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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Badrock

How can I access Art Therapy in the NDIS?

Art Therapy is quickly gaining momentum in the NDIS scheme, and what a bounty of benefits we have discovered through this blogging journey!


For those that utilise the NDIS whether it be a Plan Manager or a parent navigating the system themselves, the sheer amount of information, rules and guidelines can be daunting for even the most well-read person.

To help you on your journey to accessing Art Therapy in the NDIS, I have researched the rules of the playbook for you, how to access art therapy, what art therapy can be charged out at and what you need to look for with varying levels of qualifications and applications.


So, here we go!




WHAT DO YOU NEED TO BE AN ART THERAPIST


You need to know what it is you need from an art therapist, and this will indicate what type of services you need. Are you looking for a therapeutic outcome where you want some help learning how to make art in a supportive and compatible environment? Do you want a safe space to express your inner self without being psychoanalysed? or are you looking for a psychotherapeutic approach that requires appropriate qualifications in psychotherapy, counselling and psychology? - Which I might add is a very different kettle of fish!


The last thing you want, is seeking help from someone that is appropriately qualified for the services you need. So let's digs a little deeper...


The term 'therapist' is not mandated in Australia - unlike ;counsellor', 'psychologist' etc.

The government is slowly catching on, I think this is mainly due to the fact that Art Therapy is slowly becoming recognised to have psychotherapeutic benefits and approaches to the healing process.

However, it would be wise to note that there are other ways to gain the therapeutic benefits of art therapy without having the counselling session behind it.



Latrobe University offers a Masters of Art Therapy, they say on their page that "offer a Master of Art Therapy (MAT) degree for students wanting to train to become Art Therapists. Art Therapy is a practice which combines the creative potential of art making with the relational skills of counselling set within a therapeutic environment"

The job outcome is very clinical and healthcare focused. They say that "Students who complete this program successfully receive training, skills and practical experience to enable them to practice as art therapists in clinical settings including hospitals, community health programs, rehabilitation services, in education and psychiatric settings, in aged care, palliative and forensic centres, with people experiencing substance abuse, eating disorders, rehabilitation, and numerous other health care needs."


FUNDING STREAM: According to the NDIS Participants can access funding for Art Therapy from the NDIS within the category of “Therapeutic Supports”, much like they do for physiotherapy or occupational therapy

In order to charge out under this stream the service provider must have a degree / masters qualification.




DIPLOMA ART THERAPY

The diploma level is not currently recognised in Australia, it is however recognised over seas in countries like England, America etc. It's like the equivalent of a diploma course at a TAFE. It actually used to be accepted in Australia up until a few years ago, however the National Accreditation standards changed and now the Government only accepts the Masters. Health and Harmony Colleges still teach this and you become a member of the International Institute of Complimentary Therapists. According to Health and Harmony Colleges "This Practitioner course will teach the student the theory and fundamental principles of art therapy, suitable for use with a wide range of clients."




I like to think you can do this course and hold art classes with the awareness of the needs of the your client. You can use therapeutic approaches in your art lesson, but you are not there to work through things like trauma, or include a counselling / psychology sessions.

I personally have this qualification, I use a combination of my nursing skills and my Diploma to help people gain a better understanding of themselves; Who are they? What makes them thrive and we do this with explorative art. We also use a therapeutic approach to understand our emotions, and how to express those emotions in adaptable ways.

So you can see, there is a real difference in approaches between the two qualifications. There is no way, with a Diploma, I would be sitting down with a client and working through say childhood trauma, or clinical diagnosis such as Bipolar Disorder - . Its just not in my scope of practice.


FUNDING STREAM: According to the NDIS Participants can access funding for Supported Art Classes under the "Community Participation" funding stream. A degree / masters is not required to carry out this work. Just be mindful to ask your service provider what the nature of their work is. Is it Art Therapy or is it a therapeutic art session. Under the "Community Participation Steam" or the "Innovative Community Participation" the hourly rate is uncapped.


DEGREE IN EDUCATION ART TEACHER

Art teachers that work in a school per say have an education degree. They work in schools and provide art classes for children and teenagers. They might even use that degree to teach art privately. Their scope of practice is about teaching a skill set or learning and growing through art. There are always going to be therapeutic benefits to engaging in art lessons like having a sense of wellness, mindfulness, joy when creating, sense of accomplishment and pride, and of course the biological effects on the body like a lowered breath rate, deactivating a triggered nervous system, but they are not providing Art Therapy.



FUNDING STREAM: According to the NDIS Participants can access funding for Supported Art Classes under the "Community Participation" funding stream. A degree / masters is not required to carry out this work. Just be mindful to ask your service provider what the nature of their work is Is it Art Therapy or is it a therapeutic art session.


FUNDING STREAM: According to the NDIS Participants can access funding for Supported Art Classes under the "Community Participation" funding stream. A degree / masters is not required to carry out this work. Just be mindful to ask your service provider what the nature of their work is. Is it Art Therapy or is it a therapeutic art session. Under the "Community Participation Steam" or the "Innovative Community Participation" the hourly rate is uncapped.


LOCAL ARTIST HOLDING ART CLASSES

Again, another kettle of fish. Say your local artist down the road is sharing their skills and holding art classes. Their focus is to teach people a skill set so their clients can go off and have the tools to successfully create a piece of art. Again, as mentioned above, there are always going to be therapeutic benefits to engaging in creative activities. They might even make the environment a pleasant environment, but they are not providing Art Therapy.



FUNDING STREAM: According to the NDIS Participants can access funding for Supported Art Classes under the "Community Participation" funding stream. A degree / masters is not required to carry out this work. Just be mindful to ask your service provider what the nature of their work is. Is it Art Therapy or is it a therapeutic art session. Under the "Community Participation Steam" or the "Innovative Community Participation" the hourly rate is uncapped.


Now you have understanding of which tier of qualification and approach is associated with what type of service you can potentially get, jump over this link I found: https://planpartners.com.au/tools/ndis-price-guide

This is not an affiliated link, its just the easiest and most comprehensive guide I have found to date. It outlines the rates of pay you can expect.


I hope this helps you on your journey to finding the support you need!


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