What is an art therapist?

In Latvia an art therapist is a health care professional who has attained a Master's degree in health care and professional qualifications of an art therapist with a specialization in one of the four art forms (visual plastic art, dance movement, music, and drama)(According to the Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers No. 268 and No. 763, 2009, and No. 461, 2010).

Art therapist is a functional specialist (physiotherapist, occupational therapist,  technical orthopaedic, speech-language pathologist, nutritionist, art therapist) and a medical practitioner who has obtained the second highest level of professional medical education and works according to his expertise in medicine (According to the Amendments to Article 45.1, Law on Medical treatment, adopted by Parliament on 21 June, 2012, entered into force on 11 July, 2012).

Functional specialist in his specialty, according to his expertise in medicine:

* has a good knowledge of assessing the person's functional constraints and rehabilitation principles;

* performs treatment using  appropriate diagnostics, evaluation and medical technologies, and provides authorized medical opinions;

* carries out the professional education. (Law on Medical treatment, Article 45.2, 1st part.)

Documents governing the operation of a professional art therapist:

Legislation of the Republic of Latvia (Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers)

Standard of the profession (www.lm.gov.lv)

Medical technologies of art therapy (www.vmnvd.gov.lv)

Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers about Procedures for the Certification of Health Professionals (www.likumi.lv) 

Documents of Art therapy professional associations.

Education

In Latvia the most comprehensive education in AT can be attained at Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU). Professional Master’s degree programme „Art Therapy” offers 4 specializations (duration of studies 2,5 years). In Liepaja University a processional Master`s degree in Music therapy can be attained.

Placement / employment

Art therapists work at health care facilities (hospitals, outpatient health care facilities, rehabilitation facilities), social care institutions (social care centres, social services, crisis centres, nursing homes, child care centres, orphanages, children's homes, day centres for persons with mental disorders, etc.), educational institutions (nursery schools, special schools, etc.).