The initial stage of the professional identity development of an arts therapist: The example of Latvia — by Elīna Akmane & Kristīne Mārtinsone

Ειδικό Τεύχος 8 (1) 2016 “Μουσικοθεραπεία, δραματοθεραπεία, χοροθεραπεία και εικαστική θεραπεία: Διεπιστημονικοί διάλογοι” – Άρθρο (δημοσιεύθηκε πρώτα στις 7 Ιανουαρίου 2016)

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The initial stage of the professional identity development of an arts therapist: The example of Latvia

Elīna Akmane & Kristīne Mārtinsone


This article explores the issue of professional identity development of an arts therapist within the context of Latvia. One hundred and eighty-five participants were invited to take part in the research and to fill in the questionnaire electronically – 118 certified arts therapists and 67 arts therapies students of all four specialisations. The questionnaire was completed by 101 participants (51 certified arts therapists, 50 arts therapies students). In addition, five focus groups were arranged including certified arts therapists and arts therapies students. As a theoretical basis this research uses the professional identity development model by Berliner (1994) which distinguishes five stages and levels according to duration of the professional activity and the accumulated work experience. The objective of the study was to find out which factors are forming the professional identity of an arts therapist, and also explore factors influencing the professional identity development of an arts therapist. This study explores what helps and what hinders the arts therapist’s professional identity development process. This research and the acquired results can be used to form or improve the training of arts therapists. These conclusions could be used for better supporting trainees’ personal and professional development and in reviewing approaches to supervision by foreseeing possible difficulties while creating the support systems.


art therapist, professional identity, development, Latvia


Mg. sc. sal. Elīna Akmane certified art therapist. Latvian Art Therapy Association board member. Works at Children’s Clinical University Hospital, Children’s Psychiatry Clinic, Latvia.

Dr. Psych. Kristīne Mārtinsone associate professor at Rīga Stradiņš University and Head of Department of Health Psychology and Pedagogy at the Faculty of Public Health and Social Welfare. Certified art therapist, supervisor and psychologist; establisher of the professional Master’s study programme “Arts Therapies” in Rīga Stradiņš University, Latvia.