(Date updated: 01/09/2023)
Click on the sections below to access the Level 7 Arts Therapist standard.
(Date updated: 01/09/2023)
Click on the sections below to access the Level 7 Arts Therapist standard.
Arts Therapists work in a range of settings such as the NHS, local authorities, voluntary, or private sector, hospitals, clinics, education, shelters, hospices, or prisons.
The occupation’s broad purpose is to use art, drama or music to therapeutically improve service users’ mental and physical health and wellbeing. Arts therapists are both artists in their chosen field and psychological therapists. They use art, drama or music as their primary mode of communication. Arts therapies can help to enhance general development, autonomy, social interaction and communication skills, and can support both mental and physical rehabilitation. They may be used to address anxiety, confusion, pain, trauma and depression and to improve quality of life. Arts therapists help the individual to express feelings about themselves and others in different ways through arts therapy interventions. This is particularly helpful when emotions are too confusing to express verbally, when verbal communication is difficult, or when words are not enough to relay feelings.
In their daily work, an arts therapist interacts with a wide range of service users, of all ages, who may have a variety of difficulties, disabilities or diagnoses, such as emotional, social, behavioural or mental health problems, learning or physical disabilities, injuries, life-limiting conditions, neurological conditions or physical illnesses. Arts therapy sessions may be delivered individually or in groups, depending on service users’ needs. Arts therapists work closely with their team to provide and receive ongoing managerial, clinical and professional supervision and support. They engage in service development audit, outcome measurement and research. They also work with a range of wider stakeholders or organisations who may be involved in their service user’s care or support, such as family, carers, education providers, or health and social care services.
An arts therapist in this occupation is responsible for managing a caseload of individuals with an array of problems, using person-centred approaches to assess a service user’s needs. They work collaboratively with service users to devise therapeutic plans that consider the individual’s complex psychological, emotional, cognitive, physical, communicative and social needs. They build a rapport with service users and create a safe environment to help them to develop their self-awareness and self-confidence, to improve their functioning and to support their mental well-being.
Typical Job Titles include:
Apprentices will need to be proficient in art, drama or music before applying to this apprenticeship eg holding a degree or with experiential equivalence. In order to meet the HCPC requirements apprentices must be able to communicate in English to the standard equivalent to level 7 of the International English Language Testing System, with no element below 6.5, prior to entering the degree programme.
Duty 1 Practise safely and effectively within the scope of practice and within the legal and ethical boundaries of the profession.
K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10
S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11 S12
B1 B2 B3
Duty 2 Look after own health and wellbeing, seeking appropriate support where necessary.
Duty 3 Practise as an autonomous professional, exercising professional judgement.
S15 S16 S17 S18 S19 S20 S21
B1 B2 B3
Duty 4 Practise in a non-discriminatory and inclusive manner recognising the impact of culture, equality and diversity.
K14 K15 K16 K17
S22 S23 S24 S25 S26
Duty 5 Communicate effectively, maintaining confidentiality and records appropriately.
K18 K19 K20 K21 K22 K23 K24 K25
S27 S28 S29 S30 S31 S32 S33 S34 S35 S36 S37
B1 B2 B3
Duty 6 Work with others.
K26 K27 K28 K29 K30 K31 K32
S38 S39 S40 S41 S42 S43 S44
B1 B2 B3
Duty 7 Reflect on, review and assure the quality of own practice.
K33 K34 K35 K36
S45 S46 S47 S48 S49
Duty 8 Establish and maintain a safe practice environment.
S50 S51 S52 S53
Duty 9 Promote public health and prevent ill health.
Duty 10 Draw on appropriate knowledge and skills to inform practice and apply the key concepts of the knowledge base relevant to the profession of Art Therapist.
K41 K42 K43 K44 K45 K46 K47 K48 K49 K50 K51 K52 K53 K54 K55 K56 K57 K58 K59 K60 K61 K62
S56 S57 S58 S59 S60 S61 S62 S63 S64 S65 S66 S67 S68 S69 S70
Duty 11 Draw on appropriate knowledge and skills to inform practice and apply the key concepts of the knowledge base relevant to the profession of Drama therapist.
K41 K42 K43 K44 K45 K46 K47 K48 K49 K50 K51 K52 K53 K61 K62 K63 K64 K65 K66 K67 K68 K69
S56 S57 S58 S59 S60 S61 S62 S63 S64 S65 S66 S67 S68 S69 S71
Duty 12 Draw on appropriate knowledge and skills to inform practice and apply the key concepts of the knowledge base relevant to the profession of Music Therapist.
K41 K42 K43 K44 K45 K46 K47 K48 K49 K50 K51 K52 K53 K61 K62 K70
S56 S57 S58 S59 S60 S61 S62 S63 S64 S65 S66 S67 S68 S69 S72 S73 S74 S75
K1: The importance of continuing professional development throughout own career.
K2: The value of therapy in developing insight and self-awareness through their own personal experience, including personal therapy.
K3: The importance of safeguarding, signs of abuse and relevant safeguarding.
K4: What is required of them by the Health and Care Professions Council, including but not limited to the Standards of conduct, performance and ethics.
K5: The importance of valid consent.
K6: The importance of capacity in the context of delivering care and treatment.
K7: The scope of a professional duty of care.
K8: Legislation, policies and guidance relevant to own profession and scope of practice.
K9: The role of the art, music or drama therapist in different settings.
K10: That the obligation to maintain fitness to practise includes engagement in own arts-based process.
K11: The importance of own mental and physical health and wellbeing strategies including personal therapies, in maintaining fitness to practise.
K12: How to take appropriate action if own health may affect own ability to practise safely and effectively, including seeking help and support when necessary.
K13: The need for active participation in training, supervision and mentoring in supporting high standards of practice, and personal and professional conduct, and the importance of demonstrating this in practice.
K14: Equality legislation and how apply it to own practice.
K15: The duty to make reasonable adjustments in practice.
K16: The characteristics and consequences of barriers to inclusion, including for socially isolated groups.
K17: That regard to equality, diversity and inclusion needs to be embedded in the application of all HCPC standards, across all areas of practice.
K18: When disclosure of confidential information may be required.
K19: The principles of information and data governance and be aware of the safe and effective use of health, social care and other relevant information.
K20: The need to ensure confidentiality is maintained in all situations in which service users rely on additional communication support, such as interpreters or translators.
K21: That the concepts of confidentiality and informed consent extend to all mediums, including illustrative clinical records such as photography, video and audio recordings and digital platforms.
K22: That the concepts of confidentiality and informed consent extend to illustrative records such as paintings, digital images and other creative practice.
K23: The characteristics and consequences of verbal and non-verbal communication and how these can be affected by difference of any kind including, but not limited to, protected characteristics, intersectional experiences and cultural differences.
K24: The need to support the communication needs of service users and carers, such as through the use of an appropriate interpreter.
K25: The need to provide service users or people acting on own behalf with the information necessary in accessible formats to enable them to make informed decisions.
K26: The principles and practices of other health and care professionals and systems and how they interact with own profession.
K27: The need to build and sustain professional relationships as both an autonomous practitioner and collaboratively as a member of a team.
K28: The qualities, behaviours and benefits of leadership.
K29: That leadership is a skill all professionals can demonstrate.
K30: The need to engage service users and carers as equal partners in planning, co-design and evaluating diagnostics and assessment outcomes to meet their needs and goals.
K31: The role of arts therapists as an integral part of health and social care provision for service users and their integration with health and social care.
K32: The need to establish and sustain a therapeutic relationship within a creative and containing environment.
K33: The value of reflective practice and the need to record the outcome of such reflection to support continuous improvement.
K34: The value of multi-disciplinary reviews, case conferences and other methods of review.
K35: The role and value of ongoing clinical supervision in an arts therapy context.
K36: The value of gathering and using data for quality assurance and improvement programmes.
K37: The need to maintain the safety of themselves and others, including service users, carers and colleagues.
K38: Relevant health and safety legislation.
K39: The role of own profession in health promotion, health education and preventing ill health.
K40: How social, economic and environmental factors (wider determinants of health) can influence a person’s health and well-being.
K41: The lived experiences of wellness and illness, as well as the effects of social disablement and exclusion, and consider this alongside diagnostic knowledge relevant to their profession.
K42: The roles of other professions in health and social care and how they may relate to the role of arts therapists within the integrated teams that serve communities.
K43: The structure and function of health and social care systems and services in the UK.
K44: The importance of working in partnership with service users when carrying out research.
K45: The theoretical basis of, and the variety of approaches to, assessment and intervention.
K46: The psychological and cultural background to health, and be aware of influences on the service user – therapist relationship.
K47: The core processes in therapeutic practice that are best suited to service users’ needs and be able to engage these to achieve productive outcomes.
K48: The therapeutic relationship, including its limitations.
K49: How and why different approaches to the use of the arts in arts therapy and in other settings varies according to context and purpose.
K50: Theories of group work and the management of group process.
K51: Theories relevant to work with an individual.
K52: Theories of:- human development- psychology- human communication and language development- the continuum of mental health, psychiatric assessment and treatment and self-help and social resources- disability/impairment and ways in which people experience themselves as having been disabled- impairments of social functioning- the principal psychotherapeutic interventions and their theoretical bases- the nature and application of other relevant interventions.
K53: Different methods of understanding the experience of service users, including diagnosis, specifically mental health and learning disability, and be able to critique these systems of knowledge from differed socio-cultural perspectives.
K54: That while art therapy has a number of frames of reference, that the arts therapist must adopt a coherent approach to their therapy, including the relationship between theory, research and practice and the relevant aspects of connected disciplines.
K55: The practice and process of visual art-making.
K56: The role of the physical setting and the art-making process in the physical and psychological containment of emotions.
K57: The role and function of the art object within the relationship between service user and art therapist
K58: The role and use of visual symbols in art that communicate conscious and unconscious processes.
K59: The influence of socio-cultural context on the making and viewing of art in art therapy.
K60: That different approaches to the use of visual arts practice in therapeutic work have developed in different sociocultural and political contexts around the world.
K61: A range of research methodologies relevant to their role.
K62: The value of research to the critical evaluation of practice.
K63: The core processes and forms of creativity, movement, play and dramatic representation pertinent to practice with a range of service user groups.
K64: The symbolic value and intent inherent in drama as an art form, and with more explicit forms of enactment and re-enactment of imagined or lived experience.
K65: A range of theatrical representation techniques and be able to engage service users in a variety of performance-derived roles.
K66: That dramatherapy is a unique form of psychotherapy in which creativity, play, movement, voice, storytelling, dramatisation, improvisation and the performance arts have a central position within the therapeutic relationship.
K67: That different approaches to the discipline have developed from many different cultures and traditions.
K68: That the discipline has deep foundations within the many cultural traditions that use ritual, play, drama and performance for the enhancement of health.
K69: The key principles of influential theatre practitioners and their relevance to the therapeutic setting.
K70: The practice and principles of musical improvisation as an interactive, communicative and relational process, including the psychological and psychosocial significance and effect of shared music making.
S1: Identify the limits of own practice and when to seek advice or refer to another professional or service.
S2: Recognise the need to manage own workload and resources safely and effectively, including managing the emotional burden that comes with working in a pressured environment.
S3: Keep own skills and knowledge up to date.
S4: Maintain high standards of personal and professional conduct.
S5: Promote and protect the service user’s interests at all times.
S6: Engage in safeguarding processes where necessary.
S7: Respect and uphold the rights, dignity, values, and autonomy of service users, including own role in the assessment, diagnostic, treatment and/or therapeutic process.
S8: Recognise that relationships with service users, carers and others should be based on mutual respect and trust, and maintain high standards of care in all circumstances.
S9: Obtain valid consent, which is voluntary and informed, has due regard to capacity, is proportionate to the circumstances and is appropriately documented.
S10: Exercise a duty of care.
S11: Apply legislation, policies and guidance relevant to own profession and scope of practice.
S12: Recognise the power imbalance which comes with being a health care professional, and ensure it is not for personal gain.
S13: Identify own anxiety and stress and recognise the potential impact on own practice.
S14: Develop and adopt clear strategies, including personal therapies, for physical and mental self-care and self-awareness, to maintain a high standard of professional effectiveness and a safe working environment.
S15: Recognise own personal responsibility for and justify own decisions and actions.
S16: Use own skills, knowledge and experience, and the information available, to make informed decisions and / or take action where necessary.
S17: Make reasoned decisions to initiate, continue, modify or cease treatment or the use of techniques or procedures, and record the decisions and reasoning appropriately.
S18: Make and receive appropriate referrals, where necessary.
S19: Exercise personal initiative.
S20: Demonstrate a logical and systematic approach to problem solving.
S21: Use research, reasoning and problem-solving skills when determining appropriate actions.
S22: Respond appropriately to the needs of all different groups and individuals in practice, recognising this can be affected by difference of any kind including, but not limited to, protected characteristics, intersectional experiences and cultural differences.
S23: Recognise the potential impact of own values, beliefs and personal biases, which may be unconscious, on practice and take personal action to ensure all service users and carers are treated appropriately with respect and dignity.
S24: Make and support reasonable adjustments in owns and others’ practice.
S25: Actively challenge barriers to inclusion, supporting the implementation of change wherever possible.
S26: Take account of psychological, social, cultural, economic and other relevant factors when collecting case histories and other appropriate information.
S27: Adhere to the professional duty of confidentiality.
S28: Recognise and respond in a timely manner to situations where it is necessary to share information to safeguard service users, carers and/or the wider public.
S29: Use effective and appropriate verbal and non-verbal skills to communicate with service users, carers, colleagues and others.
S30: Communicate in English to the standard required for the profession.
S31: Work with service users and/or own carers to facilitate the service user’s preferred role in decision- making, and provide service users and carers with the information they may need where appropriate.
S32: Modify own means of communication to address the individual communication needs and preferences of service users and carers, and remove any barriers to communication where possible.
S33: Use information, communication and digital technologies appropriate to own practice.
S34: Explain the nature, purpose and techniques of therapy to service users and carers and proceed within an ethos of co-designing the therapeutic alliance.
S35: Keep full, clear and accurate records in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols and guidelines.
S36: Manage records and all other information in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols and guidelines.
S37: Use digital record keeping tools, where required.
S38: Work in partnership with service users, carers, colleagues and others.
S39: Contribute effectively to work undertaken as part of a multi-disciplinary team.
S40: Identify anxiety and stress in service users, carers and colleagues, adapting own practice and providing support where appropriate.
S41: Identify own leadership qualities, behaviours and approaches, taking into account the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion.
S42: Demonstrate leadership behaviours appropriate to own practice.
S43: Act as a role model for others.
S44: Promote and engage in the learning of others.
S45: Engage in evidence-based practice.
S46: Gather and use feedback and information, including qualitative and quantitative data, to evaluate the responses of service users to own care.
S47: Monitor and systematically evaluate the quality of practice, and maintain an effective quality management and quality assurance process working towards continual improvement.
S48: Participate in quality management, including quality control, quality assurance, clinical governance and the use of appropriate outcome measures.
S49: Evaluate care plans or intervention plans using recognised and appropriate outcome measures and, in conjunction with the service user where possible, revise the plans as necessary.
S50: Comply with all local operational procedures and policies.
S51: Work safely, including being able to select appropriate hazard control and risk management, reduction or elimination techniques in a safe manner and in accordance with health and safety legislation.
S52: Select appropriate personal protective equipment and use it correctly.
S53: Establish safe environments for practice, which appropriately manages risk.
S54: Empower and enable individuals, including service users and colleagues, to play a part in managing own health.
S55: Engage in occupational health, including being aware of immunisation requirements.
S56: Demonstrate awareness of the principles and applications of scientific enquiry, including the evaluation of treatment efficacy and the research process.
S57: Employ a coherent approach to the therapeutic process.
S58: Change own practice as needed to take account of new developments, technologies and changing contexts.
S59: Gather appropriate information.
S60: Analyse and critically evaluate the information collected.
S61: Select and use appropriate assessment techniques and equipment.
S62: Undertake and record a thorough, sensitive, and detailed assessment.
S63: Undertake or arrange investigations as appropriate.
S64: Conduct appropriate assessment or monitoring procedures, treatment, therapy or other actions safely and effectively.
S65: Critically evaluate research and other evidence to inform own practice.
S66: Engage service users in research as appropriate.
S67: Work with service users both to define a clear timeframe for the length of therapy, to review this with them, and to evaluate the therapy’s strengths, benefits and limitations.
S68: Formulate specific and appropriate management plans.
S69: Observe and record service users’ responses and assess the implication for diagnosis and intervention.
S70: Use a range of arts and art-making materials and techniques competently and be able to support a service user to work with these.
S71: Use a range of dramatic concepts, techniques and procedures including games, activities, styles and structures and to improvise drama spontaneously with service users in a variety of styles and idioms.
S72: Apply a coherent approach to their work, appropriate to each setting in which they practise.
S73: Make culturally informed use of a broad range of musical styles and genres within their music therapy practice and continue to develop this through engagement in their own arts-based process.
S74: Apply a high degree of musicianship, including the ability to play at least one musical instrument to a high level, and to use their singing voice, a harmonic instrument and digital technology to a competent level.
S75: Use a range of music and music-making techniques competently including improvisation, structured musical activities, listening approaches and creation and composition of material and music technology where appropriate and be able to support a service user to work with these.
B1: Treat people with dignity and respect, being non-discriminatory and showing awareness of their rights and choices and being prepared to advocate for these, whilst acting in their best interests.
B2: Be trustworthy and behave professionally.
B3: Demonstrate empathy and compassion for clients, colleagues and others.
English and Maths
Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.
Other mandatory Qualifications
MSc/MA in either Art Therapy/Art Psychotherapy, Dramatherapy or Music Therapy accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
Level: 7 (integrated degree)
This is a regulated occupation.
Health and Care Professions
Training Provider must be approved by regulator body
EPAO must be approved by regulator body
This apprenticeship standard will be reviewed after three years.