In South Africa the arts therapy profession consists of four modalities: art, dance movement, drama and music therapy. These modalities refer to the therapeutic use of the mediums of art, dance movement, drama and music to promote mental health in the individual and in their ability to relate to others within multicultural and diverse social contexts. The aim of arts therapy is the intentional and systematic use of the arts to address the therapeutic goals of symptom relief, the development and integration of emotional, cognitive, psychosocial and physical functioning and personal growth.

Arts therapy embraces diverse theoretical and practical approaches, which are informed by psychological theory and practice and rooted in the conceptual and methodological practice of the arts medium. Theory and method are intrinsically interrelated in the clinical observation, planning, practice, explanation and assessment of arts therapy.