Art Therapy Training in South Africa

Art Therapy Training South Africa

Art Therapy is a 2 years Masters (MA) or Post Graduate (PgD) qualification which has up until now, only been available internationally. South Africa has now finally begun our own legitimate Art Therapy training!

However, there is no quick fix in becoming an Art Therapist. A formal Art Therapy training is legally and ethically required both to ensure the quality control of this highly specialized profession and to ensure future potential clients that they are in the hands of a qualified, registered and professionally trained Art Therapist.

What does a recognized/legitimate Art Therapy training involve?

A legitimate Art Therapy training follows a similar training protocol as training to be a psychologist in that one firstly requires an Undergraduate Degree (e.g. a BA Psy/Fine Art/Social work degree) with Psychology 1, 2 and 3 as subjects, followed by an Honours degree.

Following this, the MASTERS in Art Therapy is a 2 year full time training (or 3 year part time) which includes a 2 year internship, adding up to 1000 clinical hours under University level formal supervision, and personal therapy in order to be actively engaged and working through one’s own personal journey as a client. For more info on course content please click here.

How to practice as an Art Therapist in South Africa?

After completion of a Masters in Art Therapy, internationally trained students need to undergo formal registration exams with the HPCSA in order to obtain a registration number to be able to call oneself an Art Therapist and practice in South Africa. For more info on pre-requisites to studying overseas, please click here.

Art Therapy Training

What background do I need in order to apply for an Art Therapy training?

Note - These are general requirements - please check with each specific University directly.

  • Undergraduate degree (E.g. BA / BCom / Fine Art / Social Work / Teaching etc.)
  • Psychology background (E.g. Psy 1, 2 & 3 through UNISA)
  • Honours degree
  • Art experience and comprehensive personal art portfolio
  • Experience in working with people (professionally or community/volunteer work)
  • Personal therapy with a qualified and registered therapist (Art Therapist or other)

Art Therapy in South Africa

Universities that offer or will be offering training in Art Therapy:

University of Johannesburg

University of Pretoria (Tukkies) 

Please join the next Art Therapy Taster Workshop to find out more about what Art Therapy is.
For bookings and info, go here.

A note on purchasing an online ‘Art Therapy’ course e.g. Udemy

Purchasing a short Art Therapy course online is not an adequate or affiliated professional form of Art Therapy and is certainly not recognized by the HPCSA. One of the most important aspects of learning about Art Therapy or training to become an Art therapist is engaging in a hands-on personal experiential art-making process within the safety of a qualified and registered Art Therapist.

Please note that the Helios or the Art Therapy Academy is not recognized in South Africa and bears NO resemblance to what Art Therapy actually is. For more info click here. There are also NO trained or registered Art Therapists running their programmes. Please click here for the formal SANATO (South African National Art Therapy Organization) statement on Helios – The Art Therapy Academy.

Any local training that is not registered and recognized by the HPCSA is tempting but illegal and undermines the integrity of the Art Therapy profession.


If you still have unanswered questions or wish to read more, please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

“I grew more than I thought possible.”

- Alfred -

“For the first time in my life I have discovered my true identity and can now answer the fundamental question of who I am!”

- Nonhlanhla -

“The magic that Sam unleashes through her knowledge is beautiful.”

- Charmaine -

“An inspirational, wonderful, creative self-exploratory journey, Thank you!”

- Robyn -

“Thank you for a thought-provoking and inspiring class! You are a fantastic therapist with a very caring and compassionate approach to listening! You made each and every person feel important by allowing each one the opportunity to feel safe enough to open up! Thank you for that.”

- Candace -

“Sam, you are so experienced and it is evident in your facilitation. You are really good at your job and do it with such professionalism.”

- Meryl -

“The course went beyond my personal expectations. I came thinking that we would mainly be learning about Art Therapy, which we did, but it was a big transformational experience for me which I was not expecting.”

- Megan Main-Baillie (Honours Psychology Student) -

“The Art Therapy was a gentle, creative and fun way to build trust and deliver outcomes. It was enjoyable and an extremely valuable experience in our Strategy workshop.”

- Daniella: Business Connexion -

“I didn’t realize how much I NEEDED Art Therapy. It was like rain falling on desert soil. And I have grown so much. My heart feels alive again. I will be back!”

- Heather (Owner of a Montessori Nursery School, Degree in Television) -

“It was a time to forget about the problems and the world around me. Sam is a brilliant facilitator. Even though I was nervous, it was a time for me to reflect and to enjoy how therapeutic art can be. It calmed the storm that reigned inside of me. The Mandala Art Therapy workshop is like having a picnic next to a quiet river. You granted time to reach that point where you can become quiet and can experience the Universe.”

- Anonymous -

“A very comprehensive and thorough intro into Art Therapy. Covered a lot of ground in 5 days and left with a priceless manual and a warm glow.”

- Kat -

“It was the best week of my life, I learnt that I could always be happy as long as I was in a happy and comfortable space, and if I wasn’t I needed to create that space. I learnt that I was in control and all I had to do was to take charge and have fun and paint on a bigger board i.e. see the bigger picture. I am so grateful for the opportunity that came my way and that I was able to embrace and savor it.”

- Anonymous -

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