About Creative Arts Therapies, how to find the right therapist and what you should pay attention to when doing so
There are many good reasons to do a therapy. One of them is to get to know yourself better. This makes life easier and more beautiful for yourself and with other people. Fortunately, the stigma around therapy is changing. It is more openly talked about and I hear from many people going for it.
Recent studies suggest that efficacy is less dependent on the type of therapy, but much about the therapeutic relationship between client and therapist. So it’s even more important that you find someone who you feel safe with and can open up to. Which type of therapy you choose – whether psychotherapy or Creative Arts Therapies – is a matter your preference.
Creative Arts Therapies
Creative Arts Therapies differ from psychotherapy, as they work with artistic media in addition to language. Previous experience or so-called talent is not a requirement. It is rather about expressing thoughts, feelings, problems and situations by painting, drawing, plasticizing, photographing, making music, dancing. Creative Arts Therapies include among others:
art therapy is not all the same
In Germany the job title art therapist is not yet protected by law, as for instance physician or psychologist. Also, there are trainings neither recognized by the state nor by professional associations. Their quality is not comparable to a multi-year degree program. So far, everyone can call oneself an art therapist, regardless of completing parennial studies or just a weekend workshop. This also applies to other Creative Arts Therapies. That is why you should find out in advance what type of education a therapist completed.
lists of therapists by professional associations
To be on the safe side, you can have a look at the lists provided by professional associations. Here you will only find experts who are trained according to the guidelines of the respective association. In Germany these are the following:
- German professional association of art therapy
Deutscher Fachverband für Kunst- und Gestaltungstherapie (DFKGT)
- German society for drama therapy
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Theatertherapie (DGFT)
- German professional association of dance therapists
Berufsverband der Tanztherapeut*innen Deutschlands (BTD)
- German music therapeutic society
Deutsche Musiktherapeutische Gesellschaft (DMtG)
Every therapist is different. Therefore, a non-binding initial consultation is a good thing to get to know each other. While doing so can find out if you would like to work together. Normally, you can arrange an initial session with each therapist.
There are some studies that suggest the effectiveness of art therapy for specific areas of application. The World Health Organization has just published a review on evidence regarding the role of the arts in improving health and well-being. Art therapy is also part of flat-rate payments in clinics. However, there is no general scientific proof.
Therefore in Germany, the costs for Creative Arts Therapies are usually not covered by statutory health insurance. The only exception is supplementary insurance, which reimburses part of the costs under certain conditions. In order to gain recognition from health insurances, more research is needed, in particular quantitative randomized controlled trials. And this again is one of the reasons why I am doing research.
This information refers to the current state in Germany in 2019. Regarding other countries you can get information from the resident professional associations.