Art therapy has become increasingly popular over the past years and initiatives are popping up all over the place in a wide range of structures. Several cities run art therapy training and research centres, and the Tours School of Arts and Creative Therapies, created in 1976, is a forerunner in this field.

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A pioneering training centre in France

There are only a few State-certified art therapy training centres in France. AFRATAPEM (the French association of art research and techniques for teaching and medicine[a1] ) or the Tours School of Arts and Creative Therapies, is one of these centres and is a leader in its field.

Art therapy training is required in order to practice this profession and takes the form of a DU (University Degree) which has existed since 1986, in partnership with several medical faculties (Tours, Grenoble, and Lille).

Wide areas of application and practice

Art therapy, which uses the practice of art for therapy purposes, is becoming a paramedical discipline in its own right with a psychotherapeutic dimension, and specialities have emerged such as music, dance, and drama therapy, etc.

Art therapy applies to a host of areas: illness, disability; and victims of violence, etc. It can be part of a healthcare plan with additional benefits which are now fully recognised.

Parallel fundamental research

The Tours School of Arts and Creative Therapies also houses a research centre which is run under the joint aegis of the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research, and the French Ministry of Culture.

A host of  scientific studies have been carried out in recent decades to support, in an evidence-based approach, art therapy’s effectiveness on mental health. To date, the most documented areas are oncology, geriatrics, and mental illnesses.

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Article updated on 14/09/22