Independent Practice in Art Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions About Independent Practice

What are CPT codes?
The acronym stands for Physician's Current Procedural Terminology and is used for provider billing. To date, there are no CPT codes related to art therapy services and providers using this system must have a current mental health license for the state they are practicing in. On occasion, art therapy can be billed as part of other treatment-related services by contacting governmental programs (e.g. state hospitals) familiar with art therapy.

What forms do I need to start a private practice?
Contact your state grievance board to obtain a copy of mental health statutes, disclosure form requirements and database information before considering private practice. Supervision with a licensed therapist is recommended, and in some states mandatory, while in private practice. Consult with a psychotherapy attorney before implementing contracts, forms and releases; don't assume that copies from other therapists meet the criteria for your state regulations.

How do I negotiate a contract with an agency?
Request a meeting with the agency's CEO or an administrator to discuss what their requirements are before submitting a contract. You may want to consult with a psychotherapy attorney before signing the final contract. You will be required to have malpractice insurance, a disclosure form and be current with your CPR and first aid certification (unless stated otherwise by the agency's policies). You may also be required to register on your state grievance board's database, if unlicensed, or be supervised by a licensed Recommendations Regarding Independent Practice
  • Do not work without a signed contract
  • Clarify time frame
  • Submit in advance
  • Make certain you have adequate time to terminate if your contract is discontinued

Peer Recommendations Regarding Marketing Your Independent Practice
  • Brochure
  • Business Cards
  • Description of services provided
  • Advertisement in therapist referral list
  • Databases/referral sources
  • Volunteer for community-based programs
  • Pro bono programs
  • Yellow page ads
  • Mass Mailing

Recommended Resources

Building Your Ideal Private Practice: How to Love What You Do and Be Highly Profitable Too, Lynn Grodzki (2000).

Twelve Months to Your Ideal Private Practice: A Workbook, Lynn Grodzki (2003)

The New Private Practice: Therapists-Coaches Share Stories, Strategies and Advice, Lynn Grodzki (ed.),(2002).

Independent Practice for Art Therapists E-Group on

Recommended Web Sites

American Psychological Association
American Counseling Association
Marriage and Family Therapy
Psychotherapy Finances