Help VATA achieve Title Protection for Art Therapists in Virginia

The Virginia Art Therapy Association is continuing to work toward Title Protection and Professional Licensure for Art Therapists in this state.  Why is this important?  Currently, our art therapy professional organizations like AATA and ATCB require art therapists to enter practice with a master’s degree in art therapy and national certification.  However, whether or not a person “can” call his or herself an art therapist depends on state law.  Some states do have “title protection” that stipulates that only those who meet certain standards and education may use the title “art therapist.”  State laws vary with different states requiring possession of the national ATR or ATR-BC credential, and some requiring the license applicant to pass the ATCB’s national certification exam.

This is important for art therapists in Virginia, as our current licensing options don’t accept all art therapy classes or coursework toward the Licensed Practicing Counselor credential.   And Art Therapists do not have title protection.  In reality, anyone may call what they offer “art therapy” without having any education or training in art therapy.  There is certainly a trend toward artists, social workers, and other counselors using art within the counseling process without any understanding of the use of art materials in therapy or the transformative effect that the act of creation manifests in a person.   Individuals seeking art therapy may not be aware that they are not seeing someone with appropriate credentials.

Are you an Art Therapist in Virginia?  Are you interested in Title protection and Licensure?  Join with VATA to help us move our field toward more formality.  We have formed a dedicated committee to work to identify Legislative points of contact and identify other supports around the state.   If you are interested in becoming involved, please contact Gretchen Graves at


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