Creative therapy support roles

Arts and crafts can be used as part of a person’s therapy as a way of helping them deal with their issues. 

This page has information on the role of creative therapy support workers, including entry requirements and skills needed. 

Working life

Art, music and drama can be particularly helpful when there are things people cannot say in words. This could be because the emotions are too distressing. Or it may be because the patient has difficulties with communication.

Arts and crafts can help people’s self-awareness, confidence and self-esteem. Taking part in an activity alone or with others can give people great pleasure and satisfaction.

Job titles vary, for example you might work as:

You'll typically plan activity programmes based on patients needs, abilities and preferences. This might include, for example, art, music, cookery or photography. You will help groups and individuals to take part in the activities.

In the NHS, many staff in roles related to the creative therapies work with adults with mental health issues. Other creative staff may work with

Where will I work?

You may be based in hospitals, hospices or residential care homes.

Who will I work with?

You will work as part of a team with healthcare professionals which could include nurses, doctors, occupational therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists and arts therapists (art, music or dramatherapists).

Entry requirements 

There are no set entry requirements but employers expect good literacy and numeracy. They may ask for GCSEs (or equivalent) in maths and English.

Employers also ask for an interest and ability in one or more areas of arts or crafts, such as art, music, drama, cookery, gardening, photography etc. They may also ask for a qualification in health or social care such as an NVQ or BTEC, or equivalent.

Employers usually ask for experience in working in the arts in a care or therapy setting. This is particularly important for roles working with people with mental health issues. Your experience could be from paid or voluntary work.

Some staff enter by working as healthcare assistants or occupational therapy assistants in jobs which may include creative therapies.

Personal characteristics and skills needed

Staff in roles related to the creative therapies need to be:

You'll also need

Training and development 

You will be given the training you need to do the job, including an introduction to the department and its procedures. You will also have training in relevant issues such as mental health or disability.

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