What are Creative Arts Therapies?

Creative Arts Therapies are a form of psychotherapy using creative modalities and processes to support Mental Health and Well-being.

What is a Creative Arts Therapist?

Creative Arts Therapists are qualified Mental Health practitioners first and foremost. Creative Arts Therapists incorporate creative processes as a therapeutic tool working with people living with social, physical and psychological life experiences. 

What is involved in becoming a Creative Arts Therapist?

To become a Creative Arts Therapist in Australia, you have to study art, counselling, psychology and/or related field at a recognized and registered tertiary institution.  This is followed by a postgraduate qualification in Art Therapy and 750 hours of supervised field experience in a clinical placement.  Entry to postgraduate courses usually requires completion of an appropriate bachelor degree.

How long does it take to become a qualified Creative Arts Therapist in Australia?

  • Diploma in Art Therapy comprises of a minimum of 1-2 years study with a minimum of 200 hours supervised clinical hours of placement.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Art Therapy comprises of a minimum of three-year study with 480 hours supervised clinical hours of placement.
  • Master’s Degree in Art Therapy comprises a minimum two-year study with 750 hours supervised clinical hours of placement.

Graduates of these programmes are eligible for Professional Registration with ANZACATA.

What are placement hours?

Placement hours are mandatory to obtain qualifications in Art Therapy in Australian tertiary institutions. Work placement is a period of learning where a student is placed with an organization from the Community Services Industry. It is an influential part of tertiary courses as work placement will offer students an opportunity to see and implement models of practice; test out areas of interest for future work; and to develop an understanding how community services is delivered across the industry in the context of the wider community.

Where can I study to be a Creative Arts Therapist in Australia?

There are a number of training opportunities for Creative Arts Therapies in Australia.

Below is a list of registered and approved institutions:

IKON Institute of  Australia



The MIECAT Institute 

Master in Therapeutic Arts Practice (VICTORIA)



University of Melbourne 

Master of Creative Arts Therapy (VICTORIA)


Western Sydney 

Master of Art Therapy (NSW)



LaTrobe University

Master of Art Therapy (VICTORIA)


Murdoch University 

Master of Creative Arts Therapies (WESTERN AUSTALIA)



Common Misconceptions about Creative Arts Therapy

I have to be an artist or creative to engage in Creative Arts Therapies

Creative Arts Therapies do not rely on artistic knowledge or ability. Processes in therapeutic setting using imagination, metaphor and images to gain access and process adverse experience in a safe and responsible way.  The creative process is not about making a beautiful piece of art.

Creative Arts Therapies are without a scientific basis

Evidence-based and practice-based research is well-established in the industry with global peer literature review supporting the benefits of therapeutic practice across a wide range of adverse experiences.

The Creative Arts Therapist interprets the work created by the client

Asking people to reflect on their own creative work is an important part of Creative Arts Therapy processes because each individual brings personal experiences to their creative process. The therapist works collaboratively to empower the client to grow from their adversity.

How do I apply for a placement student position with CATA?

Please see Placement Student page

What is involved to join Creative Art therapy Australia as an Arts Therapist?

Please See Arts Therapist page

Important Links

The Australian, New Zealand and Asian  Creative Arts Therapies Association (ANZACATA)

ANZACATA is the peak professional body that represents Creative Arts Therapists in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia/Pacific region. www.anzacata.org

The Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA)

PACFA is a leading national peak body and professional association for counsellors and psychotherapists in Australia. www.pacfa.org.au

Australian Counselling Association (ACA)

ACA is Australia's largest single registration body for Counsellors and Psychotherapists. www.theaca.net.au