What skills are needed to do this kind of work?
For art therapy, I think that the skills you would need to do this work effectively overlap some with the theories that you would encounter. I do think that it would be beneficial to have some sort of crisis training, or a basic understanding of how to respond to people who might be in crisis, in addition to whatever art practices you introduced.
What theoretical ideas do people appear to interact with as a part of this vocation?
For art therapy, it would be crucial to have a working understanding of medical psychology, at the very least. Since those who seek out therapy generally are experiencing especially psychology having to do with trauma and recovery. I think it would also be helpful to have a basic understanding of mental illness, and how to go about being a support for people who are struggling with any of those experiences.
How well do your interests and gifts intersect with this field?
I’m not entirely sure – I think that this is very important work, and I very much enjoyed hearing our speaker talk about how much she enjoyed finding this career to pursue. I think that anyone who pursued this career would have to be committed to it – it isn’t an easy practice, to be there for people who are healing. I’m not sure if I personally am at a place in life where I could be 100% certain that I wouldn’t be overwhelmed at times, and so I think that that is perhaps a good indication that this isn’t precisely what I’m going to do.
What would you need to do between now and your graduation date to be successful in this field?
SPU does not currently have an art therapy program, to my understanding. It’s a fairly new field, so you could always try and put together your own sort of program, like our speaker did. I think that a major in general art studies and a minor in psychology could give you the basis that you would need, while still letting you study at SPU. If someone wanted to study elsewhere, they could look into other programs in the city. After that, you could get into contact with various institutions that use art therapy – there are definitely non-profits that operate out of Seattle that would have use of that skill, and probably even school groups, therapy groups, or others that would have positions in the city.