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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Badrock

How to access Art Therapy on NDIS Funding

Author: Samantha Badrock

Date Published: 23/04/2024 7:27AM

Understanding how to access art therapy

within the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can often feel overwhelming. With various therapy approaches, qualifications, funding streams, and eligibility criteria to consider, it's no wonder you might feel overwhelmed. In this comprehensive guide, I'm going to to demystify the process of accessing therapy services within the NDIS framework, so you can an make informed decision about your

therapeutic journey.

a drawing of an art desk
How to access Art Therapy on NDIS Funding

Understanding Different Therapy Approaches:

There are a couple of ways to access Art Therapy within the NDIS and can encompass a range of approaches tailored to address diverse needs. The main goal of Art therapy, for example can harnesses the creative process to enhance mental well-being and self-expression and on the other hand, it can be a powerful psychotherapy tool to assist Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). Both approaches can access three different funding streams depending on the goal of the art therapy and the qualifications of the teacher.

So let's start with the basics...

The concept of Art Therapy was coined by Adam Hill in 1942, however it became a formalised qualification in Australia back in the late 1990's, and later on was recognised by universities across nationwide. Now days, art therapy can come in many forms at many levels which is great! This means that everyone can experience the benefits of art-

Art therapy is now accessible for Participants in the NDIS through designated funding streams, such as "Therapeutic Supports" and "Community Participation." Eligibility for these streams is determined based on individual needs and goals outlined in their NDIS plan. Understanding the funding streams and eligibility criteria is essential for accessing the appropriate therapy services. So lets have a look at the options for accessing the different types of art therapy in the NDIS

Qualification: Masters Art Therapy Purpose: Psychotherapy (like counselling or psychology)

Funding Stream: Improved Health and Wellbeing

Art Therapy as a psychotherapeutic approach (works like counselling), your art therapist should have at least a Masters Art Therapy.

Diploma Art Therapy or Certificate in Disabilities: Purpose: Engaging in creative activities for recreation

Funding Streams and Eligibility: Community Participation

I like to actually call this 'Therapeutic Art Classes' because the outcome of the art classes are therapeutic by nature, you leave the art class feeling calmer, happy and if in a group, you are building relationships and becoming part of an 'art community'. However, there is no Psychotherapeutic element to this, you're not being counselled through your issues. These are often a wonderful way to enagge with other people within the community on a social level.

Diploma Art Therapy, Diploma Nursing Purpose: Building confidence, learning social skills, adapting art supplies to help people participate in their art classes. Funding Stream: Innovative Community Participation

I personally provide this service. I have a unique set of skills in that I have a diploma of art therapy and a diploma of nursing. I have combined these two skills to be able to assess peoples needs, whether it be adapting out art supplies for those that have reduced fine motor skills / gross motor skills, and creating a supportive environments where people can build their conversational skills, and create friendships. This type of service goes one step further that a standard art class. The concept was born from discovering that there were people in the NDIS community that were going to art classes and being 'put in the corner' because they couldn't physically participate due to their disabilities or their cognitive barriers. I decided to create a service that focused on overcoming those barriers so everyone has the ability to create art.

Art Therapy vs. Other Therapeutic Approaches:

Art therapy stands out as a distinct therapeutic approach within the NDIS landscape, offering a creative outlet for self-expression and healing. Unlike counseling or psychology, art therapy utilizes the creative process to explore emotions, thoughts, and experiences in a supportive environment. Participants can benefit from art therapy's holistic approach to mental health and well-being.

Case Study:

I had a NDIS Support Coordinator approach me with a client of their who had been experiencing discrimination at her local art groups. The participant {Let's call her Jane for privacy reasons} Jane, had an Acquired Brain Injury, arthritis in her hands and was wheelchair bound. Her ability to speak was impaired and so she was often 'talked over'. It was reported to me that during her time at these art classes, she was often unable to participate due to her physical and mental limitations.

I sat down with Jane and her coordinator and discussed the art activities that she had always wanted to do, and assess what her limitations and abilities were. By the end of the meeting I had a good idea on what Jane's goals were and how I was going to adapt out every single art class for the next months. I spent time researching how I could adapt out every activity. Now, every art session i ask her (and the rest in the group) what they want to achieve, and I spend that extra hour a month planning their art activties so they can actually participate . This is why my art classes are considered 'innovative' and 'therapeutic'

Every client ins unique and I see them and their capabilities. Real-life examples highlight the transformative impact of therapy services within the NDIS. From individuals improving communication skills through speech therapy to artists finding healing and self-discovery through art therapy, these case studies demonstrate the power of tailored interventions in enhancing participants' quality of life.

Navigating the NDIS Price Guide:

Understanding the rates of pay for therapy services is essential for both participants and service providers. The NDIS Price Guide serves as a valuable resource for navigating funding arrangements and determining appropriate payment rates for therapy services.

Art Therapy as a psychotherapy: anywhere upwards of $190 per hour

Therapeutic Art Classes: Usually charged out as a support worker rate $65

Innovative Therapeutic Art Lessons: are uncapped under the NDIS (i personally charge my rates out at $80 per hour, which includes art supplies and adapting out equipment)

Understanding what your desired outcome is and how you want to achieve that is a great first step. Everyone has the right to be creative at whatever level they can participate. I hope this article has helped you decipher how you can go about accessing your NDIS funding to start some art classes and get creative!

If you are looking for therapeutic art classes in Wangratta, make sure to get in contact with me by emailing

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