Code of Ethics

Code of Ethics

Art therapists who have completed a masters degree in art therapy from an approved educational institution are eligible to become members in the Icelandic Art Therapy Association (IATA).

Members must adhere to the IATA Code of Ethics, which is set up to protect the welfare of individuals, groups and families seeking art therapy.

Discrimination against clients based on race, cultural background, gender, marital status, religion, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental ability are considered ethical violations.

The welfare of the client should always be a priority to the art therapist. It is their duty to ensure that the medical health of the client is in the hands of a medical doctor.

The art therapist must at all times keep all interaction with the client professional.

The art therapist must never abuse the client´s dependency within the theraputic relationship for financial, sexual or any other personal gains.

Personal relationships with clients are prohibited during the treatment period.

The art therapist must not conduct sessions while under the influence of alcohol, or any other medication that may interfere with their ability to function as a therapist.

The therapist must make a treatment contract with the client or client´s legal guardians, stating the appropriate theraputic frame.

All interactions between therapist and client are confidential.

Art therapists working in larger facilities (public or private) are required to follow their workplace’s rules of confidentiality.

Art therapists in private practice must maintain confidentiality unless he or she believes that the client, public or the therapist herself is at risk.

The art therapist must not obtain information regarding their client without the client’s consent, unless the therapist is legally obliged to do so.

In such cases the therapist should only obtain information legally relevant to the therapeutic process. A written consent must be obtained prior to recording a session. Confidential information may only be disclosed to a third party,  if a client submits a written request to the therapist.

Art therapists will always remain aware of their responsibilities and obligations as treatment providers. Therapists must also be up to date with any changes in laws and regulations regarding art therapy.

Art therapists must always maintain the upmost professionalism. Treatment should always be guided by theories, research and experience in art therapy.

Art therapists are required to follow new developments in their field through clinical work and educational activities, as well as fulfilling the professional requirements at any given time.

Should the art therapist want to use any part of the treatment process, verbal information, artwork or written statements for educational, research, publishing or exhibition purposes it is necessary to:

  • Obtain client’s or legal guardian permission, if possible, and explain how the material will be used. This rule does not apply three years or more after the end of treatment, though anonymity applies at all times.

  • keep the client’s welfare a priority and refrain from publishing if it could possibly harm the treatment.

  • maintain anonymity at all times. 

It is preferable that the art therapist remain vigilant regarding their professional development by attending supervision, either at the place of work or independently.

During the first three years in the field the art therapist should receive supervision by a licensed mental health professional or a fellow art therapist with at least 10 years of experience in the field.

Art therapists in private practice are free to advertise their services.

Art therapists shall always follow their conscience and beliefs.

The art therapist may decline to provide treatment if they consider themselves unable to be professionally responsible.

The board of IATA receives and processes complaints regarding art therapists, based on this code of conduct. A major factor in the board’s ruling is whether the art therapist acted in an ethical way. Art therapists have an obligation to report any breach of conduct by another art therapist, to the board of IATA.


November 2016