Creative arts therapy is based on the premise that when someone works creatively under the guidance of a qualified therapist, they become more expressive and communicative.

The creative work can involve music, art, dance, movement, play and other creative activities.

Creative arts therapy can have a benefit on health and wellbeing.

They share a commitment to the “expressive action that engages emotions in a direct and physical way; an ability to generate creative energy as a healing force for mind, body, and spirit; and a belief that the creative imagination can find its way through out most perplexing and complex problems and conflicts” (McNiff, 2005).

Each therapy is influenced by its unique medium or art form, giving it the flexibility to meet the complex needs of each client. While commonalities exist among the various therapies, there are also many differences.

Creative arts therapists are human service professionals who use arts modalities and creative processes for the purpose of ameliorating disability and illness and optimizing health and wellness.

Founded in 1979, The National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Associations, Inc. consists of professional associations that have come together to dedicate themselves to the advancement of therapeutic art treatment across a variety of settings including; educational, community, medical and rehabilitative establishments. Representing thousands of individuals across six creative arts associations nationwide, NCCATA member organizations include therapies such as; art, dance and movement, music, psychotherapy and psychodrama, drama, and poetry in which therapists are trained to use the arts and creative processes to optimize health and wellness for those who are diagnosed with disability or illness.

With more than 15,000 creative arts therapists practicing worldwide, each therapist has completed extensive coursework and clinical training allowing them to become highly skilled in their discipline. Each discipline has been intensely researched and studies have found that creative art therapies make a difference for people with, mental health needs, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic illness, head injuries, substance abuse problems, physical disabilities, and developmental disabilities.

Expected outcomes of creative arts therapy

  • Improved communication and expression
  • Increased physical, emotional, cognitive and or social functioning  

Read more about the National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Associations