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ART THERAPIST in Downers Grove, IL at The Geo Group

Date Posted: 3/12/2019

Job Snapshot

Job Description


Compensation Base: 

Compensation Bonus (if applicable): 


Equal Opportunity Employer.

Abraxas Youth and Family Services is a national leader in the operation of residential treatment facilities and community-based programs for troubled youth and their families. We offer a wide array of services to include life skills, mental health services, cognitive behavioral therapy, family counseling, drug and alcohol treatment, case management services, recreational activities as well as vocational and educational services. Abraxas is a great place to start your career whether you have a high school diploma or GED, military experience, some college, or a bachelor or advanced degree.  If you are interested in counseling, juvenile justice, psychology, social work, teaching or just want to make a difference, we have a career path for you. Help change lives at Abraxas Youth and Family Services.



The art therapist is responsible for evaluating, planning, and implementing individualized treatment programs for both individuals and small groups of students according to the principles and practices of art therapy.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities include the following.

  • Plans, organizes, and develops an ongoing art therapy program designed to meet the individually assessed special needs of students ages 12 – 21 and the goals of the school.
  • Establishes criteria for referral to art therapy.
  • Administers art therapy assessments to referred students to determine eligibility for service.
  • Attends staff meetings and conferences
  • Assumes team leadership responsibilities in the absence of an appropriate supervisor as directed.
  • Adheres to departmental policies and procedures to ensure regulatory compliance with current departmental practices.
  • Participates in IEP meetings regarding students’ behavior and progress.
  • Reports significant changes in the behavior, attitude, or physical condition of students to team members, supervisors and parents as necessary.
  • Provides for physical safety and care of students while under supervision.                 
  • Provides leadership and serves as a role model to students in the performance of therapeutic activities.
  • Performs administrative tasks such as maintaining records, materials, and equipment; requisitioning supplies; and organizing the art therapy room.
  • Conducts in-service presentations and otherwise participates in staff development activities for school personnel.
  • Communicates progress and results of art therapy services to educational staff, related service providers, parents, and when appropriate and approved, to other professionals treating the student.
  • Continues to maintain and develop own professional competency.
  • Supervises art therapy interns (if applicable) and engages in individual or collaborative research as indicated.
  • Assists in other departmental activities and duties as required.
  • Provides relevant information to the treatment team as it pertains to transitioning students to next appropriate educational setting            
  • Participates in ongoing staff meetings with interdisciplinary treatment team, collaborating with significant participants involved in case management.
  • Evaluates and documents effectiveness of treatment plan for student, citing strategies and techniques used in striving toward specified objectives in a narrative report, at least on an annual basis.
  • Incorporates the student’s art therapy goals and objectives in the individualized education/treatment plan (IEP) if the student is in exceptional student education.
  • Implements treatment plan by providing individual and/or group services for the student.
  • Re-assesses student at appropriate intervals, changing treatment plan or IEP as indicated.
  • Documents results of the assessment in a narrative report, including recommendations for treatment and individualized goals and objectives.
  • Develops individualized goals and objectives for each referred student, based upon information concerning the student’s emotional, perceptual, cognitive, physical, and social level of functioning gleaned from the art therapy assessment procedure and from the student’s case history.
  • Comply with GEO Group policies and work rules as described in the company Employee Handbook, Seven Key Principles of care, the Facility Policies and Procedure Manual, including directives of GEO Group managers and supervisors in a cooperative spirit to ensure conformance to company standards
  • Performs other duties as required.

Supervisory Responsibilities  

  •   The position may have supervisory responsibilities.


Job Requirements



  • To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Education and/or Experience

  • Master’s Degree in Art Therapy AND Professional Credentials (ATR or ATR-BC) awarded by the Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB) required.
  •  Experience in an Alternative School setting or hospital setting would be accepted. 

Computer Skills 

  • Word processing, basic computer programs and email                                 

Required Competencies

  • Administer art therapy assessments of referred students for eligibility.
  • Use of formal art therapy procedures to assess student’s eligibility for art therapy services, including the assessment of the student’s cognitive, social/emotional, and physical levels of functioning.
  • Assess student’s difficulties and strengths.
  • Document assessment results within the appropriate time frame.
  • Prepare and develop an annual individualized treatment plan for eligible students.
  • Include art therapy goals and short-term objectives.
  • Develop appropriate and suitable activities for achieving the goal, and guide the student in participating in the individualized program.
  • Document progress, ongoing recommendations, and goals and objectives.
  • Implement treatment plan.
  • Schedule art therapy sessions for individuals and/or groups of students as specified in the plan.
  • Structure the art therapy milieu for effective treatment.
  • Provide art therapy treatment program according to the goals and objectives outlined in the plan.
  • Engage in effective documentation.
  • Acquire and preserve written permission from parents or legal guardian(s) for art therapy services.

b. Maintain documentation of student’s attendance.

  • Maintain documentation of art therapy sessions including process and content of artwork, verbalizations, and behavior.
  • Submit narrative reports on monthly, quarterly, and/or annual basis as assigned.
  • Maintain student’s artwork in manner to insure confidentiality.
  • Submit written assessment results, treatment plans, progress notes, and narrative reports according to school standards.
  • Engage in effective oral communication.
  • Participate in interdisciplinary staff meetings.
  • Consult with classroom teacher, staff psychologists, and other related service providers regarding case management.
  • Consult with student’s parents or legal guardian(s).
  • Participate in special education IEP conferences and/or other related student review meetings.
  • Develop art therapy program.
  • Identify target student populations.
  • Establish and maintain art therapy program objectives and protocol.
  • Re-evaluate and re-assess effectiveness of program on a periodic basis.
  • Render appropriate adjustments based on outcomes of evaluation.
  • Represent the art therapy program at professional meetings and conferences.
  • Clarify the theory and practice of art therapy to administration, faculty, related service providers, parents, and students.
  • Present theoretical and practical aspects of art therapy to outside professional and play groups.
  • Identify needed resources, such as equipment (paper cutter, easels, etc.), materials (paints, crayons, paper, etc.), space (private art therapy room), time (for charting, other documentation, and consulting), in-service training, workshops and presentations, team planning and coordination, interdisciplinary consultation, administrative support.
  • Adhere to and maintain high standards for safety within the facility.
  • Participate in all fire drills as specified in school/program manual.
  • Report accidents as specified in school/program manual.
  • Demonstrate proper purchase, use, handling, and maintenance of art therapy supplies and equipment to insure cost effectiveness of program appropriate purchase of supplies and equipment that conform to  standards of safety established by school and art therapy program.
  • Proper storage, maintenance, and handling of toxic, flammable, and otherwise dangerous art supplies.
  • Proper handling and maintenance of art equipment such as scissors, kiln, etc.
  • Report defective supplies and equipment and remove such items from circulation for repair or disposal.

8. Promote a professional atmosphere and maintain a professional demeanor.

  • Recognize and adhere to student’s rights and entitlements. Respect student’s right to confidentiality.
  • Maintain art therapy credentials with the ATCB.
  • Promote and engage in continuing educational endeavors.
  • Favorably represent the art therapy program to the school and the community.
  • Maintain availability to other staff members as a resource person.
  • Promote and engage in professional research endeavors that demonstrate the value of art therapy in schools.

Other Qualifications

  • At least twenty-one (21) years of age
  • Criminal clearances (State Police, Local, FBI, DCFS and National Sex Offender Registry clearances)
  • Non-communicable diseases physical exam
  • Valid driver's license      
  • Successful completion of a pre-employment drug screening
  • Successful completion of orientation training

Physical Demands

  • The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is required to talk or hear. The employee is regularly required to stand, walk, sit, handle or feel objects, tools, or controls and reach with hands and arms. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision and the ability to adjust focus.
  • The employee is occasionally required to reach with hands and arms and use legs to lift/move up to 50 lbs. or more.
  • Ability to participate in and supervise therapeutic recreation activities structured for children and adolescents.
  • May be required to intervene with and/or physically manage aggressive clients as trained by the Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI).

Work Environment

  • The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
  • The staff must work both alone and closely with others and may be subject to verbal and/or physical confrontation initiated by the students.
  • While performing the duties of the job, the staff is occasionally exposed to outside weather.