Phototherapy and art therapy

It has become understandable that the video film cannot replace the photo for therapeutic purposes. Cutting a person’s video in anger would be far less “symbolic” than snipping off a person’s photo. The permanent photo is suitable for being carried along or exposed to the wall. And progress in photographic techniques does not automatically transform phototherapy into video therapy, although video recording can also be used sensibly in therapy – indeed, even more frequently than in the photo.

Joint viewing of old albums, even old holiday memories, at the beginning of each psychotherapy could become an esteemed routine procedure, because the life of the client becomes visible to the therapist and the client himself without the filter of interpretation of the current illness, the current symptoms.

A depression or a long psychosomatic illness can bring past stress and stress to the fore as an explanation. However, the pictures of the photo album or the past holiday trip have not been taken from this point of view and give a broader, possibly even more correct picture of the experience in the past. As a rule, the pictures of the photo amateur reflect positive situations, holiday moods or anniversaries of which one can be proud.
In therapy, the client suffers from life, is no longer so proud, can experience joy and satisfaction less. The photos that haven’t been pulled out for years or decades can remind him that he could be happy. The therapist can use this fact to convince him that he can reach this condition again. This is definitely a confidence-giving and successful start to therapy.


A photo session in group therapy could also arouse interest in their own appearance in the case of depressed clients or in the case of neglected adolescents. The experience of looking made-up and fashionable, pretty and attractive can become a crystallization point of new life energy. Some uses of photos in therapy have not been tried. For example, it might be quite interesting to give a client a camera and have him photograph all important persons or objects of his environment. In this way, therapy also expands the hitherto purely verbal access to the client’s world.


Modern digital cameras allow the results to be viewed in the following therapy session without the delays caused by film developments.

Phototherapy has fluid transitions to art therapy, when not just taking photos, but creating collages from photographed elements and own photos when photos are painted over or symbols for the past, future, and present are designed. In this respect, the photo therapist is also recommended to study art therapy literature.


In this way, private and public aspects of the professional, social, physical, mental and emotional self-image are designed and discussed.
A conceptual differentiation of the self is achieved, which enables a more complex and thus more differentiated understanding of one’s own person and also of the inconsistencies of one’s own person.

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