The professional context of art therapy in Spain
Currently, art therapy is not recognized officially as a profession in Spain, even though there are many centres which include art therapy as part of multidisciplinary treatment programmes. On March 28th, 2010 the Spanish Federation of Professional Associations of Art Therapy was constituted, as agreed during the First National Congress of Art Therapy FEAPA . With this Federation, Spain, where art therapy has been practised for only ten years, takes the initiative in the process of integration of all the Spanish professionals which will achieve a more harmonious and coherent professional development.
Nowadays, the growth of the profession needs recognition, investigation and accreditation, so that art therapy may be practised only by qualified professionals. Without this, serious harm may be done both to the patients and to the profession itself.
To contribute to the necessary regulation of art therapy, the Spanish professional associations agreed, during the First National Congress of Creative Therapies celebrated in 2006 at the University Ramon LLull, the drawing up of the constitution of a federation in order to achieve the social representation and the legal recognition of the profession. This agreement became a commitment by the associations attending the First Professional Conferences of Investigation in Creative Therapies (2007 /Madrid).
Since then and until the present day, the following actions have been taken by the Spanish Federation of Professional Associations of Art Therapy:
1. To adopt by consensus the definition of the Spanish professionals of art therapy as:
“a specific work which uses the process of artistic creation to accompany and facilitate processes of psychotherapy and promote the bio-psycho-social welfare in the framework of those individuals or groups of people who require informed and agreed therapeutic relationship."
This definition has its roots in the therapeutic potential of the artistic creation within an appropriate framework, with the aim to promote dynamics of transformation of: personal and social capacity, expressive and creative development, the change of subjective position and being the case, the symptomatic devising.”
We are talking about a discipline open to the advances in the state of knowledge and scientific standards.
2. To agree an ethical code by the Spanish professionals of the different associations
3.To obtain professional insurance to provide protection for the practice of art therapy in Spain. This objective has been the first one of the achievements of the federative movement. Currently we have insurance that gives us coverage throughout Europe.
4. To create and keep updated a record of all art therapists who meet the minimal requirements established in the byelaws of the Federation: minimum 90 ECTS or equivalent in university credits, and a minimum of two years of professional experience as art therapist under supervision
The above mentioned requirements are in agreement with the international requirements and with the university curriculums in the Spanish State. A Commission of Accreditation and Approval will implement the procedure according to the FEAPA Internal Regulations. The document is being drafted
5. To provide opportunities for continuous training and supervision in order to ensure proper practice and as a framework of security for users and patients. Since there exists a difficulty of access to supervision and individual therapy by the partners, the Federation is undertaking analysis of those important aspects of professional practice which it wants to stimulate by micro-grants equitable for the associations as to comply with a specific training programme.
6. To use all possible resources in order that art therapy be recognized as a discipline with its own identity.
The Commission for Professional Development will work towards the registration of the profession, through the federation, as one of the healthcare activities that include doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, etc, and that do not require the payment of VAT.
To increase the standing of the profession, an integral dossier on art therapy in Spain will be written, with the definition, the official curricula, the professionals, publications and bibliographical references. This will be presented to the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs by a lawyer with expertise in this sort of work, seeking channels of communication with the corresponding Ministry.
In summary, the aim of the Federation is to promote the professional development of art therapy, its clinical and social practice and research in order to constitute the theoretical and practical body of work necessary for recognition as an independent discipline.
This Federation is born with the aim of the union and mutual commitment of the Spanish professional associations, which is demonstrated in the equal system of government adopted between the five founding associations:
• Asociación Española de Arteterapia (ATE)
• Foro Iberoamericano de Arteterapia (AFIA)
• GREFART - Grup de Recerca i Formació en Artterapia
• Asociación de Arte terapeutas Transdisciplinarios para el Desarrollo Humano (ATH)
• MURARTT - Asociación Profesional de Arteterapia de la Región de Murcia
This spirit marked each of the meetings held over these two years, in which the arduous task of overcoming differences and building on the common elements of the profession showed the strength and the potential of this young discipline and the solidarity and generosity of the Spanish professionals who built it.
Links to Spanish Associations members to FEAPA: