Photo-therapy? What exactly is that? Can photography actually be therapeutic? If so, how?
What a topic this is to explore and what a wide range of theories and observations are done about this. Even TED has had many talks regarding this and there are tons of articles out there as well. I am fascinated by the psychology of connection. Right now I am a business student at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, and we study a lot on on learning styles, teaching styles, personality profiles, etc. This is intellectual porn for me and I absorb all of it like a sponge. One of the facets of photography that draws me in is the psychology of it, especially the psychology of connection and healing. For me, as a photographer it is very therapeutic and helps immensely in dealing with my PTSD. But, what does that have to do with my clients? It doesn't. This isn't about me, it is about YOU. So, what does all of this rambling have to do with you? Well, photography is therapeutic for the client when they hire a photographer to capture their most intimate selves, when the photographer understands the precious vulnerability put into their hands. Not all photographers realize this. They take for granted that all the client wants is pictures.
It is so much more than that. You come to a photographer wanting to capture the essence of who you are right in this moment with all the baggage of your life experiences. You want someone to really connect with you and see your true self and have that come through in the most incredible way to be forever remembered in this keepsake. This is vulnerability and when someone comes to me, I am honored. This is not something to be trivial about and it is a huge responsibility. A wonderful and extremely talented photographer, Rolando Gomez wrote about such experiences and how photography really can and should be therapeutic for clients. I highly suggest reading this article he wrote with very candid and forthright experiences he and his clients have had.
When choosing a photographer to capture you precious moments of the here and now, make sure they understand that it is more than just a memory, it is an experience and one that should help heal wounds, celebrate triumphs, or simply showcase the authentic person(s) you are and that they take great care of you.