While trying to find information pertaining to who benefits most (men or women) from art therapy in the treatment of PTSD, I came across a rather interesting article titled "Art Therapy Legislation."
The article stated that The Buckeye Art Therapy Association, or BATA, as well as many other consumer organizations, are asking Ohio legislature to consider art therapy for licensure! This would, according to the article, "create a clear definition for credentialed and licensed professional art therapists in the state of Ohio that includes the nationally recognized standards for graduate education, competencies, hours of supervised practice, and credentialing, [and] protect the public and improve mental health outcomes by prohibiting unqualified practitioners from advertising themselves or otherwise holding themselves out to be art therapists or practicing art therapy. "
Now, it appears the problem thus far with art therapy in the state of Ohio, is that art therapists work with incredibly vulnerable individuals--these consisting of the mentally disabled, developmentally delayed, older adults, older adults with dementia, traumatized children (and teens/adults, for that matter), and veterans suffering from PTSD--and yet there is no set group of standards that assure the persons that their art therapist is qualified to address their specific issues via the medium of art therapy. However, the national standard for art therapy is a specified two year graduate degree, 60 supervised hours of practice, and the "highest level of professional standards (as stated by the article, located here: http://www.buckeyearttherapy.org/Legislation/BATA_Two_Pager_Licensure.pdf )." But for some reason, in the state of Ohio ANYONE can claim to be an art therapist and treat unknowing patients without sufficient training or assessment. As result of the growing public awareness of the use of art therapy, it is quickly becoming more critical to have these legal guidelines in place, to avoid mis-treatment.
The article also states, "Art Therapists often achieve outcomes more rapidly than traditional psychotherapy by helping to represent a client's emotions visually and then reflect on what they create." This goes in accordance with my other recent findings that art expression therapy is a wonderful choice of up and coming treatment options.
In addition, the article lists reasons why legislation will be good for art therapy--it will protect the public. By recognizing and establishing a group of standards for art therapists, like other mental health professionals, the state will provide protection to consumers that ensures the qualifications of the therapist to treat the mother, father, child, veteran, or otherwise that are on the receiving end of these services. Art therapy will also become more cost effective and affordable due to this!
This sound to me like an all around good thing (well, maybe not to those who are currently practicing art therapy and are not licensed..). In relation to other states regulations, TX, NM, MA, PA, KY, MS, KS, and CA all have them. Additionally, there are thirty-eight AATA approved graduate art therapy education programs currently in existence in the US. Art therapy is definitely on its way to becoming main-stream!