Art Therapists at the Border: Identifying Professional Career Challenges and Service Access

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Vazquez, Brianna
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
This study examined the influences and possible challenges in communities that affect art therapist’s employment possibilities and career decisions. An interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) approach along with an interview of four ATRs (Registered Art Therapist) or ATR-BCs (Registered Art Therapist- Board Certified) that currently practice art therapy in communities with high Hispanic or immigrant population was utilized to gather data for this study. The settings in which these art therapists work are private practices, hospitals, and in community centers and are also in different parts of the United States. The participants partook in semi-structured interview with artmaking. The results indicated that influences such as state licensing and community interest greatly affect employment opportunities for this career. Other factors that influenced art therapists’ job prospects in border communities were the insufficient knowledge and awareness of art therapy, the inaccessibility of health services for mental health, and cultural barriers such as language and stigma. It became evident that more support is needed from our government to create accessibility of services for our community members throughout the U.S. border regions, as well as in the communities that shelter immigrants.