Arts therapy and the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme)

What is arts therapy?

Arts therapy is an allied health profession. It is delivered by professionally trained arts therapists who work with clients using art, dance or drama within their therapy sessions. The therapist supports participants to work toward their individual goals in creative ways to enhance physical and emotional wellbeing. 

How does arts therapy work?

The Participant and the therapist work together within clearly defined boundaries and goals in a safe, confidential and nurturing environment. Participants do not need to have any prior experience making art as the emphasis is generally on the creative process rather than the outcome.

Who would benefit from arts therapy?

Arts therapy is client-centred, inclusive and outcome oriented. It can be useful for individuals, groups, and communities. It is suitable for people of all ages and backgrounds.

What is the NDIS?

The NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) is an Australia-wide initiative that provides funding for people with physical and psychosocial disabilities to access supports to maintain and improve their quality of life. It is underpinned by the concept of choice and control for participants and their families.

Arts therapy and the NDIS

NDIS participants may access arts therapy to support them to achieve their goals. Participants whose funds are managed by the NDIA may only use NDIS-registered arts therapists. There is a list on the ANZATA website –

ANZATA recommends that all other NDIS Participants use professional arts therapists.

Find an arts therapist

Professional arts therapists are registered with the Australian and New Zealand Arts Therapy Association (ANZATA). To find an ANZATA member who is a NDIS registered Provider in your local area, visit the ‘Find a Therapist’ directory –

Search by ‘region’ and ‘NDIS registered’.

What will happen when I get in touch with an arts therapist?

It is important that your arts therapist understands your goals and the outcomes you would like to achieve.  For this reason, when you contact an arts therapist they may ask you the following questions:

1. What are your goals?

2. How is your NDIS plan managed?

  • Self-managed – you manage your own funds and pay the arts therapist directly.
  • Plan-Managed – a third party such as a community organisation manages your funds and the arts therapist invoices them.
  • NDIA (Agency) managed – arts therapists who are NDIS-Registered Providers request the payment from the NDIA.
  • A combination of the above.

The arts therapist you choose will make a Service Agreement with you to plan how you will achieve your goals. This may include:

  • how you know when your goals have been achieved
  • how you review your Service Agreement
  • the way you will pay for the service
  • what happens if you are not able to attend.

How are arts therapists qualified?

In order to practise and use the recognised title AThR (ANZATA-approved arts therapists), the following requirements must be met:

  • Complete a minimum two years masters degree from an approved course
  • Complete a minimum of 750 hours of supervised clinical placement.
  • Professional membership of Australian and New Zealand Arts Therapy Association (ANZATA)
  • Complete continuing professional development and work under a code of ethics

Please note: We recognise that the NDIS is a dynamic system and that changes happen regularly. If you are aware of updated information or if you would like to suggest improvements to this content please use this form to notify us so that we can update our website.
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