Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Vivien Marcow Speiser


Couples with intellectual and developmental disability (ID/DD) diagnoses often seek or are in partnerships, but there are, at present, few treatment modalities for working with such individuals. This population faces unique barriers to creating and maintaining partnerships, such as pervasive stigmatization in caretaking systems which they rely on for support, neurological differences, and an increased risk for intimate partner violence (IPV). Art therapy has the potential to be a supportive modality for this population as it moves creative expression beyond words and supports agency and choice. It can create a context in which conflict can be externalized and understood, exploration of creative solutions can flourish, and intimacy can grow. Moreover, arts-based interventions can support neurological integration, IPV prevention, and the building of skills needed for social connection, such as boundary setting, stress reduction, and emotional regulation. For individuals with ID/DD, partnership is a part of identity that is often denied, or rebuffed, due to diagnosis but is invariably a part of their lives. As such, there is a great need to explore and establish supportive modalities to aid in their quest to love and be loved.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.




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