9 reasons why Arts Therapists should step into the self care and personal development movements

Updated: Oct 26, 2020

eMindology blog series - Blog #6


Arts and creative therapists are mental health professionals who have succeeded in Mastering the healing power of creativity to relieve the mind. However, they have the potential to make an impact in people’s lives well beyond mental health care and there are few reasons why they should also consider embracing the self-care and personal development spheres.

Photo by Alexis Fauvet on Unsplash

1. Art Therapists were always meant to make a bigger impact. It’s about reconnecting with the basic: Arts and Creativity are a means for well-being. Looking at the past and other cultures in the World, we can see that Dance, Music, Sound, Drama, Arts, Crafts have always been part of human expression. The reasons and opportunities to step into the Arts are endless but have all in common that need to exteriorise, express, expel and release something coming from inside ourselves, in order to feel good or to feel even better. By reconnecting with that universal and original purpose of Arts for “feeling good”, the Arts Therapists can see the bigger picture of people aiming for well-being that they can assist and that not only include mental health patients, but also the whole Humankind.


2. The Art Therapist role needs to become whole to reveal its full potential. Every healer is a helper but not all the helpers are healers. Fortunately, Arts Therapists have the opportunity to use their creativity and resourcefulness in both healing and helping people. Mental Health and personal development strongly influence each other as the state of people’s mental health has an effect on their personal development and vice versa. The evidence-based training and techniques gained in mental health can make their work in personal development more effective and their work in personal development can bring new insights and breakthroughs for their mental health work. That reciprocity can create a virtuous circle and a nurturing dynamic for the therapists to learn and improve the way they are helping everyone.


3. They can do both. Dedicating a career as an Art Therapist is a vocation and the choice of having a full time and fulfilling job. By digitalising their expertise and creating online products and services, they can not only grow the awareness about their practice and their influence in the well-being landscape but also earn an additional passive income while still helping people who need in-person support. And although digital products may not be suitable for people experiencing serious mental conditions and distress, they can still make a difference for people looking at self-care and personal development options.


4. Because the personal development sector is booming. The global complementary and alternative medicine market size is expected to generate a revenue of USD 210.81 billion by 2026. However, not only the key players are in Yoga, Meditation, Energy Healing, Hypnotherapy and Kinesiology but those therapies also navigate between the mental health care, the self-care and the personal development. Self-care and personal development are also growing trends amongst people who want to be empowered to take care of themselves. According to a Market Study, the self-improvement market in the U.S was worth $9.9 billion in 2016, $11.0 billion in 2018, and is expected to grow to $13.9 billion by 2023. By using their Arts as an approach for personal development, the Art Therapists have also a great chance to succeed in this Industry always looking for outsiders to help Humankind grow.

5. They can become key players in the Arts of Well-being. Arts is a domain which not only resonates the most with people all around the world but is also embedded into every aspect of people’s lives. We live in a society of entertainment and unlike Yoga, Meditation or Mindfulness, Arts Therapists don’t have to teach people how to first become familiar with those techniques but rather teach people how they can channel the power of those tools for an effective well-being outcome. So Arts Therapists are strategically placed to make an impact directly working with people but also indirectly working with other businesses which have mental health and well-being at the top of their agenda. In any way, the Arts Therapists hold all the trump cards to become indispensable in the well-being landscape in general.


6. They can become authorities. The self-care and personal development areas are focused on people’s well-being in general so there are very few obstacles to access and practice in that market. Arts Therapists may have to compete with Artists with no mental health training or Mental health professionals with little or no training in Arts. Arts applied to personal development are still new and small niches where a lot of things still need to be done. The processes currently promoted may be more experimental than evidence-based and this is why the expertise of qualified Arts Therapists give them a competitive advantage to become authorities in this niche. And if they feel annoyed with the (lucrative) business of colouring books, it’s time for them to step in and offer really empowering alternative tools for people.

7. They can make more money. Arts and creativity can heal, help and empower people by any means: media, technology, programs, workshops, retreats, online courses, partnerships with private companies, partnership with other therapists.... Embracing the self-care and personal development areas doesn’t mean dropping the mental health care mission. The purpose is not to replace the original practice of the Arts Therapists but to create an extension. And earning more money doesn’t mean becoming money-driven. The keys to be successful and comfortable navigating in all those areas are to stay aligned with their purpose to sustainably help people and to root their values in each one of their business projects and ideas.

8. They can grow with their audience. We want to put an end to a mental disorder but we don’t want to end a personal development journey. Personal development is a life-long process and a never-ending path of self-knowledge and self-discovery. And Arts Therapists can empower people to embed Arts in their life and in their journey. The Arts therapists working in personal development can create continuity with their audience and work on the life after the mental health condition. They will have more room for creativity and more opportunities to add content related to different life situations that they can approach with more freedom and lightness than in mental health care.

9. They can get public recognition. Arts and Creative Therapies are new, small and still misunderstood by the general public. But the good news is that it’s quite a common path in complementary therapy. Before reaching the top of complementary therapies and earn their badges of honours, Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness were extensively used in personal development and self-care. They became grass-roots movements which eventually drawn the scientists attention and created the incentive for deeper scientific researches. And today, there is not a week without new scientific findings about their benefits.


Mental health care and personal development are linked and it’s in their wholeness that Arts and Creative therapists will find their greatness.


Are you an Arts and Creative therapist who also work into self-development? Do you have anything to share about the advantages to work in both spheres? We would love to hear from you!


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