April 9, 2020


Even as legislatures pivot to focus most of their energy on legislation responding to the pandemic and other critical issues like state budgets, we’ve had some victories for art therapists. Licensure throughout the DMV (DC-MD-VA) region is within reach, with a new license enacted in Virginia and a licensure bill in Washington, DC passing the Council! 


Victory in Virginia


Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed SB 713, which establishes licensure for art therapists under the Board of Counseling, into law on March 11, 2020!

Art therapy advocates in Richmond after the Virginia Senate Committee on Education Health Professions Subcommittee meeting on January 24, 2020.


Here are some highlights of what’s included in the statute and the next steps:

  • Establishes licensure as a professional art therapist and licensure as a professional art therapist associate.
  • Defines art therapy and includes title and practice protection so that individuals without the appropriate training cannot engage in the practice of art therapy or advertise themselves as art therapists.
  • Leaves many of the details, including licensure requirements and scope of practice, to be set during the rulemaking period.
  • Establishes a five-member Advisory Board on Art Therapy to assist the Board in formulating regulations related to the practice of art therapy. The Governor will appoint three Board Certified Art Therapists (ATR-BC), one licensed health care provider, and a citizen at large to the board.
  • The law will take effect on July 1, 2020.

Congratulations to the tireless advocates of the Virginia Art Therapy Association! Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on the advocacy journey that resulted in this victory.


Washington, DC Bill Passes the Council


The Council of the District of Columbia voted unanimously to pass the art therapy licensure bill (B23-0250) on April 7, 2020! The bill will now be sent to the Mayor’s office and then, in a legislative process unique to DC, on to Congress.

Art therapy advocates take a selfie after the DC Council Committee on Health and Committee of the Whole public hearing on December 19, 2019.


Here are some highlights from the process so far:

  • The bill to create a Professional Art Therapist license under the Board of Professional Counseling, was introduced by Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (4/2/19).
  • Seven witnesses testified to the benefits of art therapy before Committee on Health and Committee of the Whole on December 19, 2019. Watch the video of their testimonies
  • The Committee on Health issued their report recommending approval by the Council on (2/12/20).
  • The Council voted unanimously to approve the bill during their first (3/3/20) and second readings (4/7/20).

Congratulations to the Potomac Art Therapy Association for reaching this milestone!