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Promoting Excellence In Psychological Health & Wellbeing

Art, Drama and Music Therapist

Art, Drama and Music Therapists use a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its main mode of expression and communication.  Art, Drama and Music Therapists use these different media to address emotional issues which may be confusing and distressing and to facilitate communication and understanding.  Using these artistic modalities can be vital for those who find it difficult to express themselves verbally (eg. due to trauma)?

You'll use your knowledge and skills in art, drama, or music together with your training as a therapist to create a secure environment which helps people build their self-awareness and self-confidence.  You'll work with people of all ages - children, young people adults and the elderly. Your clients may have a range of difficulties such as emotional, behavioural, or mental health problems, learning disabilities, or physical illnesses. You could work in a variety of settings including:

  • NHS
  • social services
  • education (primary, secondary, further, and special education)
  • prisons
  • private practice

You'll work one-to-one or in groups, depending on the needs of the client. In a group, you'll encourage members to relate to each other through their art, drama or music and help the group work through the meaning of what they and others create.

You may work with other professionals including medical and health care staff, teachers or prison and probation staff.

Read more about this career path
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Required Training for this Role

You need to do an approved full or part time Masters degree in Art, Drama or Music Therapy  and then register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).  Apprenticeships for arts therapists, including art therapists, drama therapists and music therapists are now becoming available, but opportunities are currently limited. You'll need to apply for an apprentice position with a health care provider. You can search for vacancies on the NHS Jobs website and the Find an Apprenticeship website.

Entry Requirements to Train for this Role icon

Entry Requirements to Train for this Role

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You'll usually need a first degree in art, music, drama, or a relevant subject. You may be accepted onto a course without a degree if you have a strong background in art, drama, or music.

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Those accepted onto the courses are usually mature, flexible people who have had experience of working in mental health, education, special needs or social services before applying.

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Salary Expectations

Most Art, Drama and Music therapists in the NHS work part-time hours and posts typically start at band 6 of the Agenda for Change pay rates. You’ll also have access to our generous pension scheme and health service discounts, as well as 27 days of annual leave plus bank holidays.


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Future Career Options

You could specialise in a particular type of client such as children, the elderly or offenders. Or you could become a specialist in a particular issue such as dementia, mental health or palliative care. You could decide to become self-employed and build up a private practice. You could do this alongside employed work.

You could become a senior or consultant art, drama or music therapist, managing the work of a team of therapists. Or you could become the head of a department, coordinating the work of therapists from other disciplines. You could also train other art, drama or music therapists. Some professionals complete further training and specialise in areas such as working with families or people with a diagnosis of personality disorders. There are also opportunities to train further in other psychological therapies.


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Registering or Accrediting Body

Art, drama, and music therapists are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).  “Art psychotherapist”, “Art therapist”, “Drama therapist” and “Music therapist” are titles which are protected by the HCPC.

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Professional Organisation

Art, music, and drama therapists are represented respectively by the following professional bodies who offer a range of information and resources:

  • British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT)
  • British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT)
  • British Association of Drama Therapists (BADth)