SENATE DOCKET, NO. 841        FILED ON: 2/9/2021

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 195


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



Diana DiZoglio


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to licensure of art therapists.






Diana DiZoglio

First Essex

SENATE DOCKET, NO. 841        FILED ON: 2/9/2021

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 195

By Ms. DiZoglio, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 195) of Diana DiZoglio for legislation relative to licensure of art therapists.  Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.


SEE SENATE, NO. 141 OF 2019-2020.]


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the One Hundred and Ninety-Second General Court



An Act relative to licensure of art therapists.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. Section 88 of chapter 13 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 4, the number “13”, and inserting in place thereof the following number:- 15.

SECTION 2. Section 89 of said chapter 13, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “psychologists”, in line 8, the following words:- 2 of whom shall be board certified art therapists.

SECTION 3. Chapter 112 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-

Section 275. (a) As used in this section the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:-

“Art therapist” or “certified art therapist” or “board certified art therapist” or “licensed professional art therapist” or “LPAT”, an individual licensed to practice art therapy under this section who offers individuals, families, or groups professional art therapy services directly to the general public, or through public or private organizations. These individuals hold board certification in good standing with the certifying organization.

“Art therapy”, a mental health discipline that integrates use of psychotherapeutic principles, art media, and the creative process to assist individuals, families or groups in doing all of the following:

(i) increasing awareness of self and others;

(ii) coping with symptoms, stress and traumatic experiences;

(iii) enhancing cognitive, physical, social and emotional abilities; and

(iv) identifying and evaluating clients’ needs in order to implement therapeutic interventions to meet developmental, behavioral, mental and emotional needs.

“Art therapy services”, refers to employing art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to provide all of the following services:

(i) clinical appraisal and treatment activities during individual, couples, family or group sessions that provide opportunities for expression through art therapy;

(ii) the use of art processes and products to facilitate the client’s understanding of internal conflict and the impact on their behavior and relationships; and

(iii) employing diagnostic and assessment methods, consistent with training and experience, to determine treatment goals and implement therapeutic art interventions that meet developmental, cognitive, behavioral and emotional needs.

“Board”, the board of allied mental health professions established in section 11A of chapter 13.

“Certified educational institution”, an accredited degree-granting college or university with a graduate art therapy program recognized by the American Art Therapy Association, the Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Education Programs, or a graduate program in a related field as recognized by the board.

“Governing association”, the accreditation board of art therapists, currently being the Art Therapy Credentials Board, a national certifying agency.

“Licensed associate art therapist” or “LAAT”, an individual licensed as an associate art therapist under this section who obtains supervised experience from a LPAT or other qualified mental health professional approved by the board for at least 3 months, for the purposes of becoming licensed as a licensed professional art therapist.

“Supervised experience”, direct consultation, on a regularly scheduled basis, between a supervisee and a LPAT, certified art therapist, or other behavioral health professional, such as LMHC, approved by the board. The board approved supervisor is responsible for insuring that the extent, kind, and quality of services rendered are consistent with the governing association’s guidelines, as well as the supervisee’s education, training, and experience.

(b) The board is required to examine applicants for licensure in the field it supervises at such times and places as it may determine. Applications for such license, signed and sworn by the applicants shall be made on forms furnished by the board. An applicant who furnished satisfactory proof that he or she understands ethical guidelines and Massachusetts law and practices within this scope and that he or she has met the educational and clinical practice requirements set forth in subsection (f), shall, upon payment of a fee determined by the treasurer, be examined by the board, and if found qualified, shall be licensed to practice.

Licenses shall expire every 2 years on the anniversary of the license acquirement.  Licensees shall pay to the board a renewal fee determined by the treasurer. The board may require specific continuing education as a condition of the license renewal.  The board may provide for the late renewal of a license that has lapsed and may require payment of a late fee, an examination, continuing education, and supervised experience before issuing the renewed license.

(c) A person who meets the qualifications admitted to the examination for licensure as an art therapist, may between the date of filing an application for licensure and the announcement of the results the next succeeding examination for licensure, according to which the applicant has filed, practice as an art therapist under the supervision of an art therapist, mental health counselor, social worker, or the equivalent duly licensed under this chapter. If any person so practicing fails to qualify for or pass the first announced examination after filing for licensure, all privileges under this section shall automatically cease upon due notice to the applicant of such failure.  Such privileges shall be renewed upon filling for a second examination for licensure and shall automatically cease upon notice to the applicant that he or she has failed to pass the second examination. Such privileges may again be renewed upon the applicant petitioning the board for permission to file a third application and said permission being granted by the board shall automatically cease upon due notice that he or she has failed to pass the third examination. An applicant who files a further application for license shall not practice until passing such further examination.

(d) The board may, without examination, license as an art therapist, an applicant who is duly licensed or registered under the laws of another state or territory of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the commonwealth of Puerto Rico. At the time of making such application, the applicant shall pay a fee determined by the treasurer of the board. An applicant with a creative arts license in another state or territory shall be required to take and pass an examination to be licensed as an art.

(e) Nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing or restricting the practice, services, or activities of:

(i) any person licensed in this commonwealth by any other statute from engaging in the profession or occupation for which he or she is licensed;

(ii) any person employed as an art therapist or associate art therapist by the United States or any agency of it, if such person provides art therapy solely under the direction or control of the United States government organization by which he or she is employed;

(iii) any person pursuing a supervised course of study leading to a degree or certificate in art therapy at an accredited or approved educational program, if the person is designated by a title which clearly indicates his or her status as a student or trainee;

(iv) any person fulfilling the supervised field work experience requirements of this section, if the experience constitutes a part of the experience necessary to meet the requirement of that section; or

(v) any person performing art therapy services in the commonwealth if these services are performed for no more than 2 days in a calendar year in association with an art therapist licensed under this section, if the person is licensed under the law of another state which has licensure requirements at least as stringent as the requirements of this section, or is recognized by the governing association as a qualified art therapist.

(f) An applicant for licensure as an art therapist shall complete (i) through (iv) below:

(i)  Have completed one of the following:

(1) a master’s or doctoral degree in art therapy from an accredited educational institution that was either approved by the American Art Therapy Association or accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs at the time the degree was conferred; or

(2) a graduate degree in an allied or related field from an accredited educational institution and graduate level work which is the equivalent to a master’s degree in art therapy, as determined by the board.

(ii)  Following the completion of the master’s degree, have successfully accrued no less than 2 years of supervised experience.  The experience shall consist of no less than 3,200 hours obtained over a period of not more than 5 consecutive years, including a minimum of 1,000 direct client contact hours. 

(iii) Have at least 100 hours of supervision, at least 50 hours shall be completed by a LPAT or certified art therapist, who is also licensed to practice mental health counseling. Additional hours may be supervised by a mental health counselor, social worker or professional licensed in a related mental health field.

(iv) Have passed the board examination of the national certifying agency.

(g) An applicant for licensure as an associate art therapist shall:

(i)  Have completed a master’s or doctoral degree in art therapy from an accredited educational institution that was either approved by the American Art Therapy Association or accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs at the time the degree was conferred;

(ii) Be practicing art therapy under an approved supervisor; and

(iii)   Successfully accrued a certain amount of supervised pre-master’s field work, including direct client contact, and individual and group supervision hours. Minimum hours of individual and group supervision must be provided by supervisors approved by the board. Of these supervised hours, a certain amount must be by a registered art therapist or LPAT. 

The LAAT is not a required credential to apply for the LPAT.

The associate art therapy license is effective for a period of 2 years. The license may be renewed up to 5 times.

(h) The board may, after a hearing pursuant to chapter 30, revoke, suspend, cancel the license of or place on probation, reprimand, censure or otherwise discipline a licensee upon proof satisfactory to a majority of the board that said person:

(i) obtained or attempted to obtain a license by fraud or deception;

(ii) has been convicted of a felony or of a crime involving moral turpitude;

(iii) has been grossly negligent in his or her practice of art therapy;

(iv) has been adjudged mentally ill or incompetent by the court of competent jurisdiction;

(v) used drugs or intoxicating liquors to the extent which adversely affects his practice; or

(vi) acted in manner which is professionally unethical according to ethical standards of the profession of art therapy.

(i) Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing an art therapist to practice medicine or any other form or method of healing not specified in said section.

The board may adopt reasonable rules and regulations to carry into effect this section and may amend and revoke such rules and regulations at its discretion. The board shall keep a record of its proceedings and a roster of all persons licensed by it under this section. The roster shall include the licensee’s name, last known business and residential address, date of licensing and license number.

The board shall promulgate regulations necessary to regulate and inspect the practice settings of its licensees and may require the practice settings to be licensed by the board if the practice settings are not regulated by the department of public health. Fees for the licensing of any practice setting and renewals thereof shall be determined by the secretary of administrations pursuant to section 3B of chapter 7 and shall be deposited in the Division of Professional Licensure Trust Fund established by section 35V of chapter 10.

(j) No person shall advertise or promote him or herself as an art therapist or shall be able to practice art therapy in this commonwealth unless he or she is licensed in accordance with this section. No person not so licensed may use in connection with his or her name or place of business the letters, “LPAT” or any other words, letters, abbreviations, or insignia indicating that he or she is an art therapist.