Art Therapy is a different form of communication, play as well as art. It is the creative process to explore emotions, reduce anxiety and increase self-esteem. Art Therapy is provided in groups, or individually, dependant on the client's needs.

MPFT Art Therapists are embedded within Child & Adolescent Mental Health Teams including the Eating Disorders Service. Art Psychotherapy in Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) can provide a means of communication and can reduce feelings of isolation by coming to clinic. Art Therapists across the Trust provide support to clients of all ages with a wide range of difficulties, disabilities, and diagnoses, in a safe and supportive space. We also have an Art Therapist within one of our Adult inpatient Mental Health services.

Art Therapists within MPFT are part of a wider Allied Health Profession workforce who are supported through Clinical, Operational and Professional Leadership, and led by a Director of AHPs.


What sort of work can you do in Art Therapy at MPFT ?

Depending on your role and level of responsibility you may:

  • Offer individual Art Psychotherapy assessments and treatment sessions to Children and Young people
  • Offer group Art Psychotherapy sessions
  • hospital and regional duty work for CAMHS
  • urgent and 7-day follow up appointments (for CYP discharged from hospital)
  • work within the Multi-Disciplinary Team and external agencies to meet the needs of the client
  • be involved in service development
  • explore and create other opportunities for supporting children and young people


What Qualifications do I need in Art Therapy?

An MA in Art Therapy and registration with the Health and Care Professions Council, usually but not exclusively following on from a BA in Art.

The Skills For Health website has an example of a career pathway to qualification as an Art Therapist.

Experience working or volunteering in health or social care, particularly mental health or related areas.

Art Psychotherapists are Post Graduates only, as the qualification required is a Masters degree.


How can I find a job in Art Therapy at MPFT

All vacancies at MPFT are advertised on the NHS Jobs website.


Can I get Work Experience or Shadowing in Art Therapy at MPFT?

Yes, work experience or shadowing is not just for external students. Staff can enquire with other teams to experience work in a different area from your own. Further information is available on our work experience page.

You may also be interested in the Assistant Practitioner apprenticeship in Healthcare degree which aims to develop Assistant Practitioners in Healthcare with an Allied Health Professional focus, the MSc Art Psychotherapy Apprenticeship at Teesside University, or the Enhanced Clinical Practitioner Apprenticeship. 



Useful Links

Art Therapists and Art Psychotherapists are typically employed at NHS Pay Bands 6 or 7.

Summary of role

  • Member of the multi-disciplinary team responsible for accepting, prioritising and assessing referrals to the Service and offering specific psychotherapeutic interventions in the form of art therapy across the geographical area. This involves individual, group and family work and often entails the role of case holder.
  • A resource for the whole team in relation to creative therapeutic interventions/approaches and including working with young people who can be difficult to engage.
  • In addition to clients assessed as requiring art therapy, the post holder may also undertake generic initial assessment for the CAMHS and participate in shared CAMHS rotas.
  • May provide out of hours advice and assessment.
  • Has training, supervision and leadership responsibilities where appropriate and have some responsibility for team performance and service developments/improvements.



  • MA in Art Psychotherapy
  • Full Registration with BAAT / ACP
  • Full Registration with HCPC
  • Evidence of post-qualifying continuing professional development relevant to specialist area


Main Activities

  • Provide assessment and art therapy interventions for children and adolescents with a wide range of mental health needs and risks (both for individual and group therapy).
  • Assessing and offering interventions for children with highly complex communication and relationship difficulties.
  • Takes part in team duty rota (phone).
  • Refers young people to other services including Tier 4 hospitals and safeguarding services.
  • Participates in service referral meetings and responds directly to referrals requiring follow up.
  • Provides generic assessments for children and young people including their parents/carers.
  • Ensures regular collection and interpretation of routine outcome measures with children, young people and parents/carers.
  • Organises and plans therapeutic programmes for children and young people with highly complex mental health and risk needs with responsibility for reviewing, monitoring and evaluating outcomes.
  • Prepares reports, summaries and letters to relevant parties within the limits of professional confidentiality.
  • Responsible for providing advice and guidance on art therapy and creative methods of assessment and treatment to other members of the multi-disciplinary team.
  • Regularly works as case holder for highly complex cases which require frequent review and comparison of assessment and intervention options unless there is a conflict of interest between therapist / case holder roles.
  • Participate in multi-agency meetings
  • Provide a learning environment to support students (multidisciplinary) undergoing training and assist new and junior members of staff, peers and other disciplines to develop professional competence.
  • Researches and provides information in relation to evidence based practice and clinical effectiveness, particularly relating to key areas of expertise as appropriate to their own work. Integrates research and theory into practice.
  • Takes the lead in clinical audit / research for specialist area and participate and support the team in undertaking clinical audit.
  • Maintains awareness, interprets and leads implementation of examples and evidence in relation to best practice and ongoing professional development.
  • In collaboration with the team leader, establishes clear goals and standards for the team/service in order to maintain and improve the quality of care/support.
  • Contributes to professional and clinical support and leadership. Supports in identifying training needs of staff. Supports the participation of children, young people and parents/carers in service development and change.


  • Undertake a comprehensive assessment.
  • Develop a comprehensive intervention plan.
  • Represent area of responsibility in meetings.
  • Provide leadership in area of responsibility.
  • Initiate, and participate in, networks and discussion groups.

All health professionals registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and practising in the UK are required to go through the HCPC registration renewal every two years. This process now includes the requirement to supply a profile on request to demonstrate fulfilment of the standards for CPD set by the HCPC and tested through a sample audit.

HCPC has defined CPD as: “a range of learning activities through which health professionals maintain and develop throughout their career to ensure that they retain the capacity to practice safely, effectively and legally within their evolving scope of practice.”

All HCPC registrants were required to engage in CPD activities from 1 July 2006. Some Art Therapists will be audited by HCPC each 2 years of registration. Registrants need to record and evidence their CPD activities and, if selected for audit, complete their CPD profile, which will be audited by CPD assessors.

Art Therapists have to provide evidence of CPD relating to their previous two years of practice. The evidence will show how the CPD that has been undertaken by the individual has contributed to the quality of their practice and should demonstrate its benefit to the service user. The standards apply to clinical practice, research, management and education.


HPC Standards of CPD

A registrant must:

  • maintain a continuous, up-to-date and accurate record of their CPD activities
  • demonstrate that their CPD activities are a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice
  • seek to ensure that their CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery
  • seek to ensure that their CPD benefits the service user
  • present a written profile containing evidence of their CPD on request


CPD Tools

The Interactive Learning Opportunities Database (ILOD) provides a range of CPD tools that will help to produce and to organise evidence of learning. iLOD also has a career planning section based on the post qualifying framework which is an Art Therapist specific career planning resource.

A reflective tool called “Recording CPD: transforming practice through reflection” is based around the HCPC's requirements for CPD. It can be used to structure ideas, and gather evidence of learning for either portfolios or an Art Therapists profile, if their CPD is audited by the HCPC.

Natalie Leadbetter

Hello, I'm Natalie Leadbetter and I'm an Art Therapist at CAMHS


What do you do in your role?

Work with children, young people and families offering Art Psychotherapy to fit their needs and support their mental health. This Creative Psychotherapy allows young people to express and explore complex thoughts and feelings in a safe and facilitating setting. In art Therapy the relationship with therapist and the art process and product is crucial to the success of the treatment. Art Therapy uses a variety of theoretical model, in particular the Psychodynamic model which allows clients to develop understanding into the way past relationships and experiences impact the present ones. I am also trained in EMDR (Eye Movement desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy) and other Psychotherapies such as DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) and interweave these powerful models into the work I do.

I always work closely with other colleagues, services and agencies working with the young person in order to ensure the care plan is holistic and comprehensive, with the young person at the heart of what we do.

As with many clinicians at CAMHS I also offer duty appointments including initial assessments, urgent appointments, hospital assessments, and take duty calls for Stafford CAMHS.


Have you always worked in this role?

I have been in this role for 18 months and am very happy working in CAMHS, with a skilled and wonderful team around me. I qualified with a Masters in Art Therapy from Derby University in 2007 and have previously worked as an Art Therapist in CAMHS in Trafford, at Women's Aid, private practice, a forensic hospital in Bradford, and work at Derby University as a Therapist, Mental Health Practitioner and Specialist Mentor.


What motivated you to move roles?

I wanted to return to CAMHS because I believe that Art therapy has so much to offer children and young people who find it difficult to engage in talking therapy alone and who want to develop insight into their strengths and difficulties by primarily using a nonverbal medium for communication. I love to witness the positive, long lasting changes in young people who have benefitted from their time with me in Art Therapy and begun their next chapter with new perspective, skills, hope and meaning.


What do you value about progressing your career at MPFT?

I value learning from my clients and colleagues and developing and as Art therapist each day. There are many opportunities at MPFT for training, progression and co-working that leads to personal and professional growth.


What would be your best piece of advice to others seeking a career in Art Therapy?

Stay connected with other Art Therapists for support and advice within your Art Therapy career and continue with your personal artistic journey.

Bronwen Spence

Operational Lead and Art Psychotherapist, Childrens Eating Disorder Service


Natalie Leadbetter

Clinical Lead for Art Therapy, Lichfield CAMHS


Wendy Hollands

Advanced AHP Lead Practitioner


Amanda Shanon

AHP Lead for Childrens Mental Health