Résumé of the professional and educational contexts of the arts therapies


The historical background of arts therapies in Norway

The creative arts therapies in Norway have been developing since the 1970s, when pioneers among Norwegian professionals, who had trained in England and USA, started up arts therapies practice in psychiatric wards. Now there are music therapists and art therapists working in psychiatric hospitals and day centres, special education, cancer care, trauma and refugee centers. Although the community of therapists is still not large in number, there is a growing interest in the creative arts therapies and an increasing number of students are attending training programmes.

Training courses

Two ECTS training programmes in music therapy are established in Norway, one at the Academy of Music in Oslo, and the other at the University of Bergen. They offer a one-year programme at Bachelor level, and a two-year Masters programme.

There is a two-year Masters level ECTS Art Therapy programme at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (former Oslo University College). This University became a member of ECArTE in 2010.

Between 15 and 20 students attend the programme.

There is a two-year master’s level Expressive Arts programme at University College of South-East Norway, in collaboration with a private institute.

Despite great efforts from professionals trained from abroad, there are still no official training programmes in Drama Therapy or Dance Therapy in Norway.


Professional association

The Norwegian Music Therapy Association was founded in 1972 and has about 250 members, not all of them are music therapists, but have other professional backgrounds. 

The Norwegian Art Therapy Association was founded in 1978. There are about a hundred members, not all of them arts therapists.

The other arts therapies disciplines have formed their own associations.


Professional registration

There is no official certification for Arts Therapists in Norway. Most professionals have their certification based on their first profession as nurses, occupational therapists, special educators etc.  The Norwegian Psychotherapy Association is a member of the European Association for Psychotherapy (EAP). Their goal is to establish an official certification and registration system in Norway.


Oslo: Høgskolen Oslo / Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences