Photography & Play Therapy

Photography Therapy in Ashford & Eastbourne

An individual sometimes finds that they need to ‘release’ negative memories or thoughts to enable them to make the changes they wish to lead a full, healthy life.

Traditional ‘talking therapies’, such as counseling, can occasionally lead an individual to become ‘fearful’ of talking about their repressed feelings. With photos or creative exercises, the individual can bypass these fears and verbal controls.

The client can begin to access the stored information within the subconscious by incorporating personal photographic images within a ‘traditional’ therapeutic session.

What a person notices from a photograph will always reflect and mirror the inner individual belief system or ‘internal map’ that she or he is unconsciously using on a daily basis.

By reflecting consciously on images the client’s value system and belief structure and cognitive constructs start to become revealed. This ‘Phototherapy’ process allows the client to bypass conscious verbal controls and allows their unconscious language to emerge.

With photographs, the power of ‘freezing’ time allows the client to ponder, to look back, and start to explore emotions and the connotative memories attached to it. The use of photographs can start to give some control back to the client over these memories and the client begins to claim ‘power’ over these emotions.

When probing has gone as deep as consciously can, when the client knows something, but are uncertain where this level of ‘truth’ has come from, this level of unshakeable certainty marks the core of their inner values which have been non-verbally absorbed as part of their very culture and family up-bringing, producing the person that they are.

Once the underlying beliefs and values are uncovered, it can help the individual to understand and understand where some self-destructive thoughts and habits originate. Once this is understood, these ideas can begin to be released.

This inner belief system, (influenced by primary care givers) affects firstly the child and then begins to affect the child as she/he becomes an adult as ordinary daily decisions, opinions and judgments about themselves and others are ‘judged’ through this filter of information that has come from the family or primary care-givers.

This ‘filter’ emanating from the internal belief system are the ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ of the child’s and then the adults lives and they filter their very interaction with the world outside the individuals’ own mind. If the individual has different values to learnt values from family, it can cause internal emotional struggles.

Creativity & Play

As adults we are liable to become swamped with external pressures, deadlines and to conform to social pressures, our mind and body feels stressed and anxious.

Negative thoughts and feelings ‘flood’ our mind; hormones are released into the body with high levels of cortisol flooding our system. If this ‘stressed’ feeling and these hormones that are associated with ‘fight or flight’, are left permanently ‘switched on’, the body can have side-affects such as headaches, nausea, a ‘jittery feeling’, sleepness/insomnia and many more symptoms.

Often these feelings can lead to habits being formed to compensate for these feelings. Habits can include over-eating, smoking, drinking alcohol.

Introducing ‘play’, ‘fun’ or creativity can help an individual release negative feelings and emotions (and thus habits) in a safe environment. In fact, Oliver James, believes: ‘Playfulness is the cornerstone of emotional fulfillment, a key to insight and volition.’ (O.James, They F*** You Up, 2007:p272).

D.W. Winnicott (1896-1971), in ‘Playing and Reality’ (1971), asserts that play is universal, that it belongs to health, and it is natural to play. He goes on that play in the ‘highly sophisticated twentieth century phenomena is psychoanalysis.’ By playing, reality can be changed into something else, something that transforms what is unbearable reality whether internal or external.

Freud in his critical paper, ‘Creative Writers and Daydreaming’ (1907), the child’s best love and most intense occupation is with his play or games. He proposes that every child at play behaves like a creative writer in that he creates a world of his own, or rather, rearranges the things of this world in a new way, which pleases him.

As an adult we can learn to release long held beliefs and values through a combination of creativity, photography and play. We can ‘re-arrange’ our internal thoughts. Freud, goes on to state, that a trauma to the ego can be worked through, by the child/adult working from a passive state to an active ‘play’ state. Within which the individual attempts to master their experiences and create a ‘new world’ by rearranging his perceptions to build a new internal order.

Clients can have support to release and ‘rearrange’ their internal belief and value structure through fun and creativity at Art of Wellbeing.

These opinions are taken from Kim Bromley’s post graduate work

Please do get in touch and book an initial chat with Kim. Sessions take place in Eastbourne in East Sussex and Ashford in Kent. Learn more about Kim’s experience and way of working and the other therapies offered.

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