Art therapists utilize art to help people with physical, psychological or emotional problems to communicate more effectively and to express their feelings. Art therapists work with clients who have physical or learning disabilities or mental health problems, in schools, hospitals, clinics, senior care facilities and prisons. Many people become art therapists after building up many years of experience in a related area such as art and design, occupational therapy, or social care. Knowledge of Hebrew is critical in order to work in an educational institution
Art therapists are professionals who have completed BA programs with extra coursework in psychology and have continued with certification programs or MA degrees. Art therapy is available in both public and private clinics. Treatment is available for individuals as well as for couples and families. The field of Art Therapy is gaining recognition in Israel and around the world.
Licensing Process Requirements:
The requirements for becoming a licensed Art Therapist in Israel are:
- An undergraduate degree (in any field)
- 4 basic psychology courses at the undergraduate level (if these were not part of the undergraduate degree)
- 600 hours of practical art experience
300 hours must be completed before beginning the MA program, and the remaining 300 must be completed by the end of the program.
If the undergraduate degree is from overseas, it must be from a recognized institution and state that you have completed 600 hours of practical art experience.
To apply to the Ministry of Education, one must present certification stating that all hours of practical art have been completed, including the staj (internship), and any other related studies and experience. A copy of the applicant’s resume must also be included. Once the applicant’s experience is recognized as relevant by the Ministry of Education, an Interview is scheduled. Following the interview, and once the application is reviewed and everything is in order, it will be possible to obtain an official license.
The Ministry of Education accepts those who have obtained a first degree in any field, and have a second degree in art therapy. One can work as a therapist in a pre-school, elementary or high school, and in special education programs. All therapists who work in the school system are employed by the Special Education branch of the Ministry of Education: Matia מתי”א. Matia assists creative/expressive therapists find positions at schools and educational institutions. Matia also provides them with ongoing training in the field.
The Ministry of Health does not regulate art therapists.
You can become a certified therapist at one of the Health Clinics, namely, you can become listed in the Kuppah directory for therapists in each region. The Kuppah will partially reimburse the patient for services provided by a therapist who is registered by them.
Help finding work:
Reach out to each one of the Health Clinics; network with private clinics; contact psychologists in private practice and hospitals. They often hire creative therapists for certain cases.
Contact MATIA, the organization that services special needs children. Even if there are no job openings, schedule a meeting with MATIA for networking purposes. Submit your resume so that they have you on file for future openings.
Some art therapists are members of YAHAT, The Israeli Association of Creative & Expressive Therapies which includes art and other types of expressive therapy. More information about licensing can be found on their website or you can email them at [email protected]
Note: Art therapy can only be studied as a postgraduate program in Israel.
Relevant Universities and Colleges
Art Therapy Resources
Art Therapy Online
International Art Therapy
Expressive Arts Therapy
Art Therapy Without Borders
Interview with an Art Therapist
A special thank you to Rashie Zalut, Art Therapist, for participating in this interview. For further questions please contact [email protected]
Please provide us with a brief description of your field.
Expressive art therapy is a form of psychodynamic therapy which encourages the client to develop his strengths in order to cope with challenges and overcome difficulties. The aim of art therapy is to effect change and growth on a personal level through the use of art materials and through the relationship between therapist and client.
What is your current position?
I work as an art therapist through the Ministry of Education, in a special education kindergarten and in special education classes in a school.
How did you find your job?
I trained in a special education kindergarten as part of my studies for my MA in art therapy and after I qualified I was offered to continue to work there.
Is there any kind of license or certification you need, to work as an Art Therapist in Israel?
At present there is no certification since the matter is being disputed in Bagatz (High Court of Justice). Unfortunately this means that anyone can call themselves an art therapist and in theory, open up a clinic. In practice, the education and health ministries, which are the main employers of art therapists, all require proof of academic studies in art therapy at a recognized institution (i.e. one of the schools of art therapy in Israel or abroad).
How important is Hebrew in your field?
Although a large part of art therapy involves non-verbal expression, an art therapist working in Israel would need to speak Hebrew well at a conversational level. You also have to write reports, which will be read by other professionals, in order to document the therapy. It doesn’t have to be perfect Hebrew but it has to be understood!
What are the benefits of your job?
Fulfillment and satisfaction when you see that you’ve helped someone recognize their strengths and overcome difficulties.
Is this employment more in demand in certain areas of Israel?
There are many positions for art therapists throughout Israel.
What is the salary range?
Private therapists charge between 200-400 shekels per hour. In the public sector, therapists earn between 40-100 shekels per hour (in addition to pension and other government benefits).
How do you feel about working and living in Israel?
I didn’t work as an art therapist before I came to Israel so I have nothing to compare it with. I enjoy my work and find it very fulfilling. I have been living in Israel for 25 years. I love it here and I wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else!