art Therapy Association began when art therapy became recognized for its valuable contributions in the therapy field. This required a global and local base that offered an exchange of information for artists, educators, therapists, and other fields. Simultaneously, the Art Therapy Association would set standards for the analyzing of art therapy and guidelines for the developing assessments.
The Art Therapy Association has a Professional Standards Committee with certain objectives its members are required to follow. These are established by its three subcommittees. These committees work as three divisions but separately, yet work together to establish credentialing procedures for the following three areas, as established by the Art Therapy Association:
- Expressive Arts Therapist Committee – this committee identifies the “why and how” of the development of registration procedures for art therapist. They register expressive arts therapists every year, with renewing available for their registrations every two years. An ethics code has been developed by this group, and refers ethics issues to a governance committee.
- Expressive Arts Consultant/Educator Committee – this committee stays in contact about what is going on in the expressive arts C/E field. It also stays in for on-going development of registration procedures for expressive arts consultant and educators. Every two years this organization reviews registration applicants, renewing registration every two years. This group also maintains a professional ethics code and refers ethics issues to a governance committee.
- Expressive Artist Committee – seeking to engage all aspects of the expressive arts practices, this committee also maintains an all-inclusive interconnecting of many different types of artists–expressive arts artists, expressive arts healers, expressive arts educators, expressive arts therapists, and many other expressive arts facilitators.
It is not an easy thing to become a member of an Art Therapy Association. The application checklist alone needs to be submitted and received in triplicate form before the Art Therapy Association will even consider reviewing it.
The packet that will be sent to the interested member consists of a cover letter of intention, an applicant information form, a category selection page, IEATA application–Autobiographical minimum 5-page statement, expressive Arts Philosophy minimum 5-page statement, Supervision forms for Pre-Masters Practicum, Supervision Forms for Post-Masters Practicum, Education and Training Form, supervised Post-Masters Expressive Arts Therapy Experience, and Expressive Arts Therapists Confirmation Form of personal therapy, Curriculum Vitae or Resume, Tracking Form for Letters of Reference and Transcripts, Official Transcripts, two letters of reference or five if applying under exceptional category E, and the application fee of $120.00 along with the introduction page listing the needed items. If none of the paperwork is received in that order, after 3 months the application will be returned.
The Art Therapy Association also requires an educational background already completed in order to demonstrate qualification in the art field or related field in order to register as an art therapist:
• Masters Degree in Expressive Arts Therapy
• Masters Degree in Psychology or Related Counseling Discipline, Plus Training in Expressive Arts Therapy Training
• Masters Degree in Fine Arts Plus Training of Expressive Arts Therapy and Therapeutic Process
• Doctoral Degree in Expressive Arts Therapy
• Exceptional Category with Masters Degree or Higher in Expressive Arts, Psychology or Fine Arts