The self portrait, a powerful tool for self-therapy

It is argued that in the digital era, self-portraiture enables anyone to produce a work of art instinctively, without knowing anything about photography, and more and more people today feel a strong urge towards self representation. Facing the camera lens and releasing the shutter immediately takes us to our first essential process of the definition of the self: the recognition of our image in the mirror. By objectifying our ‘dark side’ in a photograph, we can separate ourselves from what we dislike and open up a space for catharsis or renewal. During a self-portrait session we can start a dialogue between our thinking mind and our ‘gut’ to draw from an inexhaustible source of meanings, which must be expressed. The self-portrait can be incredibly empowering. By forcing us into the Now, it can help us perceive and express our essential humanity in a photograph. The decision to represent oneself can provide what is termed here a ‘state of grace’: the feeling of centeredness that occurs in moments of creative work in which the emotions are naturally retained because our higher self is in command. It is an outline of the author’s thoughts on the therapeutic use of self-portraiture and the personal nature of the narrative is reflected in the use of the first person

Cristina Nuñez (2009) The self portrait, a powerful tool for self-therapy, European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling, 11:1, 51-61, DOI: 10.1080/13642530902723157