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    Hoping someone can give me advice.. I'm 26 years old and considering going back into education to become either a art or play therapist.
    Firstly I'm wondering if any other mature students has become an art or play therapist and the route that they took to achieve it. I understand you need to complete a MA in either subject, however the entry requirements are a BA in a relevant subject which I don't have (only A levels in art, media, and AS photography and sociology) as well as having at least 2 years experience, I've seen a few foundation courses and a bridging course that Hertfordshire uni offer before taking the MA but don't know wether this would be enough to get me onto any MA course.
    Obviously doing a Degree first would be costly and time consuming, so I would prefer to do the foundation, along with gaining as much experience as I can within 2 years but don't know if this would be enough to be considered on to a MA. Secondly I wanted to know if there's much difference between a art and play therapist? Wouldnt a play therapist use forms of art therapy, along with play therapy? But I am interested in both and wanted to know others opinions. Sorry for the long question(s) just really need some advice.Thanks

    Hi, I'm an art therapist and there's a massive difference between play and art therapy. Art therapy has roots in mental health and uses psychodynamic and analytic working. You have to be a mature student to get onto the Masters and it's very important to have life experience, at 26 I think you'll find that you will be one of the youngest ones! Also, the vast majority and (I pretty sure) the requirements for the MA is to have an art degree or other relevant degree... this is because the profession and course is art based. So if you're not comfortable in using materials you will find this challenging. Plus, if you don't have faith in art making it'll be difficult to work with people using this method. Most art therapists in this sense are primarily artists as they use art as communication. That's what art therapy is about really, using art to communicate something.

    Having a degree also gives the course an idea on how you cope with the academic demands of a masters. As you don't have one going from your last experience of education being A Levels to the big jump of a Masters is massive. Do you think you'll be able to work at that level (I don't mean to sound harsh! - but it might be a shock if you did get onto the MA, it's very demanding).

    Art therapists can use play with toys and such but this would be a different way to play therapists and vise versa. For example, a play therapist may have no experience at all using art themselves so if a client did they will be limited in how they respond, how they interpret the image and how they maybe analyse it. Play and art therapy use very different theories. Art is among the creative psychotherapies that are state registered with the HCPC, making it different to play therapy that has a separate regulation as it's relatively new. Arts psychotherapies as a profession are usually in the health sector (or at least used to be) which is why they're regulated by HCPC.

    I'd recommend the British association of art therapists : introduction to art therapy course before you do the foundation at Hertfordshire just to see if it's for you.

    There are institutions which are not universities which do not have the degree as an entry requirement to the postgrad level. I studied counselling at college, at level 5 which is foundation degree, and i can got onto PG courses. Shop around and maybe do an intro to counselling course to see if you like the idea more or less once youve done it. Though most course have a minimum age requirement of 21
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