Photo Therapy: What is it and why is it important?
Updated: 6 days ago
Have you ever created something and taken a picture of it? Have you ever taken an image of yourself? Have you had someone take your picture? These are three ways in which photography can have a positive influence on people… photo therapy.
Tulane University performed the first formal study in 1975 at Tulane University with a group of children. Design Aglow states this in regards to the study:
“A revealing study was conducted in 1975 with a group of fourth graders at a Tennessee school by Tulane University. During a five-week period, the children took Polaroid instant photos of themselves with provided cameras in a variety of assigned poses, compositions and expressing various emotions. The children worked with the printed images of themselves and created scrapbooks once a week over those five weeks. Testing of the students and teachers at the conclusion of study revealed a significant increase of 37 percent in the students’ average self-esteem behaviors. This Murfreesboro Study shows some evidence personal photography of children seen and enjoyed in a specific way can help boost a child’s self-esteem (Cummins).”
Weiser has discovered five techniques of photo therapy: taking self-portraits, taking images of projects or pieces of art one has created, working with family albums, photographs collected by a client and photos of clients taken by someone else.
In her book, PhotoTherapy Techniques, Exploring the Secrets of Personal Snapshots and Family Albums, Judy Weiser states, “How we think we are seen is usually very different from how others see us (p.189)” (Natoli). When a photographer takes an image of someone, the goal should be not to take an image of just their face or what they look like, but the person within. And I truly believe when that has been accomplished, people really see themselves, sometimes from a perspective that surprises them.
As a parent I find this to be so true. Have you ever put up a new portrait of your child and just watched them glow when looking at it, admiring it. I find this happens with my own children and so often of client's children as well. Often I have received pics of the kiddos pointing to themselves and siblings- excited to name off each family member! I can't wait for this to happen in your home!
Cummins, Chris. “How Family Portraits Boost Your Child's Self-Esteem.” Design Aglow, https://designaglow.com/blogs/design-aglow/17493452-how-family-portraits-boost-your-child-s-self-esteem.
Natoli, Adam. “The Psychologically Beneficial Aspects of Photography.” Truecenterpublishing.com, Dr. John Suler (Advisor), 2011, https://truecenterpublishing.com/photopsy/psy%20benefits%20of%20photo.pdf.
Weiser, J. (1999). PhotoTherapy techniques: exploring the secrets of personal snapshots and family albums (2nd ed.). Vancouver: PhotoTherapy Centre.
Weiser, Judy. “Phototherapy & Therapeutic Photography Techniques.” PhotoTherapy & Therapeutic Photography Techniques, https://phototherapy-centre.com/.