Understanding Therapeutic Imagery

Image therapy or therapy utilizing an image. Is therapy through image common?

There are different types of coping mechanism that are available out there which resolves mental health issues. There are art and music, as well as talk therapy. With all these diverse methods, one seems to become an underrated process, and that is image therapy.

Words and speech can oftentimes be used as defense mechanisms in portraying our underlying motives, feelings, and thoughts. In my recent discovery of PhotoTherapy (i.e. the use of photographs in therapy), I can attest to the power of imagery, projection, and symbolic representations (oftentimes unconscious) found in photographs. — Sam Louie MA, LMHC

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Image Therapy

Image therapy is therapeutic due to its calming and soothing nature. Most people use image therapy to cope with their life struggle that could be something from their traumatic experiences. Individuals find it as a language to express themselves even without saying something to the world. Image therapy is a way to explore confusing things and understand their existence. Image therapy becomes a mirror of what other stuff is beyond reach. The process of looking at a photo and understanding its meaning combines to the degree that allows the brain to stabilize for a period. Image therapy supports calmness. Not only it connects patients to the current situation they are in, but it also allows them to find a resolution based on the capability to acknowledge their state. With the use of pictures, individuals realize that there are exciting and beautiful things that appear different. And since most people only focus on what’s dangerously in front of them, they ignore significant things that add value to living. They build a different representation of what each picture seems to symbolize.


The Procedure – How It Works?

Image therapy uses photography in a therapeutic setting. It goes under the direction of a professionally trained psychologist or therapist. It is a method that helps in reducing psychological pain symptoms as well as facilitating mental development and its impacting factors. Since the language of the unconscious mind takes a huge part in illustrations, the use of photos in this manner promotes a dialogue. It supports the connection between the unconscious and conscious mind to produce an appropriate resolution to a particular life problem. Whether it is about anxiety or depression, there is a significant chance of getting through understanding a meticulous photo. The shapes, sizes, and colors of pictures receive an explanation from individuals based on how they see and look at things.

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It gives an objective perspective to material you’ve subjectively viewed for many years. It’s a shift to the typical flow of an image therapy session. — Ryan Howes PhD, ABPP

Therapeutic Imagery – In-Depth Procedure

In image therapy, individuals can also learn a lot about themselves. They can determine if they are smart, artistic, confident, and friendly by only looking at a series picture. A therapist will show photos that contain two or more details in it. Both photo details represent a different characteristic of a person. One example of this illustration is the Rorschach inkblot. Psychologists and therapists use image therapy to determine a person’s personality. Another example is a series of objects in a photo where one of them seemed unnoticeably different from the rest. Usually, it is best known to be a puzzling photo where people try and look for the uncanny one.


The Downside Of Imagery Dependency

The alleviation of any psychological symptoms depends on every person, and that’s a significant reason for continually changing the procedures of treatment. Yes, image therapy is helpful in some ways, but it somehow doesn’t support the full application on a certain amount of mental conditions. That is when individuals are no longer seeing positive things and only cater to what’s damaging and hurtful to them. There are times that even the beautiful photos seem to look off-putting and undesirable too. Their psychological condition focuses on the little issue instead of looking at the positive ones.

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The availability of digital technology and media has exponentially enlarged capabilities for creative expression, communication and networking; as these advancements rapidly continue to emerge, there is also an increased curiosity and discussion among art therapist about the impact and applications of digital technology on practice. —Cathy Malchiodi PhD, LPCC, LPAT, ATR-BC, REAT

Image therapy has been around in the field since photography’s early ages. And these days, we get to have an advantage of using technology in association with the process. Having access to all the cell phones, social media, and the internet, it provides an alternative to show people that other things require different perspectives.

So if you love taking pictures, you should at least continue doing it as an image therapy. If you believe that the process of capturing and looking at good pictures is helping you in relaxation, collect as many figurative illustrations as you want that represent various types of serenity. This way, you don’t only help yourself in getting a stabilized psychological pace, but you’re also allowing your brain to develop healthily.