July 2, 2020


The AATA is thrilled to announce that licensure of art therapists in the District of Columbia is now official law! The art therapy licensure legislation passed congressional review, the final step of the legislative process, and was assigned Law Number L23-0115 on June 24, 2020.

Art therapists already serve DC residents in psychiatric, medical, educational, and community settings in all over of the city, and this license is critical to expand access to art therapy services. The clear definition and scope of practice the license provides will help consumers and employers alike find qualified art therapists.

Key sections of the new DC law are patterned after the earlier Maryland licensing statute to make it easier for art therapists to obtain licenses in both jurisdictions. With the Virginia license recently enacted in May of 2020, art therapy licensure is now the law throughout the entire DMV (District – Maryland – Virginia) area!

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Exciting News!🗣 Art therapy licensure is now the law in DC! Thank you to our sponsors Chairman Phil Mendelson, Councilmember Vincent Gray, Councilmember Mary Cheh, and Councilmember David Grosso and to the support of Mayor Muriel Bowser. A special thanks to Bernie Demczuk for guiding us in this process and Michelle Palmer, Executive Director of the Wendt Center, for testifying on our behalf. Art therapists have served DC residents for a long time and this license will ensure that DC residents receive qualified art therapy for years to come. #dcarttherapy #gwarttherapy #americanarttherapyassociation @cmvince.gray – Councilmember Vincent Gray @marycheh – Councilmember Mary Chen @mayor_bowser @chairmanphilmendelson @cmdgrosso – Councilmember David Grosso @wendtcenter

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What’s Next?

In addition to establishing licensure requirements for art therapists, this law requires the addition of a professional art therapist to the Board of Professional Counseling, which has authority over the license. The next step is for the new member of the Board to be appointed and for the rule writing process to begin in order to implement the license.

Art Therapy Licensure throughout the DMV

We hope you will celebrate and learn best practices with us at AATA’s 51st annual conference during the panel, “Licensure Expands Across the Country: Tips from the “DMV” (DC, MD and VA).” The session will be part of a half day of advocacy training on Sunday, November 1, “Frontlines of Art Therapy Advocacy: Roll Up Your Sleeves and Develop a Plan of Action.”

Moderated by Clara Keane, AATA Manager of Advocacy and Public Affairs, the session features advocacy leaders across the DMV:

  • District of Columbia: Jordan Potash, PhD, ATR-BC, LCPAT and Cheryl-Doby Copeland, PhD, ATR-BC, LPC, LMFT, HLM
  • Maryland: Amanda Bechtel, ATR-BC, LCPC, LCPAT and Elizabeth Hlavek, DAT, LCPAT, ATR-BC
  • Virginia: Gretchen Graves, ATR-BC, CDATA and Carol Olson, LPC, ATR-BC

Licensure Expands Across the Country: Tips from the “DMV” (DC, MD and VA)

November 1, 2020, 9:00 – 10:30 am

Momentum to secure art therapy licensure in every state is on the rise, with a record of 12 licensure bills active in the 2020 legislative sessions! With Virginia and the District of Columbia having enacted licenses in 2020, art therapists throughout the entire DMV (the DistrictMaryland-Virginia region) have achieved licensure. Panelists will share their advocacy best practices and lessons learned to inspire and prepare colleagues running campaigns in other states. They will also discuss their next steps for educating the public and securing reimbursement parity for licensed art therapists.

Visit our conference website for the full programming, to register, or to learn more about our contingency planning to offer conference in person, virtually — or both!

Thank You!

We congratulate and sincerely thank our volunteer advocates from the Potomac Art Therapy Association (PATA) whose hard work over several years led to this critical advancement of our profession! We thank art therapists who testified in support of the legislation before the Council of the District of Columbia in December of 2019: Cheryl Doby-Copeland, PhD, ATR-BC, LPC, LMFT, HLM; Martina Efodzi, ATR-BC, LPC, LCPC, LCPAT; Leslie Milofski, ATR-BC, LCPAT; Gwen Short, ATR-BC, LCPAT; Jordan Potash PhD, ATR-BC, REAT, LCPAT, LCAT; and Jane Woo, MA, ATR-BC. Dr. We especially thank Dr. Potash, chair of the DC Art Therapy Licensure Committee, whose leadership and commitment has been instrumental in this victory.

We also thank the bill sponsors Chairman Phil Mendelson, Councilmember Vincent C. Gray, Councilmember Mary Cheh, and Councilmember David Grosso.