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Mutual Recognition Project

The Baltic Initiative for European Arts Therapy



Arts therapists are acutely aware of the rising mental health crisis facing Europe, which has been exacerbated by circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Whilst European governments are rallying to address this, many continue to fail to recognise the arts therapy sector as part of a wider mental health care agenda.

The Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, however, have been amongst the most advanced countries in Europe. The aim of this project is to achieve regulatory cooperation between these states, resulting in a new freedom for arts therapists to use their qualifications in the other nations.


If done correctly, we believe that this initiative could galvanise thinking at the European level, and inspire greater recognition and cooperation across the continent. 


If greater interoperability of qualifications in the Baltic region could be achieved, it would serve to:

  •  Increase access to arts therapy services in the region

  •  Further develop the quality of services through greater collaboration

  •  Improve government standards through regulatory cooperation and the sharing of best practices

  • Galvanise European-level action in keeping with the principles of the EU Single Market, which establishes one territory without any internal borders or other regulatory obstacles



To these ends, ECArTE has established a Working Group consisting of arts therapy professionals and representatives from each country.

In an initial meeting on July 8th, the group agreed to examine and compare each country’s curriculums (aims, outcomes, structures, modules and approaches); each country’s approach to defining arts therapies; how to develop a system of recognition (harmonisation and equivalence); and to compare the legal differences in terms of certification and registration of arts therapists.

Once a common understanding of each system has been established, the group will turn to exploring ways of achieving greater cross-border professional interoperability.


On September 17, as part of ECArTE’s conference in Vilnius, the Working Group will meet again to take the next step in the process. This will be another private event, which will be followed by a public event shortly afterwards. Please get in touch if you would like to learn more.


Convened by Richard Hougham, Chairman of ECArTE, the Working Group also consists of Eha Rüütel, Jana Duhovska, Mirdza Paipare, Kristīne Mārtinsone; Vilmantė Aleksienė; Audra Brazauskaitė; Marian Lopez-Fernandez 

This is an initiative of ECArTE, in collaboration with ThinkFilm Impact Productions, and their social impact work on behalf of the film How to Save a Dead Friend (Director, Marusya Syroechkovskaya; Produced Dos Vostok and Sisyfos) - a film which expresses the healing power of art-making in processing grief and dealing with other mental health issues.

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