As defined by the Canadian Art Therapy Association, art therapy is a "clinical profession including the study of human development, psychological theories, and counseling techniques. It uses the creative process of art-making and client-reflection to improve and enhance mental, physical and emotional well-being of individuals. The creative process effectively aids in coping with illness, stress and trauma; resolving conflicts and problems; developing interpersonal and social skills; managing behaviour; treating developmental or psychological impairment; achieving insight and increased self-esteem" (2013).
As defined by the Ontario Expressive Arts Therapy Association, expressive arts therapy is "an arts-based approach to therapy that engages and supports the client through a process of creative expression to help them reconnect with their inner resources. Expressive Arts Therapists offer interventions that integrate the use of visual arts, creative writing, drama, music, voice and movement as catalysts for personal inquiry, discovery and growth" (2020).
According to the Canadian Art Therapy Association, art therapy benefits "individuals and groups of children, youth, adults, older adults; couples and families; anyone experiencing learning, neurological, cognitive, physical and/or emotional challenges, as well as diverse cultural and social challenges" (2013).
"Art Therapists provide clinical and therapeutic services in counseling agencies; community programs; educational institutions; correctional institutes; treatment centres; hospitals; rehabilitation and elder-care locations; corporate organizations; open studios and private practices" (Canadian Art Therapy Association, 2013).
No! You do not need be an artist or have experience with the arts to benefit from art therapy or expressive arts therapy. We believe the process of creating is therapeutic.
There is no school that is greater than the other. I would suggest that if you're interested in becomming an art therapist that you do thorough research into every potential school. Every school has a different history, approach, theory background, accredidation, and instructors. I am unable to suggest any one school; they are individual to you. Do your research to see which school is the best fit for you.