Article from Reason by Eric Boehm.

Based on a study that cites such potential dangers as the “sharp edges” on scissors and “toxic chemicals” in glue, state lawmakers in Virginia are on their way to approving a new licensing law to cover art therapists.

The Virginia state Senate voted unanimously this week to approve the legislation, sending the bill to the state Assembly for further consideration. The bill would create a new license for art therapists, but it is largely silent on the requirements for obtaining such a license. Instead, the legislature intends to offload those details to a newly created board—a board that will be staffed primarily by practicing art therapists.

That’s a common practice when it comes to licensing laws. It’s also one of the primary reasons why occupational licensing limits job opportunities. Boards that are controlled by members of the industry they are supposed to regulate frequently become anti-competitive cartels more interested in limiting who can do certain types of work. The most egregious example is probably Louisiana’s ridiculous florist licensing board.

Art therapy is no more dangerous than arranging flowers. It’s a growing practice—one that is, sadly, already licensed in some form by 12 other states—that incorporates psychotherapy with artistic media, usually by having patients express themselves through art. Practitioners say it can help individuals cope with stress and keep mental disorders under control.

Read the entire article at Reason.

Image Credit: Craig from Richmond, Virginia`, United States [CC BY (]