Picture This is a set of 75 original colour photographs that capture different aspects of our journey through life: the mundane, the whimisical the soulful, the playful, the challenging, the imaginative, the chilling and the joyful. can be used separately, as a whole, or by selecting sub-sets.
Since its earliest origins, photography has proved to be a powerful catalyst for conversation-building. As photographic technology and approaches to psychotherapy have developed, a broad spectrum of ways in which photography can be used in counselling have evolved.
These 75 original, diverse and eclectic photographs offer opportunities for people of all ages to reflect on their experiences. Here is a powerful conversation – stimulant for oiling the juice of imagination, memory and emotions.Some of these full – colour images are poignant, some are heart – warming and others are tinged with humour. This highly interpretive tool can open up conversations, storytelling and creative writing about feelings, goals, and points of view. Published by Innovative Resources 2007, 75 laminated, full – colour cards, 170 x 125mm, full – colour polypropylene box, 48 – page booklet.
What is Picture This?
The photos that make up Picture This are particularly accessible because they provide slices of both urban and rural landscapes and lifestyles, and are culturally diverse. As a conversation-building tool, Picture This needs minimal introduction. Like all Innovative Resources’ tools it does not require any special training and can be used just as effectively with individuals, groups and teams. It can be used by people of any age, in just about any setting.
I recently used the cards with an adolescent who is very troubled and had been threatening to kill himself.
The Picture This cards he chose elicited some powerful responses:
Hands lifting hay bales—No matter what I do I can’t please Dad.
House burning and crashed car—I feel like my life is crashing and burning.
Shredded paper—I feel confused and all messed up.
Walking down the road in snow—I am always going on walks alone.
The crowd—I want to be the person being focused-on in the crowd.
I found it to be a really successful session as it clarified how much he was internalising. For a young man he is such a deep thinker and very aware of his feelings. He is now being referred for further counselling.
Janine Mitchell – Youth Pathways Advisor
Here are some interesting questions to build around Picture This. Some might be considered ice-breakers, useful in the early stages of engagement with an individual or group. Some will be out of left field, seemingly unconventional but perhaps vital for overcoming the grip of ‘stuckness’.
Some of these questions may demand a solid trusting relationship before being raised, while others simply invite reflection and rememberance. Some questions are more oriented to one-on-one conversations while others lend themselves easily to group discussions. All of these questions can provide starting points for deeper coversations.
Can you choose a photo that says something about you as a person?
Which photos would your family, friends or loved ones say typified you or reflected your personality?
Is there a particular photo that resonates with you? Can you say why?
Is there a photo that challenges you or makes you feel uncomfortable? Can you say why?
Is there a photo that represents how you feel about your situation at present?
Can you say what it is in this photo that speaks to you; a detail, the composition, the colour, the people, the background, the time of day?
What in the photo would you change, if you could?
If you were to put yourself in any of the photos which ones would they be? Would you be sitting or standing? What would you be wearing? What would you be doing?
If you were in one of the photos, who do you imagine would be behind the camera?
Are there two photos that describe contrasting parts of who you are?
Which photos remind you of your strengths and the strengths of others?
Can you select photos to represent the blessings in your life? The times of joy and enchantment?
Does one photo reflect that part of you that you are comfortable with as compared to a ‘shadow side’?
Is there a series of photos that sums up your life journey?
Are there photos that allude to significant times of change and transition in your life?
Are there photos that say something about your ‘picture of the future’?
Is there a photo that you would like your loved ones to associate with their memories of you?
Can you choose a photo that you would like to give someone as a ‘blessing’ or as good wishes for them?
An alternative method to spreading and scanning is building on serendipitous connections. Cards can be shuffled into a pack face down and one or more cards chosen at random with similar questions asked of those particular cards. At times, these serendipitous connections can be surprising and enlightening.
What relevance, if any, do these cards have for you at present?
Can you see any connections between the cards you have randomly selected?
Is there anything that surprises you in the cards you have chosen?
Would you like to replace one and select another at random?
Do any of these cards suggest something very meaningful for you?