Résumé of the professional and educational contexts of the arts therapies


The historical background of arts therapies in Ireland

The arts therapies established themselves in the Republic of Ireland in the early 1980s with practitioners having trained in Europe and the US returning home to develop their practice. Trainings for the arts therapies began in the late 1990s and are now firmly established in the country.


The professional context of arts therapies

In 1986 the Irish Association of Creative Arts Therapists (IACAT) was developed as a professional association for the arts therapies and in 2011 celebrated its 25th anniversary. At present there is no state recognition or state registration system for the arts therapies but IACAT has been and is presently actively involved in negotiations in developing these systems with the government. The association has developed a code or guidelines of ethical practice.  It has an organisational structure that supports both practitioners as well as the arts therapy educational systems in the country, acting as a voice as well as communication with local and national government agencies. IACAT now regularly publishes a professional journal JIACAT.

Practitioners work in a range of clinical and community settings within statutory and non-statutory settings as well as private practice. These range from psychiatric settings, palliative care through to education.

Presently there are post graduate (level 9) trainings in art, drama and music therapy with dance, drama & movement therapy offering foundation non-clinical level training experiences.

Post-graduate trainings

MA Art Therapy – CIT, Crawford College of Art & Design, Cork.

MA Dramatherapy – National University of Ireland, Maynooth

MA Music Therapy, University of Limerick 


Whilst having an obvious Irish context in terms of their theoretical and practice orientations, these trainings mirror to some degree the UK trainings in terms of length and clinical placement duration. This reflects the needs of those practitioners who decide after training to move their practice to either Northern Ireland (UK) or the UK mainland.

On completion of their training, graduates are eligible to register with IACAT.  

For further information on training in Ireland and details of IACAT please go to:


Cork: CIT Crawford College of Art & Design