Art Therapist Statement

I went to school first for Art Therapy during my undergrad and changed my major to Fine Arts, receiving my BFA. I did this because I had already taken all the Art Therapy classes and I wanted to give myself more art studio time as I truly feel like the artist came first before the Art Therapist and I knew I needed to go on to graduate studies for Art Therapy if I wanted to become an Art Therapist. That was my educational journey, and I am glad I did it this way because the time I put into developing more as an artist and studying myself impacted my work as an Art Therapist directly! I have been a Registered Art Therapist for about 8 years and studying Art Therapy for over a decade. Art Therapy has been my main field of study since I was barely 17! Art Therapy can be used in combination with Psychotherapy like I offer in my psychotherapy private practice, however, Art Therapy can be used without combining it into psychotherapy, like astrology. It has taken me a lot of study and experience to be able to confidently separate the two as I mostly learned Art Therapy in combination with psychotherapy studies. Even though this is true in my adult years, I believe that I was using art by itself (not combined with psychotherapy) to heal naturally from a young age. It feels natural for me to also offer Art Therapy as a service for self-development in ways that are not entering a therapist role but may feel more like a coach. If I feel like psychotherapy may be better for you than just Art Therapy alone, I can give you referrals and help you find a psychotherapist.
Ways Art Therapy by itself differs from Psychotherapy:
  • Art Therapy by itself is not linked to a psychotherapy theoretical approach, however, is more based on your Art Therapist as a mentor, teacher, supporter, or coach.
  • Although many feelings may come up in Art Therapy sessions, it is not the core focus of Art Therapy, whereas in psychotherapy the core focus is to talk and process our feelings.
  • Art Therapy by itself can look like reaching specific goals and the Art Therapist being able to hold a safe space so that you are able to reach these goals by using the arts as a tool in doing so, whereas psychotherapy is not typically solely about reaching a goal but is more about resolving symptoms.
  • Art Therapy by itself can be simply about the process of art-making and for those who want to explore art as a vessel for self-expression and learning about oneself.
  • Art Therapy by itself simple put is an overall great general wellness practice for yourself!
  • Art Therapy by itself can be helpful for artists of any kind with creative blocks or for those who want to explore and develop their creativity, which is not the sole purpose in seeking psychotherapy.
Art Therapists use what is called: “Art Therapy Directives” and sometimes the Art Therapy Directive has a more specific purpose to touch upon a specific goal. For example, there are Art Therapy Directives that are geared more toward increasing self-esteem, or Art Therapy Directives that are all about working with dreams. There are hundreds of these we learn that provide clients with the needed structure as they make art in session. Sometimes, I even come up with new Art Therapy Directives together with my clients in session based on what we are working on. It is such a creative tool, and the possibilities are endless which truly brings so much hope to whatever comes up for the individual.
I also pair astrology with Art Therapy, too which has been so much fun. This looks like using art to better understand your natal chart and develop a deeper relationship with your natal chart, often bringing many insights and deeper learning!
Art therapy for overall wellness and wellbeing:
  • Art Journaling practice
  • Soul Collage practice
  • Open studio artmaking
  • A mandala a day art practice
  • Scrapbooking
  • Nature/Eco-Art Therapy
  • …and more. (Coming soon: more in-depth pages describing all of these above and more!)

Please note: I am not currently offering these sessions just yet because I am currently booked at my private practice and with astrology sessions and other commitments, but please check back soon if you are interested!

Rachel Howard, MA, BFA, ATR-BC (Board Registered Art Therapist in the United States, the highest credential for Art Therapists), Certified Soul Collage Facilitator, Astrologer, and Artist.