By Matt Hickey-Smith | March 20, 2019 04:30:46If you’ve ever been to an art gallery or attended a sports meeting in your life, chances are you’ve seen something you love on one of the art exhibits, such as a picture of a professional athlete, or a photograph of a beloved celebrity.
And if you’re in a similar position to one of these people, it’s likely you’ve been inspired to become an art therapist.
In a new paper published in the journal Science Advances, a team of researchers from the University of Oxford, the University at Buffalo, and the University College London looked at how different kinds of art and art therapy are taught in professional sports.
The paper is the first to examine how different types of art therapy, from sports therapy, through dance therapy, to art therapy for athletes and art therapists for people, are taught.
“It’s an area that’s been very, very neglected,” said co-author Dr. Mark D. Smith, associate professor of psychiatry and the department of psychology at Oxford University.
The researchers used a large dataset from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to look at over 5,000 athletes and their coaches, as well as more than 6,500 professional athletes.
They compared what kinds of arts therapy were taught to what types of sports the athletes attended and their team’s participation in them.
The results show that the arts therapy that sports therapists teach in sports therapy are significantly more likely to be seen as art therapy than the arts therapies that are taught as part of other arts.
Art therapists are the art therapists who treat patients to enhance their skills, the study found, but not as the athletes themselves.
The study found that only 19 percent of the sports therapists taught art therapy in sport actually practiced it.
That number was lower than for other types of arts.
In addition, only 12 percent of art therapists actually met their patients in their practice, compared with 47 percent of those who did not practice arts therapy.
These figures may be partly explained by the fact that only one-quarter of sports therapists actually practiced art therapy at all.
The researchers said this may be because many professional sports teams do not have a formal art program, and so they may not even have a therapist practicing in their team.
The art therapists were also more likely than the athletes to see athletes as their patients.
The team found that just 25 percent of professional athletes had a professional art therapist in their lives.
This was lower still for the people who did have a professional artist as their therapist.
“If we’re thinking of people in terms of sports, they might be thinking of professional sports therapist,” Smith said.
“We can’t think of people who are playing in sports in terms to see them as a patient.
They’re thinking about them as their sport therapist.”
A new way to heal?
Art therapists, according to Smith, can help athletes heal from injuries and improve their performance through a range of techniques, including art therapy with physical therapy.
Art therapy has been shown to improve both the performance and health of people suffering from injury and pain, and in the case of sports injuries, may even improve performance.
“The evidence of art as therapy in sports has really exploded in recent years,” Smith told ABC News.
“Art therapy is a really powerful, powerful tool, and you can see it in the work of some of the greatest sports doctors of all time, like David Blaine, Dr. Frank Arsenault and the people that were doing that in the ’70s and ’80s.”
Art therapy may not be the only treatment for athletes.
There is also an emerging field of sports medicine called sports cognitive and behavioral therapy, or SCBAT.
It’s used to treat athletes with issues such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
But Smith said SCBARt practitioners may also need to understand how art therapy can help people who have other kinds of health problems as well.
“Art therapy can be used to help athletes with any sort of mental health issue that they might have,” Smith explained.
“It’s not just an art therapy problem, it can also be a behavioral therapy problem.”
Smith said that if an athlete had an art problem and was struggling to cope with it, art therapy could help with that problem.
“I think it’s really important that we understand the art therapy process as a whole,” Smith continued.
“The way that art therapy is taught is different than the way it is practiced in any other area of health care.”