Therapeutic Photography & Phototherapy

⇐ the method

Movingherselfimage © 2022 Manuela Luise

Like photography, therapy allows us to:

-choose what tool to use (as a given camera, lens, lights, film or memory card influence the possibilities of photographic realisation, in the same way by choosing the specialist with whom you start a therapy, you opt for a certain interaction, a theoretical position, a method, a timing and a space that will influence the possibilities of the therapeutic path)

-observe (a situation, a problem, a relationship, a dynamic, ourselves, others…)

-taking and changing perspectives (the current self, the past self, a specific role, the other’s perspective…)

-focus (on an aspect of the problem, on a side of the personality, on a need/an emotion/a role we play in life…)

-develop (a part of self, a relationship, emotionality, control, acceptance, communication and interpersonal skills…)

“Phototherapy is not a therapy unto itself or a particular modality or school of thought: rather, it is a comprehensive system of techniques that has been found to work successfully, often in cases where nothing else has.” (J. Weiser)

In the extensive website Phototherapy-centre.com, Judy Weiser defines: Phototherapy  as the use of photography in a therapeutic context;  Therapeutic Photography as the use of photographs as tools for self exploration and self-discovery.

However these definitions, though widely accepted, are not written in stone.

In my work I use the therm Therapeutic Photography to refer to the creation of new photographic images with the client within a therapy.

With Phototherapy I intend the use and manipulation of existing photographic images (e.g collages; projective cards, family album) during a dialog based session.


🔎 Infos on the benefits of therapy

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*Possible applications:

-ANXIETY & STRESS
Often, while taking photos, one can find oneself in ‘flow’, which brings many health benefits similar to those of meditation, such as calming the mind and providing stress relief.

-SELF-EXPLORATION
With phototherapy, a person can explore different parts of their personality and bring to the surface those that are not visible in everyday life.

-SELF-ACCEPTANCE & SELF-ESTEEM
Neuroplasticity tells us that our brain has the ability to constantly change throughout life and develop new connections. By creating self-images, one can work on self-acceptance and build self-esteem.

-TRAUMA PROCESSING
Images can help people express experiences that are too difficult to put into words, such as a diagnosis or trauma. Furthermore a 2014 study found that those who participated in creating visual art had a significant increase in psychological resilience.

-PROCESSING CHANGES
A person’s perspective on themselves and the world can be gradually explored and changed through the process of taking pictures, analysing them and discussing them with others.

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The mix feelings, memories and open issues connected to experiencing migration can be elaborated within a Therapeutic Photography session.

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Copyrighted Image © 2022 Manuela Luise