Resources for Art Therapists during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) is committed to supporting our community of art therapists during this time of crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic (read our statement). We know you are dealing with not only your own struggles and those of your family, but also thinking of your clients in this time of uncertainty. We will continue to update this list of resources for art therapy clinicians, students, educators, and for the general public.


Last updated May 8, 2020

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Resources for the Public
Resources for Members
Survey and Polls
Resources for Educators
Resources for Art Therapists and Other Mental Health Providers
Legislation and Calls to Action
Creative Activities
Encouraging Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
In the News

Resources for the Public 

  • If you need help, please text SHARE to 741741 to reach a crisis counselor with Crisis Text Line. You can also call The Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to be connected to free and confidential support and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.
  • Check out the Quarantine Family Toolkit by Kristin Ramsey, ATR-BC, LPC, which offers suggestions and resources on how to talk with children about COVID-19, a sample daily schedule for working/learning at home, online apps, podcasts and other resources for daily activities, mindfulness activities and short guided muscle relaxation script, as well as many art activities instructions and examples.
  •  Resources for addressing COVID-19 — The National Council for Behavioral Health offers resources to help manage coronavirus-related anxiety and to communicate with your kids about this crisis among other topics. Behavioral health care workers will also find resources including telehealth best-practices and implications for certain vulnerable client groups.
  • Affirmations for Coping during Coronavirus TimesAATA Blog, March 30, 2020

Resources for Members

Survey and Poll

  • Our lives have been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in many ways, professionally and personally. In our March 6 issue of Art Therapy Today, we asked our readers what has been MOST concerning or challenging. More than 103 readers responded, and while this is not a scientific survey, it’s a small snapshot of what our community is coping with. (Unfortunately, the survey technology only allows respondents to choose one option, when obviously, many people would be experiencing more than one of these concerns.) For many, their professional lives have been in upheaval. Nearly a quarter (23%) of our readers told us that their number one challenge is transitioning to providing telehealth/telephonic sessions to their clients. Close to one in six (15.5%) told us that a reduction in income has been their biggest concern, and another one in six (15.5%) were the most concerned by their  professional or academic activities being suspended altogether. Only 5% reported that nothing has changed.

  • In our April 9 issue of Art Therapy Today, we delved further into transitioning to telehealth, which readers identified as the most challenging adjustment in this pandemic. When asked what aspect of the transition to telehealth respondents found to be the MOST challenging, more than a quarter (28%) reported incorporating art materials. Nearly one in five respondents (19%) identified setting boundaries between work and home activities as their top challenge. Respondents also cited the lack of personal space for telehealth away from distractions at home (14%) and their clients’ lack of access or knowledge of technology (14%) as other challenges.

Resources for Educators

Academic institutions, art therapy educators, and students who have been impacted by restrictions set in place due to COVID-19 can refer to the resources and statements below for guidance on how to proceed.

Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB)

As the Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB) closely monitors the novel coronavirus (COVID 19) situation in coordination with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and state and local governments, the health and safety of our communities remain a top priority. With that, we know that many College and University art therapy programs are facing students unable to complete internships because of mandatory closures. Please see below guidance regarding applications, renewals, examinations, and essential information about the status of the ATCB National Office.

Read full ATCB guidance page.

Statement from Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education (ACATE)

Higher education institutions are in the process of planning and making decisions on how best to respond to the impact of COVID-19. Since the spread of COVID-19 is continuing, please know ACATE supports all CAAHEP accredited art therapy graduate programs and those that are in the process of accreditation as they work through this public health crisis. ACATE will work with the CAAHEP accredited art therapy graduate programs and those programs in the process of accreditation to help them navigate issues that impact their students.

For Programs who have students in the practicum and internship placements, decisions made may​ impact the students’ graduation date. Factors to consider include but are not limited to:

  • increasing the use of virtual conferencing
  • meeting with the program director to discuss options for continued learning
  • extending the students’ learning
  • following your local public health authority
  • following your program’s and institution’s protocols
  • implementing the academic continuity plan for your institution
  • utilizing other clinical internship placements that are accepting students
  • meeting your institutional requirements for potentially extended graduation for all students
  • meeting the standards set by credentialing boards (i.e. ATCB)

Read full statement.

Educational Program Approval Board (EPAB)

As of right now EPAB will continue to abide by its educational requirements – which follow AATA’s education standards. It is up to the individual programs to adapt their graduation requirements and timelines according to their university guidelines and policies with regards to COVID-19’s crisis. This includes alternative ways of delivering curriculum and meeting practicum and internship requirements. EPAB will continue to monitor this situation as it develops.

Education Committee memo on the American Art Therapy Association Education Standards (2007)

On behalf of the American Art Therapy Association (AATA), I want to take this opportunity to clarify some facts about the AATA Educations Standards (2007) and FAQs especially as it relates to clinical experience requirements in graduate art therapy education programs.

The following standards, organizations, and processes exist to support the education and certification of art therapists:

  1. The AATA Education standards (2007) include the definition of the need for practicum and internship with minimum required hours in graduate art therapy programs.
  2. The Education Programs Approval Board (EPAB) approves graduate art therapy programs based on the AATA Education Standards (2007).
  3. The Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education (ACATE) Commission of Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs CAAHEP (2016) standards include the requirement of the need for practicum and internship in graduate art therapy programs, but they do not list required hours.
  4. ACATE recommends graduate art therapy programs to CAAHEP for accreditation based on the CAAHEP Standards and Guidelines for the Accreditation of Educational Programs in Art Therapy (2016).
  5. The Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB) defines certification requirements for ATR-P, ATR, and ATR-BC that require practicum and internships with minimum required hours in graduate school programs, which matches the AATA Education standards (2007) but ATCB defines these requirements.

Read full statement. 

Resources for Art Therapists and Other Mental Health Providers 

Legislation and Calls to Action

AATA has joined our coalitions in mental health, specialized instructional support personnel in schools, and the arts in engaging with congressional COVID-19 relief package negotiations. These have included:

  • As a member organization of the Mental Health Liaison Group (MHLG), we joined our colleagues in urging all states to temporarily lift restrictions on telebehavioral health at all levels of care by telephone or video for individuals regardless of insurance plan and ensure payment parity until the conclusion of this national emergency. Read the full letter sent to state governors and insurance commissioners and to Congress on March 25th.
  • We joined Families USA and a variety of national and state mental health organizations urging Congress to include at least $150 billion in direct aid to states for fiscal relief and an emergency increase of 12 percent to Federal Medicaid matching funds as they deploy their resources to address critical health needs and absorb the related economic crisis. Read the full letter sent to Congress on March 23rd. 
  • As a member organization of the Mental Health Liaison Group, we joined our colleagues in urging Congress and the Administration to include mental health and substance use clinicians and professionals in priority testing for COVID-19, issue guidance to support remote recovery support groups, launch a special enrollment period for commercial health insurance in the marketplace during this crisis, pass, implement, and/or appropriate funding to strengthen crisis services and surveillance, and to pass and implement reforms to ensure long-term availability of care, especially for populations at higher risk of self-harm or substance misuse. Read the full letter sent to Congress and the Administration on March 20th. 
  • As a member organization of the National Alliance of Specialized Instructional Support Personnel, we joined our colleagues in urging Congress to reject any effort to provide the Secretary of Education with blanket waiver authority for the Every Student Succeeds Act  (ESSA) or the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). The letter makes clear that while we do not our support a blanket waiver of IDEA protections for students with disabilities, Congress can, and should, allow for some targeted flexibility in legal requirements to allow for creative problem solving and implementation of innovative solutions that ensure ALL of our nation’s students have access to learning opportunities while schools remained closed. Read the full letter sent to Congress on March 20th. 

Creative Activities

  • Share your creativity with us on social media! Please join us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!
  • Global Open Call for Art — In response to COVID-19, Amplifier and partners are launching an emergency campaign with top art curators and public-health advisors from around the world. Open call ends May 8th.
  • #Coronart is a Facebook group for people to share personal renditions of the coronavirus. “Paint it, draw it, build it, carve it, knit it, grow it, sing it, play it. Anything you can imagine it. Let’s make this thing ours and share our vision!”


Encouraging Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

In the News