Résumé of the professional and educational contexts of the arts therapies


Historical Background of Art Therapy In Lithuania

After the reinstatement of Lithuania’s independence, a number of important national laws were issued including the 1991 Law on the Social Integration of the Disabled, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania in 1995. These documents and newly adopted provisions determined broad dissemination of social integration and psychological rehabilitation ideas with regard to certain social groups. Such a public context was favourable for the development of new Arts Therapies ideas in Lithuania promoting the uniqueness of a person, emotional expressions and perceptions of a person. In our opinion, namely these aspects resonated in post-Soviet Lithuanian society and determined a broad application thereof, bearing in mind that psychological consequences of political repressions on the victims of such repressions, their family members and society have been investigated in Lithuania only since 2002.

Practical application of Art Therapy in Lithuania can be traced back to the 1980s, when psychiatrists and psychologists started showing interest in Art Therapy as an attractive and promising form of mental therapy. In 1991-93 contacts were established with US organisation “International Networking Group of Art Therapists”, in 1992 the Clinics of Psychiatry of Vilnius University opened the first Arts Therapy studio Paukštė, announcements of the Human Study Centre inviting to attend Arts Therapy groups were posted in magazine Psichologija Tau in 1994–96.

Setting up of Art studies or classes in rehabilitation, clinical and special education establishments activated the application of Art Therapy and opened the door for new areas of application with involvement of professional artists. This was influenced by changes in the idea of humanistic pedagogy and the content of artistic training. However, the originators of Art Therapy lacked special knowledge. That is why they first of all looked for opportunities to meet, get familiar with and share experience. The first national seminar Artistic Education for the Disabled took place in 1996. Encouraged by Prof. Dr. habil. Albertas Piličiauskas from the Academy of Music, in 1997 teachers of music and art working with people with special needs set up to non-governmental organisations, namely, the Lithuanian Association for Educational Musical Therapy (LUMTA) (by now Lithuanian Music Therapy Association) and the Lithuanian Association for Art Therapy Application (LDTTA).


The Professional Context of Art Therapy in Lithuania

The main tasks of the LDTTA included unification of persons working in this field, organisation and holding of qualification improvement programmes, gathering of specialised literature and contributing to the emergence of the Art Therapist profession in Lithuania. The main areas of LDTTA’s activities included the following:

• Application of Art Therapy techniques for different groups of customers. As LDTTA joins practitioners representing different professions, the application of Art Therapy methods helped develop this experience in the field of art pedagogy, psychology, psychiatry, social work, pedagogy and special needs education. In Lithuania, Art Therapy is applied in therapeutic, social, educational programmes, rehabilitation, abilitation fields.

• The aim of the qualification improvement seminars is to bridge the gap of multidisciplinary knowledge in Art Therapy. In 1998-2001, a Psychological Training Programme was implemented together with partners (Vilnius University, Republican University Hospital Child Development Center). Art Therapy seminars were held in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005 with the colleagues from Roehampton University (dr. Janek Dubowski, Jonathan Isserow, Simon Hastilow), University of Hertfordshire (Phillipa Brown), Queen Margaret University (dr. Margaret Hills de Zarate), Adler School of Professional Psychology (dr.Nancy Slater, U.S.). In 2001 and 2003, Art Therapy seminars were held together with Russian partners, Association of ‘Art’ Therapy in St. Petersburg (Alexander Kopytin). Art therapy summer schools were organised in 2006, 2007, 2008 (with colleagues from Roehampton University, University of Hertfordshire (United Kingdom), Lithuanian Educological University (former Vilnius Pedagogical University). From 1998 – 2008 theoretical basics in Art Therapy amounted to 700 academic hours in total.

• In order to present Art Therapy for the society, the Seimas and the Government of the Republic of Lithuania on 24 February 2005 with the initiative of the LDTTA and LUMTA organised a round-table discussion at the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania to discuss the application of Arts Therapies in work with youth and adolescents. An important push for the further development of Arts Therapies in Lithuania was interdepartmental working group acting at the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania in autumn 2009.  The result of this work was the analysis of the situation of Arts Therapies in Lithuania and the measures proposed, together with its annexes: Draft profile of professional activities of Arts Therapists’; Draft profile of professional qualification requirements for Arts Therapies professionals; Distribution of qualification requirements among persons willing to practise Arts Therapies; Draft profile of the pioneer of the Art Therapy profession; Working group’s guidelines on the training of Arts Therapies professionals.

• On 30 October, 2014 the  “Description of Professional Qualification Requirements for an Arts Therapists” was approved by the Order of the Minister of Health of the Republic of Lithuania



Arts Therapies Master Programmes in Lithuania


Joint Master study programme "Art Therapy" conducted by Lithuanian  University  of Health Sciences  and Vilnius Art Academy Kaunas Faculty is the first study programme in Lithuania providing art therapy academic training. The programme started 1st September, 2013.



Joint Master Programme ”Music Therapy” (Vilnius University and Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre). Is the first programme in Lithuania providing music therapy academic training. The programme started at 1st September 2015.


Arts Therapies Organisations in Lithuania

Lithuanian Association for Art Therapy application (LDTTA)

Lithuanian Music Therapy Association

Lithuanian   Psychodrama Union

Lithuanian Dance Movement Therapy Association

Lithuanian Arts Therapy Association