~Photography as Therapy~
~Photography for Personal Growth and Mindfulness~
~Finding Hope and Peace through Photography (FHAPPTM applied for)
What is Therapeutic Photography
Therapeutic photography is a method in which photography is embraced as a tool for mindfulness, meditation, gaining insight, self-discovery, transformation and/or healing. The process of making photographs serves as therapy, with or without a mental health therapist involved. Therapeutic photography programs involve creating photographs and talking about them.
Therapeutic photography helps individuals explore photography as a vehicle for seeing and connecting with the world around them, and with themselves.
When individuals stop to photograph something, or someone, they stop to truly see it. Once a subject is truly seen, a more intimate, meaningful relationship to the subject can be attained. Through the process of truly seeing a subject, creativity is unleashed and there can be an increase in appreciation of life, a better understanding of self, and an enhanced ability for self-expression.
No matter how photography is practiced, it creates opportunities to experience a place where different realities intersect; individuals become aware of new perspectives, both on the world, and themselves. Photography can help people explore life, learn, grown, heal and get more joy out of life. When making photographs, we co-create the image with the subject. Cartier-Bresson and others have described this as falling into a moment of oneness.
Achieving a sense of oneness with self and/or the world can help people enter a phase of mindfulness that helps them achieve a sense of joy and contentment. When people are struggling to overcome life events such as significant loss, dealing with anxiety, depression, or other emotional or mental challenges mindfulness work can help to ease the pain and help people find their way back to peace and stability.
Photographs are specific moments frozen in time and contain multiple layers of meaning. We may see what is in the frame for exactly what it is, but composition, color, and tones of black and white offer a wealth of metaphorical meanings and associations. Developing skills and passion for photography is one path on the destination to mindfulness.
The Practice of Therapeutic Photography
Individuals draw different benefits from therapeutic photography. It is not a one size fits all program. Therapeutic photography can be practiced individually and in groups. An integral part of therapeutic photography is sharing with others, for example, with group workshop participants, family, friends, or in a public exhibit. Sharing photography work with an audience offers an opportunity for individuals to take pride in, and ownership of, their work. Sharing work builds confidence, helps individuals feel validated, heard and respected.
Photography offers naturally therapeutic healing properties. The key to therapeutic photography is having a balance of photographic instruction, creating pictures, and reviewing and discussing photography work.
Photography as therapy emphasizes well-being versus illness or struggle. Photo Voice, a U.K. based organization, uses photography as a tool for change and empowerment for disadvantaged or marginalized communities. Photo Voice has observed central therapeutic benefits of therapeutic photography workshops to include; peer support, socializing and learning new skills.
It is important to note that therapeutic photography is not within a formal counseling process like Photo Therapy. Therapeutic photography programs are facilitated by photographic and community practitioners rather than mental health professionals.
Summary of Potential Benefits of Therapeutic Photography
- Reduction in social exclusion
- Increased self-knowledge
- Increased self-awareness
- Improved well-being
- Improved relationships
- Influencing positive change
- Social healing
- Reduction in conflict
- Building self-confidence
- Improving belief in self
At the end of the day, if I can believe I have helped someone feel, even a glimmer of hope, peace, and joy within themselves I will feel successful and happy. At Robyn Graham Photography, LLC we call our therapeutic photography program “FHAPP” ~ Finding Hope and Peace through Photography. We support all individuals in the program by giving them a kind, gentle, positive environment to learn photography, to share their photography and work towards a sense of inner peace through their own creative intentions and feed back from peers in the program, and others. The studio space offers a beautiful, peaceful, inspiring environment for learning, creating and sharing. The studio is also a space for exhibits, through which program participants will be able to share their work with their family and friends and with the general public.
To enroll in FHAPP, please visit the Robyn Graham Photography, LLC website. Programs will begin the fall of 2016. We will offer programs during the week initially, and will add sessions as demand rises.
The cost for individual/private participation is $600 for 8 1 to 1.5 hour sessions or pay as you go or $75/hour.
The cost of group participation is $360 for 8 1.5-hour sessions. Space is limited to 6 participants.
Groups programs are open for ages 12 years to adult.
Individual/private sessions are available for younger children, teens and adults.
For more information and to register, please visit FHAPP page on my website.
Robyn’s original degree was a doctorate in pharmacy through which she studied mental health. In addition, she is well read in the are of anxiety which she has had first hand experience with one of her children who suffered from moderate to severe anxiety. In addition, Robyn was adjunct faculty at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, has taught CCD, and multiple teen and adult photography classes. Robyn has all clearances through the state of Pennsylvania to work with ,and teach children.
- Therapeutic Photography: Judy Weiser
- The Preconscious Eye
- Institute of Mental Health
- Best Thinking Arts and Entertainment
- Through a Different Lens
Robyn! This is wonderful! Really proud of you for this endeavor!
Thank you so much, Lori! That means so much to me. I am so sorry I missed you last time you were home. I sure hope to connect during your next visit. The studio still awaits your introduction. 😉
Robyn, this is wonderful FHAPP gets my vote! Fourteen years ago, my dad’s Alzheimer’s was still at the point when we could take him to events without him becoming too upset. He went with us to Trevor and Molly’s wedding (our daughter/his granddaughter). He was jittery and afraid during the ceremony. At the reception my husband Jim gave my dad his own disposable camera and asked him to help take pictures. It made all the difference, Robyn. He took a lot of pictures that had his thumb on the lens, etc., but he had a wonderful time. 🙂
That is a wonderful story, Marylin! Thank you so much for sharing it. XO
Well, Robyn, this is fantastic. I do hope it catches on and if you need a testimonial, I can certainly give one concerning the therapeutic effects of photography. I won’t go into the details of my own travels but what a road to get to where I am today. Of course, I can’t ignore the help of my wife, but she pushed me into it and is my greatest support. 🙂
Emilio, Thank you so much for taking time to support me in this endeavor. I am so thankful your wife pushed into photography because you are an inspiration! I appreciate the fact that you were candid in offering your own testimonial about how photography helped you. Even without the details, the fact that it helped you might just be enough to encourage someone else to try it. I am really looking forward to the program and hoping it helps many!
Excellent venture, Robyn. The power of photography can be immeasurable.
So very true, Mike! Thank you for taking time to comment and support me. 😊
Love the concept. I live by the truths you wrote about. For me photography has helped me heal and cope with my anxiety disorder. I actually just wrote a post about photography and emotions. I’m happy to see there are others out there like me.
Jake, I am happy to know photography has helped you. I truly believe it to be a unique healing tool, a way to find oneself and joy at the same
Time. Thank you for taking time to tell me! Have a great day!
Thank you, and you too!
Robyn, what a wonderful venture. Best of success to you, and to those who benefit from FHAPP