Art Therapist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Plans or conducts art therapy sessions or programs to improve clients' physical, cognitive, or emotional well-being.

This career is part of the Health Science cluster Therapeutic Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Talks with clients during art or other therapy sessions to build rapport, acknowledge their progress, or reflect upon their reactions to the artistic process.
  • Conducts art therapy sessions providing guided self-expression experiences to help clients recover from or cope with cognitive, emotional, or physical impairments.
  • Designs art therapy sessions or programs to meet client's goals or objectives.
  • Writes treatment plans, case summaries, or progress or other reports related to individual clients or client groups.
  • Observes and documents client reactions, progress, or other outcomes related to art therapy.
  • Establishes goals or objectives for art therapy sessions in consultation with clients or site administrators.
  • Gathers client information from sources such as case documentation, client observation, or interviews of client or family members.
  • Develops individualized treatment plans that incorporate studio art therapy, counseling, or psychotherapy techniques.
  • Analyzes or synthesizes client data to draw conclusions or make recommendations for art therapy.
  • Assesses client needs or disorders, using drawing, painting, sculpting, or other artistic processes.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel