Today as I bring my new website to light, I wanted to address something that has been a useful modality with clients over the past several weeks in online sessions. Photos, like music, are catalysts for therapeutic communication and healing. I wanted to share this photo as I remember one of the special ways a therapy session can happen and can reflect on one’s personal journey. Not every person wants to sit and talk and the outdoors can be such a wonderful place to think!
A photograph always contains a story that is different for each of us. It depends on who is translating what they see and how they relate it to their own experiences. Using photographs can be like using music in the way we feel, the mood, and especially when words alone aren’t enough to express our thoughts. The environment, in and out of context can create something very unique. For example, the photos and videos on social media feeds show large cities that now resemble ghost towns. These images have a profound effect in realizing the outcome of COVID and the ways we are all isolated. Life as we know it has changed, and we certainly get an accelerated feeling of that change when it’s accompanied with these images.
Like footprints of our lives, a snapshot shows where we have come from, both geographically and emotionally. It’s common for people in the same family to have a very different story of the same photo; our unconscious decides what we see and what we hold on to for later. There is no single truth or one view point that is right, for a photo does not “show” but only “suggests”.
On the basis of taking a photo, or looking back on a photo, it is a moment of time frozen. Even though it’s on paper, or your computer or phone, it seems alive and is also part of our present “now”. This is also like music from our past. In hearing a song from the past, you travel to the memory and apply it to the now in a reflective process. Memories and feelings are not communicated with words in a direct way but instead in a conscious way with heart and mind, sometimes a difficult process. In working in a therapeutic direction, the possibilities to re-frame that experience with caution, function and purpose is a possible way to heal and move through difficult emotional work including grief.