The Trust’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services' (CAMHS) Principal Art Psychotherapist, Mark Wheeler, was recently among 20 invited guests from all over the world who attended a special event at the prestigious Royal Society in London.
The event, organised by the Italian Phototherapy research group GRIFO (Gruppo Ricerca Foto-Terapia), took place on the anniversary of the reading to the Royal Society of Dr Hugh Welch Diamond’s paper on the use of photography in the Surrey asylum, on 22 May 1856.
The day culminated in the presentation of the inaugural Diamond Phototherapy Award to Mark, in recognition of his contribution to the field of using photographs in psychotherapy. Mark has published articles and book chapters on his development of interventions benefiting young people and adults, using photography from the days of film to the phone camera.
CAMHS patients and their families have found it useful, when words are not enough, to use images to explain situations and experiences and to use their phone cameras to maintain healthy daily routines. Some patients have found the incentive of making images, or receiving images, to be a useful step in overcoming unhelpful thinking or negative or destructive feelings. Others have found image-making useful in aiming for goals and recognising progress.
Mark has provided training and support for other people in Local Services to employ these techniques. Photographs can be powerful catalysts to feelings and thoughts and our world is becoming increasingly personally photographic with the advent of image sharing apps.
Well done, Mark!