CiiAT - Canadian International Institute of Art Therapy
What is the difference between art therapy and therapeutic arts?
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What is the difference between art therapy and therapeutic arts?

Both art therapy and the therapeutic arts have numerous benefits relating to well-being, mental health, stress reduction, self-expression, and more. The main difference between the two is: that anyone can learn and use therapeutic arts in their personal and professional lives, whereas art therapy can only be ethically practiced in Canada by a professional or registered art therapist. Art therapists use therapeutic art and art therapy techniques, interventions, and clinical approaches to help clients work toward their goals and overcome obstacles, issues, and trauma.

Therapeutic arts often rely on the artistic process and create a safe space for self-reflection. The defining characteristic of therapeutic art vs. art therapy is the scope of practice. Art therapists undergo over two years of training, including a practicum component, increasing their competence and scope of practice when working with clients with specific mental health goals.

On the other hand, businesses may integrate therapeutic arts to help relieve employee stress through calming art activities, or build team engagement. However, they can not use these activities to engage with clients or create treatment plans. If someone is struggling with their mental health or seeking therapy options, they should connect with a healthcare professional, like a registered art therapist. With all this said, therapeutic arts are invaluable and act as a resource for individuals to engage with creative processes in a restorative and therapeutic manner.

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