PhotoTherapy Techniques. Exploring the Secrets of Personal Snapshots and Family Albums

Album familiar
Album familiar

PhotoTherapy Techniques: Exploring the Secrets of Personal Snapshots and Family Albums is the most comprehensive introduction to the field of PhotoTherapy available (and is also a great alternative to taking an introductory training workshop!).

Written by psychologist, art therapist, consultant, instructor, trainer, and PhotoTherapy pioneer Judy Weiser, this book explains and demonstrates each of the major techniques, and provides theoretical rationale from both psychology and art therapy contexts. It also includes many photo-illustrated client examples, case transcripts, and practical experiential “starter” exercises so that readers can immediately begin using these techniques in their own practice.

… about the “why” of your photographs and the feelings and stories they create…

“Photographs are footprints of our minds, mirrors of our lives, reflections from our hearts, frozen memories that we can hold in silent stillness in our hands — forever if we wish. They document not only where we have been, but also point the way to where we might perhaps be heading, whether or not we realize this yet ourselves…”  — Judy Weiser, R.Psych., A.T.R, Founder/Director of the PhotoTherapy Centre

The Secret Lives of Personal Snapshots and Family Photographs. Every snapshot a person takes or keeps is also a type of self-portrait, a kind of “mirror with memory” reflecting back those moments and people that were special enough to be frozen in time forever. Collectively, these photos make visible the ongoing stories of that person’s life, serving as visual footprints marking where they have been (emotionally, as well as physically) and also perhaps signaling where they might next be heading. Even people’s reactions to postcards, magazine pictures, online images, or snapshots taken by others can provide illuminating clues to their own inner life and its secrets. The actual meaning of any photograph lies less in its visual facts and more in what these details evoke inside the mind (and heart) of each viewer — including the person who took it or who appears in it. While looking at a snapshot, people actually spontaneously create the meaning that they think is coming from that photo itself, and this may or may not be the meaning that the photographer originally intended to convey. Thus, its meaning (and emotional “message”) is dependent upon who is doing the looking, because people’s perceptions and unique life experiences automatically frame and define what they see as being real. Therefore, people’s reactions to photographs they feel are special can actually reveal a lot about themselves, if only the right kinds of questions are asked.

How Therapists Use Photos to Help People Heal. Most people keep photographs around, without ever pausing to really think about why. But, because personal snapshots permanently record important daily moments (and the associated emotions unconsciously embedded within these), they can serve as natural bridges for accessing, exploring, and communicating about feelings and memories (including deeply-buried or long-forgotten ones), along with any psychotherapeutic issues these bring to light. Therapists find that their clients’ photos frequently serve as tangible symbolic self-constructs and metaphoric transitional objects that silently offer inner “in-sight” in ways that words alone cannot as fully represent or deconstruct.

Under the guidance of a therapist who has been trained in PhotoTherapy techniques, clients explore what their own personally meaningful snapshots and family albums are about emotionally, in addition to what they are of visually. Such information is latent in all personal photos, but when it can be used to focus and precipitate therapeutic dialogue, a more direct and less censored connection with the unconscious will usually result.

During PhotoTherapy sessions, photos are not just passively reflected upon in silent contemplation, but also actively created, posed for, talked with, listened to, reconstructed, revised to form or illustrate new narratives, collected on assignment, re-visualized in memory or imagination, integrated into art therapy creative expressions, or even set into animated dialogue with other photos. This allows clients to better reach, understand, and express parts of themselves in ways that were previously not possible.

PhotoTherapy — The Bigger Picture

As explained in the book, PhotoTherapy Techniques — Exploring the Secrets of Personal Snapshots and Family Albums, PhotoTherapy is best viewed as an interrelated system of photo-based counseling techniques used by trained mental health professionals as part of their therapeutic practice while helping clients consciously probe, and subsequently cognitively reintegrate, their photo-precipitated insights in order to better understand and improve their life.

Therefore, it is not the same thing as “Therapeutic Photography” (which is sometimes also confusingly called “Photo-Therapy”, particularly in the U.K.), as those are self-conducted activities done outside any formal counseling context. People use Therapeutic Photography for their own personal self-discovery or artistic statement purposes, whereas therapists use PhotoTherapy to assist other people (their clients) who need help with their problems. While the results of doing photo-based self-exploration (photography-as-therapy; i.e., photography used for personal insight purposes, but with no therapist involved or guiding the process) often ends up being serendipitously “therapeutic” on its own — especially when using the camera as an agent of personal or social change — this is not the same as activating and processing such experiences while under the guidance and care of a trained counseling professional (photography-in-therapy; i.e., using photos and people’s interactions with them, during the therapy process, as an integral part of it).

Since PhotoTherapy is a collection of flexible techniques, rather than fixed directives based upon only one specific theoretical modality or therapeutic paradigm, it can be used by any kind of trained counselor or therapist, regardless of their conceptual orientation or preferred professional approach. This is one of the many ways that PhotoTherapy is both similar to, yet distinct from, Art Therapy — as well as the reason it can be used so successfully by a variety of other mental health professionals who are not trained in Art Therapy specifically. (Those who do have special additional training in Art Therapy, use a sub-set of PhotoTherapy techniques called “Photo Art Therapy).

The specific definitions for PhotoTherapy, Therapeutic Photography, and Photo Art Therapy are shown on the “Entry page” of this website; however these are repeated below for readers who did not enter this site from that first page:

PhotoTherapy techniques  are therapy practices that use people’s personal snapshots, family albums, and pictures taken by others (and the feelings, thoughts, memories, and associations these photos evoke) as catalysts to deepen insight and enhance communication during their therapy or counseling  sessions (conducted by trained mental health professionals), in ways not possible using words alone.

(Photo Art Therapy techniques are art therapy practices based on a specialized adaptation of PhotoTherapy techniques that are used only by those with postgraduate training in Art Therapy, who actively use photos as one of their art media of choice)

Therapeutic Photography techniques are photographic practices done by people themselves (or their helpers) in situations where the skills of a trained therapist or counselor are not needed — for example, where photos are used to increase people’s own self-knowledge and awareness, improve family and other relationships, activate positive social change, lessen social exclusion, assist rehabilitation, strengthen communities, deepen intercultural relations, reduce conflict, bring attention to issues of social injustice, sharpen visual literacy skills, enhance education, promote well-being, expand qualitative research and prevention methodologies, and produce other kinds of photo-based personal/emotional healing and learning.

Since PhotoTherapy is about photography-as-communication, rather than photography-as-art, NO prior experience with cameras or the photographic arts is necessary for effective therapeutic application!

And finally, since PhotoTherapy involves people interacting with their own unique visual constructions of reality (using photography more as an activating verb than as a passive/reflective noun), these techniques can be particularly successful with people for whom verbal communication is physically, mentally, or emotionally limited, socio-culturally marginalized, or situationally-inappropriate due to misunderstanding of nonverbal cues.

Therefore PhotoTherapy can be especially helpful, and usually very empowering, in applications with multicultural, disabled, minority-gender, special-needs, and other similarly-complex or marginalized populations — as well as beneficial in diversity training, conflict resolution, divorce mediation, and other related fields.

As the general public becomes increasingly comfortable with using electronic technology and digital imagery, more exciting possibilities continue to emerge for using photos as counseling tools with clients who have scanners, digital cameras, photo-manipulation software, family websites, and/or those who are able to participate in online cyber-therapy.

Extraido de: (fecha de consulta: 05/12/12)


kdm;) web serie

kdm;) tv CAPÍTULO 1

kdm;) tv, Cuenta las aventuras de un grupo de adolescentes que intentan montar su propio canal de televisión por internet. En este primer capítulo podrás conocer a los personajes que le dan vida. La interculturalidad está presente. Ellos quieren tener su propio canal, ¿lo conseguirán?.


Arte e integración social

Publicación de Uruguay sobre el arte como instrumento de integración social.

“El laberinto autista”. Documentos TV


Enlace al documental:


Cuando se dice de una persona que padece autismo, lo habitual es que se asocie con alguien que vive en su mundo, del que no quiere o no sabe salir. También se utiliza con ligereza el término ‘estar autista’ referido a quien parece estar ausente. Pero la complejidad de los trastornos del espectro autista, del autismo, es difícil de imaginar hasta que se hace un acercamiento profundo al tema.   Las mil caras del autismo   Lo más sorprendente en un primer momento es comprobar el amplio y variado abanico de perfiles que están incluidos en ese trastorno. Los especialistas hablan de las mil caras del autismo porque entre ellas se encuentran, desde casos con una gran discapacidad, entre el 20 y el 30 por 100 de los afectados no llegan a desarrollar el lenguaje, hasta personas con altas capacidades y unos cocientes intelectuales extraordinarios.

En cualquiera de los casos, independientemente del desarrollo del lenguaje y de las capacidades intelectuales, para llegar a un diagnóstico de autismo se tienen que dar comportamientos autistas, es decir alteración en la sociabilidad, en la comunicación, tanto verbal como no verbal, y la existencia de intereses restringidos.   En ‘El laberinto autista’ se hace perfectamente visible esa variabilidad. Adrián no habla y su familia tiene que utilizar pictogramas para informarle y para intentar saber lo que quiere en cada momento. Su primo Sergio, va a un colegio ordinario y, con apoyos, aprueba el curso. Virginia tiene una discapacidad grave y es totalmente dependiente, mientras que Jorge, de su edad y compañero de residencia, puede salir acompañado a trabajar en una cafetería.   Síndrome de Asperger   El síndrome de Asperger es un trastorno autista en el que no existen problemas intelectuales, cognitivos o de lenguaje tempranos. Se puede decir que las personas con autismo no tienen inclinaciones sociales y sin embargo, las que padecen síndrome de Asperger sí, aunque sufren dificultades para relacionarse socialmente.   El diagnóstico sigue los mismos principios de los trastornos del espectro autista: las dificultades sociales, el no comprender el lenguaje complejo, la ironía, la utilización de los dobles sentidos, las situaciones sociales o la corriente emocional o social que está sucediendo en un determinado momento. Se calcula que el síndrome de Asperger es menos de la cuarta de los trastornos del espectro autista.

Para Alberto es más fácil entender cómo funciona una central nuclear que a los niños de su edad   En el documental sorprenden las reflexiones de dos hermanos, de 19 y 11 años con síndrome de Asperger. Cristina, la mayor, estudia Administración de Empresas en la Universidad de Oviedo. Tiene altas capacidades intelectuales, pero es incapaz de ir sola a la facultad, le cuesta superar sus crisis de ansiedad y no soporta el contacto físico. Alberto, tiene un cociente intelectual todavía más alto que su hermana, pero no entiende lo que le dicen sus compañeros. Para él es más fácil entender cómo funciona una central nuclear que a los niños de su edad.   La importancia de un diagnóstico precoz   Otra cuestión sorprendente es el espectacular aumento en la prevalencia del autismo entre la población general. Se calcula que el 1% es diagnosticado de este trastorno. Las razones que dan los especialistas son: que cada vez se hace una detección mejor y más temprana, que se realiza una búsqueda más activa de estos casos y que ahora se tiende a hacer un diagnóstico de autismo en casos que antes se consideraban de discapacidad intelectual.

Cada persona con autismo sufre unos problemas y unas limitaciones diferentes   Después de permanecer durante semanas rodeada de personas con autismo, de sus familias, de los profesionales que los cuidan, que los diagnostican y que los estudian, hay dos conclusiones claras: que no se puede hablar de ‘autistas’ porque no existe un patrón, sino que cada persona con autismo sufre unos problemas y unas limitaciones diferentes que, además, van cambiando a lo largo de su vida; y que la detección temprana es fundamental, porque hemos podido comprobar cómo mejoran los comportamientos y la calidad de vida de los niños que reciben un diagnóstico precoz y una pronta intervención.

Per amor a l’Art. Cinema i pintura. Cicle de cinema


Data:Del 23 d’octubre al 4 de juny de 2013
29 pel·lícules que posen el focus en el món de l’art, des de prismes molt diferents. Per amor a l’art: cinema i pintura és el fruit de la col·laboració entre la Filmoteca i el Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, un treball conjunt, inèdit fins ara, que respon a l’obertura a nous públics i noves disciplines per part de les dues institucions.

Amb un ampli ventall temàtic i cronològic —de 1932 a 2011—, al programa trobareu films d’alguns dels grans directors de la història del cinema, pel·lícules per reflexionar sobre el sentit de l’obra d’art o sobre el procés creatiu, i d’altres que us submergiran en les vides d’artistes universals. Totes les projeccions comptaran amb una presentació a càrrec d’un especialista en cinema, art o de l’àmbit acadèmic.

Descarregueu-vos el programa aquí: PROGRAMA.A4


Sessions al MNAC (3): Sala de la Cúpula, a les 19 h
Entrada gratuïta

Sessions a la Filmoteca (26): Sala Chomón, a les 17 h
Entrada individual: 4 €; reduïda*: 2 €
Abonaments: Anual (carnet personal): 90 €; 20 sessions (no nominal): 40 €

Tarifes vàlides fins al 31.12.2012

*Amics del MNAC, estudiants, aturats, jubilats, persones amb discapacitat legalment reconeguda, títols de família nombrosa o monoparental, Carnet Jove i carnet de la Xarxa de Biblioteques Públiques

Pel·lícules en VOS

Aforament limitat

Programa subjecte a canvis de darrera hora


escuela republica
escuela republica

Víedo  resumen sobre la “escola nova” en Manresa, durante la República, que defendía que el alumno tenís que ser el centro de la educación y que ésta, la educación, era la mejor herramienta para la transformación social. El franquismo acabó con ella. Recoge tamíén información sobre los expedientes de regulación del franquismo contra los maestros.

Es sin duda una joya histórica.

Is art therapy the answer for dementia?

arteterapia y demencia
arteterapia y demencia

DEDHAM — Carla shook a tambourine, while Dorothy played the xylophone and Leni tapped her palms gently on an African drum. Vivian declined an instrument, but shimmied her shoulders when the music moved her.Their walkers stood ready and their voices were wispy with age, but the eight group members sang with purpose, remembering every word of the Doris Day classic without prompting.

“We were sailing along, on Moonlight Bay. We could hear the voices ringing . . .,” they sang.

When they had finished “love’s old sweet song” and given themselves a round of applause, Clara proclaimed the group “ready for Symphony Hall.”

This music class at Hebrew Senior Life’s NewBridge on the Charles campus is what today’s cutting-edge Alzheimer’s treatment looks like.

Medications can’t stop the disease’s inexorable damage to the mind, and stress and agitation often remain challenging despite drug treatment. But a growing number of Alzheimer’s institutions and caregivers are realizing that a musical walk down memory lane — a dance class, storytelling session, art project, or museum tour — can do more than offer pleasant diversions. They can improve a number of disease symptoms as well as quality of life.

ESSDRAS M SUAREZ/GLOBE STAFF   In the music class at NewBridge on the Charles, Dorothy plays percussion and therapist Sally Harrison plays the flute.   At a recent conference titled Artz and Dementia, some 150 Boston-area health professionals gathered at NewBridge on the Charles to learn how to provide the most benefit for people who are losing mental abilities.

The basic idea is to use art to engage and connect with people with dementia, said John Zeisel , president and cofounder of Hearthstone Alzheimer Care. No matter how many memories they’ve lost, an essential piece of who they always were still remains, said Zeisel, author of “I’m Still Here,” a 2009 book that focuses on this approach.

“It’s a human rights issue that everybody needs to be able to have a life,” Zeisel told conference attendees. “What is a life without creativity and art and discovery and learning?”

Even people who were not artistic or music lovers in their youth can be inspired by the sound of a song they heard on their first date, or by a painting that evokes an emotion, the speakers said.

For one woman, listening to Frank Sinatra brought her back to the happy summers of her teens when she would fall asleep by the radio, Marian Brown, associate director of Artz: Artists for Alzheimer’s, told the crowd.   “For her, it was very clearly something that triggered a deep-rooted memory,” Brown said. Recent memories and thinking ability may decline with Alzheimer’s, but long-term memories are still there, as are emotions.

“We don’t lose the ability to express joy,” added her colleague, Dee Brenner, Artz program coordinator.

The two help organize weekly local museum tours for people with Alzheimer’s, and walked conference audience members through some basic strategies for making such visits successful: Greet people when they arrive, remind them where they are, and make sure the artwork is big enough to be visible to a group.

“How does this make you feel? What do you see?” Brenner asks when leading a tour. She’ll avoid violent or disturbing images — but not sexual ones, which spur conversation, she said.

One of the key benefits of doing or appreciating art, Zeisel said, is that it challenges people who are usually doted on.   “When you are cared for, you lose your sense of who you are,” he said. “Everybody with dementia has a lot going for them. They can experience, they can be present, and they can develop.”   In the six facilities Zeisel’s organization runs in Massachusetts and New York, residents are encouraged to participate in regular artistic activities. They can usually choose between two activities at a time, and can also opt out.

At Hearthstone’s Marlborough residence, some 35 of the home’s 45 residents used to get agitated in the evenings, a common problem in Alzheimer’s known as sundowning. But when music therapist Joshua J. Freitas started playing soothing instrumental music at dinner time — he’s partial to recordings by cellist Yo-Yo Ma — most of the residents relaxed. Now, on a typical day, only eight or 10 need extra help from the staff.

Robert Stern, a professor of neurology and neurosurgery at Boston University, said a growing body of research is confirming the anecdotal evidence that the arts can improve quality of life, reduce stress, and allow the person to better connect to the world. Recent research suggests music can boost recall of personal memories.   “Whether it be fine arts, music, listening to music, going to museums. All those things do not have an impact on the disease per se. What they do most likely is they get through to the person with Alzheimer’s by exploiting the areas of the brain which are least impaired,” said Stern, also the director of BU’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center’s Clinical Core. “Anything that can touch the patient through that network of brain [areas] can have a profound impact.”   Medications such as cholinesterase inhibitors may be able to slow some of the memory loss of Alzheimer’s and allow people to live independently longer. But all of the efforts to develop drugs to reverse memory loss and the behavioral changes of Alzheimer’s have failed so far. Researchers think that’s because the damage of Alzheimer’s begins years, if not decades before symptoms become obvious. They are now testing drugs in people likely to develop the disease, to see if they are more effective.   Instead of just warehousing dementia patients until more effective medications are discovered or patients die, Zeisel said, “Our present challenge is to provide people with a life worth living while they’re alive.”   Dance therapist Donna Newman-Bluestein said one vehicle for a life worth living is dance. As long as people have bodies, they are capable of — and should be given an opportunity for — moving and dancing, she told the attendees at last month’s conference.

People with dementia often lack the initiative to begin movement on their own, so they sit, immobile for hours, Newman-Bluestein said. “If someone else gets them going, they can engage, and they can move a lot more.”

The medical model of treating Alzheimer’s is to focus on what someone isn’t doing and try to fix it, she said. The arts model looks at what they are doing and tries to build on that ability.

“I see joy when they’re moving. I see them transformed by their movement,” she said   Writers and poets also see their art as a way to reach people, regardless of age or prognosis.   “Story and poetry helps connect to the person within,” said Alan O’Hare, a storyteller and playwright who often works with Alzheimer’s patients.

He described one nursing home resident he had largely ignored because she spent most of the day doing nothing but moving her eyes diagonally up and down. He decided to ask her about it. “I’m dancing all day,” she told him. Hearing that “changed my whole relationship with her,” O’Hare said.   David Kaplan of Waltham said he’s seen his wife, Nancy, benefit somewhat from the art classes she gets in the NewBridge memory care unit.

Asked at a recent class to make a collage of things that bring her comfort, Nancy pasted pictures of a kitchen, a wine glass, and a piano.

She didn’t make art as a younger person, according to her husband, but the coloring and collaging keeps her engaged and relatively happy in the class a few hours a week.

“There is, I would say, a calming influence when they’re in there,” said David, who spends six hours a day, four days a week with his wife.

Diana K. Miller, program manager of Nancy’s facility, said anxiety levels would rise without the classes, which give residents a sense of where they’re supposed to be and what they’re supposed to be doing. Art also helps people to continue communicating, even when they are losing their verbal abilities, she said.   “Using music and art and movements that don’t rely on verbal skills allows people to succeed,” she said. “The primary language is emotion with this disease.”

In the music class on the floor below Nancy’s, the group remembered all the words to the Bing Crosby classic “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.” Then they played their instruments for a few minutes, while program coordinator Sally Harrison led them on her flute.

Someone accidentally bumped a switch and the overhead lights went out.

“Should’a paid the bill,” Clara piped up, before most of the others could get anxious about the loss of light.

“You should have been a standup comic,” Harrison told her.   “Yeah, I look in the mirror and I laugh,” Clara shot back.   “I look at your smile and I feel better,” her neighbor, Carla, responded.   Harrison ended the class by making eye contact with each of the participants and sharing a smile.   “So nice to be making music with all of you,” she said.   “Love it,” Clara quickly replied.