The phototheraphy techniques by Judy Weiser

If you’re here it’s because you’ve probably read the first part about the phototherapy techniques by Judy Weiser and you’re curious to know what the techniques are specifically. So let’s not waste any more time and get back to the subject line.

In the other article, we have seen the Photoprojective technique: the therapist has on a table a series of photographs chosen by him, taken by photographers, or that portray pictures, newspaper clippings, any kind of photographic stimulus. At that point, the patient is asked to choose a photo by responding to a delivery. Deliveries can be a lot, like “choose a photo that represents your strength and your weakness”, “a photo that represents the relationship you have with your mother”, “a photo that you represent in 10 years” etc. Surely the therapist will look for a delivery that can help the patient to express and deepen his psychological dynamics.

The phototherapy techniques by Judy Weiser are always based on the projective technique and the therapist’s questions but don’t use a bunch of selected photographs. The therapist will ask the patient to bring photographs taken by him, his self-portraits, or photographs taken by other people and photographs belonging to the family album. Each of these areas represents a technique.

Let’s go see them specifically

The phototherapy techniques by Judy Weiser


The therapist asks the patient to bring photographs that the subject took of himself, where he is the author of the construction of the photo. If you don’t have any, ask the patient to make some.  These types of photographs allow us to explore who we are when we think that no one is watching or that no one will judge us later, allow a comparison between our outer and inner image. The image we have of ourselves is how we want others to see us. We are always very conditioned by each other’s expectations and become more aware of who we really are, make us feel more confident about ourselves and resolve some of our inner conflicts.

Don’t confuse the self-portrait with the fashionable selfie, there’s a big difference. Ask yourself if a picture of you destined to be seen by others would be the same as the one you would take knowing it would not be seen by anyone? What would change in your opinion? What would you hide? If now you knew you had to give this photo to a particular person, would you take it the same way? Or what would you change? If you have answered these questions, you will have already understood the difference between a self-portrait and a selfie. (Clik here if you want to deepen the discussion about the image we have of ourselves, or here if you’d like to know more about selfie and self-portrait)

Photographs taken or selected by the patient

The photographs taken or preserved indicate the relationships that the patient has with the objects, the persons, the places, the things, all that he portrays, or is portrayed in the chosen images. They provide access to our projections and document our perceptions. Observe them all together can offer a retrospective of own life and reveal a common red thread, what Judy Weiser calls repetitive patterns.   The visual narration helps us to understand more quickly and consciously, so we can ask the patient to take pictures on a central topic of his path.

Self-photography taken by others

the phototherapy techniques by Judy Weiser
©Martine Franck, Henri Cartier Bresson on train ride to Montreux, 1976

Try to think about what you do when you think you’re the subject of a photo. You probably change your attitude and pose. This is because we want others to see us as our best image. When people pose for a photograph, they have a certain idea of what they should look like in the final image. This reflects their expectation of how they would be perceived by other people. Asking questions about pictures of them is a good way to find out how they evaluate themselves.

The family album

In therapy, talking about the past and making connections with the present is absolutely essential, working with the family album helps a lot to do this. The family photos stimulate memories and emotions, allow members to know their roots, give us information about family relationships, they are used to tell stories and make the family history known to the new generations. The choice of which photo to insert in the album and which not to insert speaks so much about the relationships between people.

As you can now see, working with photographs together with a therapist who specializes in this, is a quick and effective way to investigate in-depth our psychological dynamics, our conflicts, what we feel like an inconvenience. Through reflection, introspection, and awareness, a change takes place.

What do you think about the phototherapy techniques by Judy Weiser? Did they make you curious? If you want to know more, ask me what you want.

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