“I have gotten more from these pictures and everyone’s honest, poignant, and hope-filled comments than I have of the multitude of therapist’s sessions of the last 10 years of illness!”
– 2017 participant
The 3rd annual online Chronic Pain/Illness Therapeutic Photo Project recently completed. Over 75 women participated in this year’s project. Each day a topic related to chronic pain/illness was given to the women to photograph. These photo prompts included such topics as: Fear, Laughter, and Boundaries. For fourteen days participants shared their photos and stories with each other in a safe and supportive online space.
This year the community aspect of the project was stronger than ever. With so many personal photos and common experiences being shared, the women grew close quickly. Participants provided each other with support by leaving comments on each other’s photos. While each woman’s sharing of her pain and illness was unique, a feeling of “not being alone” and having “others who truly understand” were common sentiments shared by the women in the group.
“This was honestly life-changing for me. It helped me see places where I was stuck, things I COULD change in my life for the better, things worth celebrating, even with chronic pain and illness. My life is still worth living. I still have much to contribute. And I’m not the only one struggling. This did more for me than a whole year’s worth of counseling.”
– Anonymous participant
Many women explained that sharing their experience of pain/illness through photographs allowed them to be more vulnerable and open than usual, and allowed them to explore issues on a deeper level. Most were surprised at how much insight, clarity and healing could take place through taking and reflecting on others’ photos. As most of the participants do not regularly practice photography, they were truly surprised by the therapeutic benefits. “Healing, inspiration, acceptance and gratitude” were all added benefits the women stated they gained from participating in the project. The online group space remains open indefinitely so that members can continue to connect and support one another.
The growth and healing that I witnessed in the project, along with numerous participant testimonials, further validate my belief in the therapeutic value of photography for people who live with chronic pain/illness. I plan to continue offering the project as well as other therapeutic photography-related projects. To learn more about these projects and therapeutic photography for pain/illness, join the Full Blume Wellness Facebook group.
More photos from the project can be viewed by clicking here.
“As a person suffering the ups and downs of major chronic health issues for over 20 years, this course has made a tremendous positive impact on my emotional journey. I’m just finishing my third session, and once again Stephanie’s skill and the support of people who truly understand have helped me to look at myself with compassion, appreciate what is working, identify thinking errors and look beyond myself. I can’t say enough about how valuable this course is. Stephanie is amazing.”
– 2017 participant