A few months ago, while browsing online, I was pleasantly surprised to find The Canadian International Institute of Art Therapy (CiiAT), which could provide certifications in different areas under Art Therapy. For years I had been in search of an Art Therapy program that was delivered online, as I was at a stage in my life where I couldn’t commit to a long-term traditional program, but I was so eager to learn and understand the concept of Art-based therapies. The Therapeutic Art Practitioner Program (TAPPs), which consists of 4 modules for the first level of certification and an additional 3 specialized modules that would provide the therapist with a Master Practitioner Certification, was the perfect opportunity to learn Art-based therapy and be a certified Therapeutic Art Practitioner in a few months.
The idea that I could immediately start implementing and using all the tools I was learning to benefit my adult clients, as well as learn ways to work with children, adolescents and seniors on an individual basis, or through dyad work or group work, was totally fascinating.
After completing 10 hours of live-in-class and on-camera sessions in TAPPs one, I am much more confident about selecting this program than ever before. During the course, we were able to understand the difference between Therapeutic Art and Art Therapy and how the latter was more clinical-based and required a much longer period to complete. We went through the do’s and don’ts of Therapeutic Art and the importance of process versus product. We also tapped into how the human brain functions and why we process information the way we do.
We were constantly exploring and learning new techniques while also practicing some exercises as a class live-on-camera. We were able to share our personal experiences and reflect on how the activity triggered our own emotions. The practical work provided us with a better understanding of the process the client would go through during their Art Therapy sessions. We were able to explore different ways to commence and end a session. Additionally, we learned ways to ground ourselves while watching and listening to our clients share their stories.
The beauty of these learnings was that after only one module, I felt empowered with the tools I had learned and practiced, and I could immediately start implementing and using them with my clients, regardless of their age. I am looking forward to completing the remaining modules and mastering new techniques.
I would like to share a saying that Cheryl-Ann, the course instructor, highlighted in one of her classes, “Remember we are humans, then Creatives, and then Therapeutic Art Practitioners” this sums up what the role of the Therapeutic Art Practitioner is in terms of facilitating a Therapeutic Art session and holding the safe space for the client to create their artwork and start their healing journey.