Dearest Future Art Therapist Who Feels Overwhelmed by It All,
I was once in your shoes.
It take a lot to become an art therapist.
First, there’s the prerequisites to get into graduate school for art therapy: an undergraduate degree, 6 classes in art, 5 in psychology, a portfolio of art, and an application that highlights it all.
Then there is deciding what kind of art therapy program you would like to do (Art therapy? Expressive art therapy? A counseling degree with a concentration in art therapy?)
Then there is the program itself, which includes anywhere from 20-30 courses and an internship (and sometimes two depending on the program you select).
I say courses like it’s a simple thing. You know it means so much more: textbooks, weekly meetings, essays, papers, research, tests, and more.
It’s a lot, and that’s before we even talk about the cost.
Or what it takes after you graduate to become an independent art therapist (lots of paperwork, supervision, and more).
I’m not trying to overwhelm you even more. I just want to acknowledge the reality of your situation and WHY it feels overwhelming.
I was also once there.
When I learned about art therapy, I thought it would be an amazing profession. I didn’t actually start my education until six years later because I was so overwhelmed by how much it would take.
I already had two undergraduate degrees, a minor, and a year of post-baccalaureate study. I didn’t want to return to do 11 more classes BEFORE I could even start the masters.
As each year went by though, it was another year doing a job that wasn’t a good fit for me.
I finally took a step by just taking one psychology course. And then another. And another.
And that’s how I kept going. The next best choice.
Have I learned things now that I would now do differently if I could repeat my educational process? Absolutely.
But I made the best decisions for myself at the time, given the knowledge I had, my circumstances, and the options available to me.
It’s hard to believe I now run my own art therapy private practice.
Hard to believe I am now living what I dreamed.
So for you dear human, just keep doing the next thing that will get you closer to what you want.
You’ll get there.
And I hope that along the way, you get to enjoy what you’re doing. I had to take a ceramics class that met every day for four hours as one of my pre-requisites. I had SO MUCH FUN.
Yes, it’s all a lot of work, but when you’re studying something that truly interests you, it is so much more fun and motivating.
I wish you the best on your journey.
We need more art therapists.
I hope you join us.