What is Art Therapy?

“Art Therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.” (The American Art Therapy Association, 2017)

Art Therapy, facilitated by a professional art therapist, effectively supports personal and relational treatment goals as well as community concerns. Art Therapy is used to improve cognitive and sensory-motor functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change. Art Therapists work in primary as well as adjunctive therapy positions.

Art therapy is effective when used with children, adolescents, adults, seniors, groups, and families. It has been shown to be effective when used to assess and treat some of the following issues and concerns:

  • Anxiety, depression, and other emotional problems
  • Substance abuse and other addictions
  • Psychosocial difficulties related to medical illness
  • Family and relationship issues
  • Personal trauma and post-traumatic stress
  • Abuse and domestic violence
  • Social or interpersonal difficulties
  • Physical, cognitive, and neurological problems
  • Psychiatric or medical illness
  • Grief and loss

Art Therapists in Maryland can be found in the following settings:

  • Crisis response centers
  • Residential treatment centers
  • Military and veteran’s hospitals
  • Outpatient mental health agencies
  • Domestic violence and homeless shelters                        
  • Medical hospitals
  • Schools, educational settings, and universities
  • Community agencies and non-profit settings
  • Psychiatric hospitals and clinics
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Correctional facilities and forensic institutions
  • Private mental health practice
  • …And many more!


For more information regarding art therapy education, practice, or services in Maryland, please explore the links to the right.