The Research Committee is dedicated to encourage, support, and promote a broad base of research that is grounded in diverse methodologies. By providing information to the public and the membership, the committee promotes standards of art therapy research, produces a registry of outcome based research and honors professional and student research activity.

Art Therapy Research Agenda

Areas important to research:
1. Outcome/efficacy research
2. Art therapy and neuroscience
3. Research on the processes and mechanisms in art therapy
4. Art therapy assessment validity and reliability
5. Cross-cultural/multicultural approaches to art therapy assessment and practice
6. Establishment of a database of normative artwork across the lifespan

Research questions important to address:
1. What interventions produce specific outcomes with particular populations or specific disorders?
2. How does art therapy compare to other therapeutic disciplines that do not include art practice in terms of various outcomes?
3. How reliable and valid is any art therapy assessment?
4. What neurobiological processes are involved in art making during art therapy?
5. To what extent do a person’s verbal associations to artwork created in art therapy enhance, support, or contradict?
6. What are ways of making art therapy more effective for clients of different ethnic and racial backgrounds?

Populations important to study:
1. Veterans
2. Psychiatric major mental illness
3. Autism/ASD
4. Medical/Cancer
5. At-risk youth in schools
6. Geriatric

Summary provided by Drs. Donna Kaiser and Sarah Deaver. (2013) Establishing a Research Agenda for Art Therapy: A Delphi Study. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 30(3), 114-121.

Find research and background information about the art therapy profession:

Outcomes Bibliography

Association Research Grants and Awards

The Research Committee of the American Art Therapy Association promotes excellence in research through annual awards that recognize outstanding research in art therapy. Click here to learn more


Art therapy assessments are used by art therapists to: determine a client’s level of functioning; formulate treatment objectives; assess a client’s strengths; gain a deeper understanding of a client’s presenting problems; and evaluate client progress. To ensure the appropriate use of drawing tests, evaluation of instrument validity and reliability is imperative.
Assessment Bibliography
Assessment Bibliography Frequently Asked Questions
Click here for more information


Research Roundtable

The Research Committee invites art therapy researchers to present at the annual Research Roundtable at the American Art Therapy Association Annual Conference. The Roundtable is a forum for sharing ideas about on-going or proposed research projects. Those who are conducting pilot studies, those who are seeking design or methodological feedback from colleagues, or individuals eager to learn about current art therapy research may be interested in attending.

Anyone wishing to present at the Research Roundtable should contact Dr. Patricia St. John, ATR-BC, Roundtable Coordinator, at to reserve a place on the agenda. Presenters will have an opportunity to briefly describe their work, and attendees have a chance to ask questions and provide feedback.

Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association

Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association is an informative member benefit that attracts a worldwide audience of art therapists and other professionals who want to stay current in the field. Members receive the journal and electronic archived issues FREE as part of their member benefits.

Members of the Association interested in contributing to the Journal by submitting Cover Artwork or an article, may click here. Members can find information about the annual here for information about the Best Paper Award by clicking here.

Not a member? If you are interested in subscribing to the Journal, please click here.

Research Track at the Annual Conference

Of the more than 160 educational sessions held at the American Art Therapy Association’s Annual Conference there are sessions specifically related to research. Sessions that are part of the Research Track at the conference focus on the theory and practice of clinical evaluation, the use of standardized assessments, systematic case studies, outcome studies, and all forms of inquiry, using or exploring various research methodologies. The conference also includes the annual Research Roundtable – a lively forum for discussing research projects. The research track sessions are marked with a two-letter code of “RS” in the conference program and brochure.

The 47th Annual Conference will be held in July 2016 in Baltimore, MD.