8 thoughts on “The Therapeutic Benefits of Photography

  • July 6, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    I recently attended a conference for therapists. Overwhelmingly, the consensus was we need other people and usually at least one other primary person. Using photo therapy with a patient involves two people and the photos and possibly a camera. Alone, I really view it as impossible. Not only not possible; I can see how it could be selfish, one-sided and the camera can talk the way the person wants it to. People have said: the camera, photo or video, lies. I think it is easy to fool ourselves. I am glad you feel better. I would be cautious to recommend this as a treatment option without the involvement of a training professional; preferably medical, being involved in situations with folks who are depressed and anxious. It can be very risky to assume a cure for a genetic tendency or trait which may need medication as well. I hope you will check the research. My guess is my advice is both ethical and sound practice guidelines.

    • July 6, 2016 at 8:56 pm

      Hi Donna,

      I appreciate you sharing your perspective and experience. The post that I wrote and the work that I do is based on therapeutic photography, which is different from PhotoTherapy. I encourage you to review the definitions and differences on Judy Weiser’s website (https://phototherapy-centre.com), who is one of the earliest pioneers in both of these fields and also my mentor.

      I would hesitate to use a term like “impossible” without seeing the results that both myself and hundreds, if not thousands of others have achieved on their own to better cope with or overcome issues like depression and anxiety.

      As I stated, this is often not the only tool that someone will use and many may need support from a professional or medication, but especially with depression or anxiety there are many people who deal with these issues for other reasons than genetics and they need tools that are self-directed to help them in their process. To say that is “selfish”, “fooling ourselves” or “a lie” robs people of the empowerment and authentic truth that can come from taking hold of their own story and recovery using a camera and their photos.

    • July 10, 2016 at 12:07 am

      I also have been a trained mental health therapist working in private practice for many years and in the field of mental health for many more years (40+ to be more accurate). I am very surprised with your response to Bryce’s One Project. You obviously have no idea of the power of the social media. For many who are challenged by depression or anxiety, this is a means for them to connect with others through a “shared” interest. The “one project” does not make any claims to being a site that offers therapy and certainly lets everyone know that the site is not responded to by trained therapists. The site helps to bring people together, to simply engage with others who have a shared or common interest. My goodness, what better way to help begin an “engaging process”, with others, than through sharing a passion or love of photography or any shared interest. This is a tool of empowerment, you sound as if you want all mental health challenges to be under the care and supervision of a medical practitioner. I’m sorry, but there are just too many people challenged with depression and anxiety to rely solely on medical practitioners. There are many people with empathy and goodness in their hearts that are not trained therapists, but yet are exactly what the doctor orders….”empathic understanding” and care can be given through the sharing of a passion. We as professionals need all the help we can get for those we serve.

  • October 7, 2016 at 3:22 am

    Bryce l believe photography can help with anxiety and depression when the photos are positive and uplifting. I’m a counsellor and mindfulness practitioner who loves photography and can totally understand how beneficial it can be. It promotes mindfulness… capturing the moment. In the moment you’re aware of shade and light, the weather, natural beauty, and feelings. I feel the very moment in which you will take a photo is so personal, so it’s perfect for self expression. But l would encourage people to focus on the beauty and the positives in life when taking a photo so as not to dwell on uncomfortable feelings. The wonderful thing about photography is that it allows the moment to be recalled which is great when it’s connected to a positive feeling.
    All the best

  • January 10, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    I’m currently 17 years old, living in the middle of nowhere, Montana. Over this past summer (2016) I lost my significant other. It was a terrible occurrence, and it still hurts me that I couldn’t save him. But over the past 6 months, I have focused more on my photos to get myself out of my head. I can personally say that photography saved me and brought me out of a horrible mental state. I am still grieving, but I’m grateful for the properties photography brings me. Having control of whats in my frame, the fact that it’s about “living in the moment”, letting people see the world through my eyes, and being able to show myself that the world around me is beautiful and not as cruel as I may feel it to be sometimes.

  • September 24, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    You got my attention when you said that photography can encourage you to connect with nature and find the beauty in the world. My husband and I wanted to appreciate the different beautiful places in the world such as the Niagara Falls. We wanted to find a hobby that will allow us to appreciate their beauty more which can help us to relieve the stress that we have been experiencing. We’ll make sure to find a photography tour that we can join.

  • December 9, 2018 at 3:56 am

    As someone who “suffers” with PTSD from a life of military and civilian law enforcement, I wondered if there would ever be a time when I didnt view the world in a negative light. There was always a nagging urge in the back of my head to find that way. Photography is that medium. Once I took that first shot, it was as if the camera reached into my chest, and with a single finger touched my heart and said, That’s it! You found it.
    I can say with all certainty that it definitely changed my perspective. Instead of ALWAYS looking for an exit or scanning the crowd for a threat, my eyes started looking for the beauty in an environment. Ways to express what I needed to see and not what I was trained (or experienced) to see. Photography is a wonderful way to change your outlook. Finding a beautiful singular moment and sharing. Thats therapeutic.


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