• Human Growth and Development: Human psychological development across the life span, theories of
personality development, cultural and environmental influences. Familiarity with human behavior, including
developmental crises, disability, exceptional behavior, and addictive behavior.
• Counseling/Psychological Theories: Historical development of counseling and psychological theories,
understanding of systems perspective, application to case material, and interviewing and counseling skills.
• Research: Basic tenets of planning, conducting, and evaluating research and understanding research
methodology, to include qualitative and quantitative designs. The importance of research in the psychotherapy
professions, ethical, practical, and legal considerations, and the use of research to assess effectiveness of mental
• Field Experience: Clinical field experience providing counseling/psychotherapeutic services under supervision and
completed for graduate credit. This requirement can be waived if the applicant is a graduate of an art therapy
graduate program and completed art therapy field experience meeting the ATR requirement.
Art Therapy Core Content Requirement: A minimum of 24 graduate semester credits (or 36 quarter credits) in
art therapy core curriculum (not including credits earned for practicum/internship or studio art) that substantially cover
the content in the nine areas listed below. These courses can be completed within a degree program or outside a
• History of art therapy: includes a study of art therapy history and events, the development of art therapy as a
distinct therapeutic practice, and the contributions of major art therapy theorists and practitioners.
• Theory of art therapy: includes a study of psychotherapy theories relevant to art therapy.
• Techniques of practice in art therapy: includes a study of the application of art therapy theory, the use of art
processes and materials in art therapy practice, and the establishment of therapeutic goals and intervention
• Application of art therapy with people in different treatment settings: includes a study of art therapy
interventions including materials, theories and practices for the treatment of individuals in various treatment settings
(e.g. inpatient, outpatient, partial treatment programs, and aftercare).
• Art therapy assessment: includes a study of a variety of art therapy assessment tools and methods, administration
and documentation of art therapy assessment, and the formulation of treatment goals, objectives, and strategies
related to assessment and evaluation.
• Ethical and legal issues of art therapy practice: includes a study of the ethical and legal issues of the art therapy
profession, the ethical standards of the ATCB and the AATA, and the proper application of ethical and legal
principles of art therapy practice.
• Matters of cultural and social diversity bearing on the practice of art therapy: includes a study of cultural
diversity theory and competency models applied to an understanding of diversity of artistic language, symbolism,
and meaning in artwork and art making across culture and within a diverse society.
• Standards of good art therapy practice: includes a study of art therapy professional organizations, credentialing
and licensure, public policy, advocating for the profession, and client advocacy.
• Group art therapy: includes a study of the theory and practice of group art therapy, principles of group dynamics,
therapeutic factors, member roles and behaviors, leadership styles and approaches, selection criteria, and the
influence of art media on group process.
Practicum/Internship Requirement: These requirements must be completed within a structured art therapy
practicum course for graduate credit. The practicum course must be taught, supervised or advised by a current ATR,
ATR-BC and/or ATCS. On-site supervision must be provided by someone with a minimum of a master’s degree in a
mental health field and a current master’s level mental health credential or license. A master’s or higher degree in a
mental health field must have been required to obtain that license or credential. A minimum of 700 hours of supervised
art therapy practicum/internship, including a minimum of 350 hours of direct provision of art therapy services to
individuals, groups, and/or families. The remaining hours may include supervision, case review, record keeping,
preparation, staff meetings, and other administrative functions. Supervision hours must be overseen and documented as
such: individual (1:1) supervision hours must be accrued at a ratio of one hour of supervision for every ten hours of
practicum/internship and/or group (two or more supervisees per supervisor) supervision must be accrued at a ratio of
one and one-half hours of supervision for every ten hours of practicum/internship. A minimum of 70 individual or 105
group supervision hours is required.
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ATR Application Handbook (effective January 1, 2021)