Art Therapy Guidelines

Remote art therapy is increasingly popular as a digital tool to support art therapists engaging with clients from a distance. In a globally connected world, there are masses of innovative art therapy digital telehealth ideas that harness the power of therapeutic practices with the diversity of tools and digital art platforms.

It’s always a good idea to be familiar with art therapy guidelines and good practice standards when using digital art therapy if you want to achieve the best possible results.

What Is Digital Art Therapy?

Most of us appreciate that creative art therapies can be transformative, boosting emotional resilience, cognitive functions and overall well-being. Practitioners developed art therapies to assist individuals without the physical dexterity to paint or draw well. Today, NFTs take this outlet one step further. Creating immersive art with just a word or image prompt opens art therapy to new user populations and makes it more inclusive than many other forms of expression.

Digital telehealth also evolved and grew during the pandemic lockdowns when practitioners wanted to support clients with creative therapies and could not use their usual one-on-one approach. Virtual art therapy programming is an opportunity to expand the reach of art therapies with a fully interactive, accessible interface that is available across borders and socio-economic divides.

Practice Guidelines for Digital Art Therapists

The proficiency standards for art therapists apply equally to in-person sessions and digital interventions or support systems.

An accredited art therapist should:

  • Define the scope of their practice and expertise, and be prepared to refer to other professionals when needed.
  • Operate within ethical and legal parameters.
  • Act in the interests of clients at all times.
  • Uphold principles of rights, values, dignity, and respect the role of the client within the therapeutic and diagnostic process.
  • Be up to date with legislation applicable to their profession.
  • Exercise their duty of care.

The key to successful art therapy is understanding the role that various creative exercises (such as drama, art and music) have in different settings and for different clients. When art therapy is adapted and tailored to the individual's needs, it is far more likely to produce favourable outcomes and long-term benefits.

Standards for Digital Art Therapy Delivery

Digital art therapy is based on the same standards and best practices as in-person art therapy, but there are other considerations a practitioner should bear in mind.

First and foremost is accessibility, virtual art therapy is a relatively new medium that allows art therapy to expand beyond physical limitations. However, a therapist can only make the best use of telehealth opportunities if they undertake training to understand how art-making tools work and in which cases they would be most beneficial.

Practitioners can customize art therapy to individual needs by reviewing their delivery options. For example, webcam sessions in groups or one-on-one sessions allow for different types of dialogue and interaction.

Safety and data privacy are also important. When a therapist works with a vulnerable client, they should ensure that any creative resources used are suitably protected and confidential.

With the right knowledge, art therapists can expand their professional approach to deliver digital art therapies of the highest ethical standards, ensuring they provide guidance and support before introducing new technology.