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  • Writer's pictureAmélie

How I became an ART THERAPIST

Hi, if we haven't met, I'm Amélie. I am a Registered Canadian Art Therapist (RCAT), a Registered Therapeutic Counsellor (RTC), an artist and graphic designer.

I often get asked about what lead me to become an art therapist, so here it is:

I figured out art therapy existed sometime in highschool and right away knew it was what I wanted to pursue. I've always been interested in people and in love with the arts; so it made a lot of sense to me.

In Canada, there aren't any undergraduate studies in art therapy; so I decided to major in Design at the University of Concordia (2010-2013). I took all of my electives in psychology and fine arts. That is also where I did my intro to art therapy course and had the chance to volunteer in the music therapy department. Afterwards, I started a second BA in psychology and about half way decided to apply for the art therapy programs. I already had well above the prerequisite to apply and decided I didn't want to wait any longer. (2013-2015)

I went backpacking across Central America while doing my interviews and allowing myself a well deserved school break. After much considerations, I decided to enroll at the Kutenai Art Therapy Institute (KATI). A program that changed my life and the way I understand myself. The program taught me about art therapy across time, therapeutic approaches, developmental stages, research, clinical skills, mental health, cultural safety, etc. I completed over 645 hours of practicum placements for various groups and individual sessions; and wrote a thesis. During that time, I also did my own therapeutic work. (2015-2018)

After graduation, I had the privilege to go work for the Heiltsuk nation as their Child, Youth and Family art therapist (2018-2021). After 1000 hours of supervised client session, I applied to become a Registered Canadian Art Therapist (2021). Shortly after, I decided to move to Nanaimo, BC and open my private practice: Helix Art Therapy. Being in private practice allows me the freedom to choose which clients I want to serve, which projects/workshops/groups I want to lead and the opportunity to supervise other art therapists. I currently work mostly with adults and older teens both in individual and group art therapy. Over the years, I've offered a number of therapeutic arts workshops open to the community. It's an honour to be part of so many people's lives, either as their therapist, supervisor or instructor.

If you are thinking about becoming an art therapist

There are a few schools across Canada that might be a good fit for you. To name a few, there are :

KATI: Kutenai Art Therapy Institute

VATI: Vancouver Art Therapy Institute

TATI : Toronto Art Therapy Institute

Each program requires having completed a bachelor with a certain amount of credit in Psychology and Art. Please be sure to check the requirements of the school that appeals to you. During your art therapy education, you will have a wide array of courses about art therapy, psychology, art, etc; practicum placements and thesis writing or integration project.

PS: You don't need to be an artist to become an art therapist; simply a willingness to explore through the art.

To learn more about art therapy or book a session, please visit my website or find me on instagram 😉

I hope this helps 👋🏼

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