It is the mission of the Toronto Art Therapy Institute to offer a supportive learning environment for graduate level training in art therapy, to offer art therapy services and mental health support in diverse communities through student practicum, and to support individual and collective healing and growth through therapeutic uses of arts making.
TATI was established in 1968 by Dr. Martin Fischer, one of the first practitioners of the Euro-American profession of art therapy. He first used art therapy in his work at an Ontario hospital in 1947. He actively promoted its development as a form of therapy until he died in 1992. Dr. Fischer established TATI as the first art therapy training program in Canada. He was also instrumental in the founding of the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute and the Phoenix Art Therapy Institute. Dr. Fischer gave lectures and taught at universities in Canada and the United States, as well as offering workshops internationally. During his lifetime, he was internationally recognized for his contribution in the fields of residential treatment for children and adolescents, group therapy in Ontario, and the development of art therapy as a profession. He was also the first president of the Canadian Art Therapy Association.
The Institute was established as a non-profit organization with three goals:
- Training for individuals who wish to become art therapists.
- Developing support programs in schools for children and adolescents.
- Offering art therapy services to interested individuals.
Gilda Grossman carried on Dr. Fischer’s legacy as TATI’s director until 2006. She established the Gild Grossman Award for Major Project to recognize students’ contributions in the growth of art therapy research and practice.
The current program structure at TATI was founded by Dr. Helene Burt in 2007. Dr. Burt embraced and incorporated feminist, postmodern, and diverse approaches to art therapy in her teaching and curriculum development. She also established the distance learning program in 2015 to make art therapy training accessible to students living outside of Toronto. The staff, supervisors, and instructors at TATI strive to carry forward Dr. Burt’s dedication in offering quality art therapy education and inclusive mental health and care services in the community through continual learning and development of the TATI program.