Art Therapy Promotes Overall Growth for Individuals Diagnosed with Intellectual and Development Disabilities

Art therapy combines the cathartic characteristics of art making within the safety of the therapeutic relationship when working with children, adults, and families affected by Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

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What is Art Therapy?

According to the American Art Therapy Association, “art therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.” Various art media is used and is carefully implemented by the art therapist, depending on the clients’ needs.

Art therapy is facilitated by trained art therapists, who have Masters-level training and thousands of hours of internship experience. Art therapists work with a wide variety of client populations, including those experiencing grief and loss, individuals diagnosed with mental health diagnoses, war veterans, patients living with challenging medical illnesses, etc.

Here at Lakemary, art therapy is facilitated by two Registered Art Therapists across clinical settings, including the Lakemary School, Children’s Program, Outpatient Therapy Program, and Adult Services. Art therapy is facilitated in individual, group, and family therapy sessions and is built into the children’s school day.

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How does Art Therapy help those served by Lakemary?

Art therapy helps promote various goals related to clinical treatment and daily functioning within the Lakemary population. In general terms, art therapy provides a safe, non-threatening way for clients to explore emotions, relieve stress, master new skills, build self-esteem, foster independence, cultivate new relationships, cope with stressors, and communicate in a way that may feel more accessible and less threatening than verbal communication. Art therapists provide the support, acceptance, and psychotherapeutic framework to help clients process and utilize the art media in a safe way.

If you are interested in learning more about art therapy, please visit the American Art Therapy Association’s website at or ask your care provider for more information.

Written By: Keslie Humburg, LPC, ATR, AS.