“Promoting the use of art and creativity to facilitate personal well-being.”

What is Art Therapy?

Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of communication. Art Therapy is also known as Art Psychotherapy.
To practise Art Therapy or Art Psychotherapy in the UK, a person must be Registered with the Health & Care Professions Council under either of the legally protected titles of "Art Therapist" or "Art Psychotherapist".

Art Therapy Relationship


The relationship between the therapist and the client is of central importance, but art therapy differs from other psychological therapies in that it is a three way process between the client, the therapist and the image or artefact.

Art Therapy as a Profession

Art Therapy / Art Psychotherapy is one of the Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) (within the UK) and as such the profession is regulated by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC).

By definition, Art Therapists / Art Psychotherapists are professionals who have undertaken appropriate postgraduate training and have been approved for registration by the HCPC.

The Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) prepares and publishes a Register, approves the training courses for the profession, and carries out disciplinary functions. The HCPC, an independent UK-wide regulatory body, stipulates that practitioners of Art Therapy / Art Psychotherapy must be HCPC Registered under the legally protected title of Art Therapist or Art Psychotherapist. To find out more about the registration and legislation regarding the profession visit Health & Care Professions Council website.

For further information relevant to Art Therapists / Art Psychotherapists and other AHPs in Northern Ireland, or to view the Allied Health Professional Bulletins, visit the Allied Health Professions federation website.

Art Therapy Jobs & Placements

NIGAT does receive requests for placements and work experience from people. Unfortunately NIGAT regrets that it cannot arrange any such work of either kind.

Details of any local Art Therapy / Art Psychotherapy posts may listed on the Latest News page, but normally such posts would be advertised in the local press. Other useful websites to search for employment UK-wide or in the Republic are BAAT and IACAT.

How to confirm a person is an Art Therapist, i.e. is HCPC registered

Persons and organisations wishing to avail of an art therapy service or employ an Art Therapist for any reason (i.e. therapy, supervision, training etc) should first ensure that the person is currently HCPC Registered.

To confirm a person's HCPC Registration, please click on the HCPC Online Register and follow the outlined search procedure.

The relevant legally protected titles are "Art Therapist and "Art Psychotherapist".

The HCPC states:

"Misuse of titles
Each of the professions we regulate has one or more ‘designated title’ which is protected by law. Anyone who uses one of these titles must be on our Register. A person who is not registered and who misuses a designated title is breaking the law and may be prosecuted.

Under Article 39(1) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, it is a criminal offence for a person with intent to deceive (whether clearly or by implication) to:

  • claim that they are on the HCPC Register;
  • use a designated title protected by the Order to which they are not entitled; or
  • claim falsely that they have qualifications in a profession regulated by us.

The words ‘by implication’ mean that an offence may be committed even if the designated title is not used directly (for example, if an unregistered person described the service they provide as ‘chiropody’ or ‘physiotherapy’)."

Therefore, this also applies to an unregistered person describing their service as 'art therapy' or 'art psychotherapy'.