Photography Therapy: Utilizing Visual Footprints For Mental Health

 

 

Source: maxpixel.net

 

Considered as footprints of one’s mind, photographs hold that silent stillness which reflects memories that a person holds dear. Nonetheless, snapshots are documentations of people’s lives that may significantly encourage positive ideations leading to a healthier state of mind.

 

Creating Meaning From Imaging

 

“Most people have a loud inner critic which makes their life more stressful.”  David Klow, a licensed therapist said. With that, the substantial context of any photograph prevails less in its visual meaning and more on what the information or details evoke within the heart and mind of the viewer. Reminiscence also includes the one who took the pictures and the people who appear in it.

 

Gazing at an image, people automatically, spontaneously create prolific meanings based on what they see and not necessarily what the photographer initially intended it to be. For this reason, any picture is open to interpretation. Thus, a photograph’s emotional message is entirely dependent upon the person looking because different life encounters and perceptions are instantaneously defined in a framed contextual reality.

 

“We should examine the inextricable role that self-love plays in any and all human connection.” Clinical Psychologist and relationship expert Molly Gasbarrini, Ph.D. explains. Therefore, an individual’s reactions to snapshots are considered unique because it can reveal a great deal about themselves if the right kinds of questions are asked.

 

 

Source: pixabay.com

 

 

How Photo Therapy Is Utilized To Its Full Potential

 

As “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act.” Catherine Cleveland M.S., LMHC-P explains. It depicts why majority of people keep snapshot memorabilia to have something to look back to whenever they feel the need to go down memory lane. For therapists, photographs are frozen bridges for exploring, communicating, and accessing memories and feelings that were embedded unconsciously on that particular moment, along with resurfacing any long-forgotten, deeply-buried issues that can initiate meaningful thoughts and feelings.

 

During photography therapy sessions, individual’s photos are used and shown to serve as tangible and symbolic transitional objects that quietly offer more profound insight in a manner that words alone cannot thoroughly deconstruct or represent.

 

With a trained therapist’s guidance, photography therapy techniques are implemented by allowing clients to explore their family albums and take out images that mean something to them, in addition to what they will visually show. There is potential information ingrained in every photograph, which can be used to precipitate and focus the treatment dialogue, technically a lesser censored and more direct approach to tapping and connecting with the unconscious.

 

Session Expectations

 

Now that one is aware regarding the simplified principles, what can people expect during every photography therapy session?

 

During sessions, images are not only passively shown in silent reverie but are also:

 

  • Created during or after meetings
  • Listened to and talked about
  • Posed for
  • Revised or reconstructed to illustrate or create fresh narratives
  • Re-visualized using imagination or memory
  • Integrated into other treatment modalities

 

Majority of these techniques done with the photographs allow individuals to have a better understanding and reach, and wherein they can comfortably and efficiently express portions of themselves in a manner that were not previously deemed possible.

 

 

Source: pixabay.com

 

 

The Therapist’s Function

 

Take note that the primary role of a therapist in photography therapy is to support and encourage the person’s discoveries and at the same time explore personal images and interact in a healthy, non-intrusive manner.

 

Photography therapy is not about therapists interpreting images for their clients, but it is a treatment modality that gives people the opportunity to explore what the images mean and how these images impact or change their lives.