March 17, 2022
Thank you to so many of you who shared your experiences in our credentialing survey conducted December 2021 – January 2022. Your personal stories and feedback are helping AATA continue to advocate for a remedy to the current credentialing crisis and frame the conversation about the future of credentialing. Please download the findings from the survey here. In addition, AATA members, leadership, and staff have been in continued conversation in the MyAATA Member Community about credentialing concerns. AATA will continue to do everything in our power to advocate for the best possible outcomes for our members and non-members.
To recap, AATA and the Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB) are entirely different organizations. ATCB is an independent organization and AATA does not have oversight on its activities and processes (as detailed in this post). However, AATA leadership have communicated member concerns to the ATCB’s leadership and will continue to do so. AATA is also in communication with the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), which oversees the ATCB.
Bolstered by the findings of this survey, here are some immediate next steps AATA is pursuing:
- AATA’s Board President has assigned a Task Force, working alongside AATA National Office Staff, to review all aspects of credentialling and make recommendations for future sustainability plans, which may or may not include AATA involvement. Task Force members include Immediate Past President Margaret Carlock Russo, current AATA Secretary Raquel Farrell Kirk, and Board Member Jennifer DeLucia. We will share recommendations from the Task Force in upcoming AATA member meetings as well as in members-only and public communications.
- Share with AATA members, the art therapy community, and the ATCB the results of this survey.
- Reshare details about the role of AATA vis a vis the ATCB in credentialing and correct any misinformation.
- Continue ongoing discussions via member emails, Art Therapy Today, and the MyAATA Member Community.
- Maintain transparency regarding what we communicate with the ATCB.
- Keep members apprised of conversations with the NCCA.
In addition, AATA’s Board President will continue to communicate with the ATCB to offer support and opportunities to collaborate and share information with our stakeholders. The goal is to assess the ATCB’s interest in working with us, and to that end, we will continue to communicate AATA’s intentions to be helpful during this crisis.
More specifically, AATA will urge the ATCB to:
- Improve (or reinstate) communications with constituents, including providing customer service by phone, email, and postal mail.
- Develop multiple avenues to speak to and hear from credential holders, such as town hall meetings. (AATA will invite them to use AATA’s platforms for these purposes, if needed.)
- Communicate with its constituencies how decisions are made within the ATCB and how policy changes are made and shared, as changes seem arbitrary to many credential holders, according to the AATA survey.
- Review policies that may be overly burdensome and punitive, or that create obstacles to obtaining credentials. Specifically, ensure that changes to credential standards are data driven, with feedback taken into account, and are transparently communicated.
- Recommend the ATCB refund fees to all credential holders that were charged a fee—which according to the survey, many found unreasonable and unaffordable—and not just those who filed a complaint or appeal. Waive fees moving forward until the crisis has been resolved, and establish a grace period for future renewals.
We encourage you to read the findings from the credentials survey and continue the conversation in the MyAATA Member Community. If you have additional feedback for the AATA Board’s Credentialing Task Force, please send them an email via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together, we hope to support a credentialing system that works for everyone, protects the public, and empowers all art therapists, from new to seasoned professionals, to thrive in our profession.