Nude Photos as Therapy, or Just Therapeutic?

While most therapists may not take studio portraits of their patients, there are a few that do something similar.

An example of a Walker Visual, a photo designed to provoke emotions during psychotherapy

Joel Walker, a psychiatrist in Toronto who invented the Walker Visuals that are commonly used in photo therapy, said he has occasionally used photos of a client taken during a session as a means of therapy.

Walker remembered a particular woman who suffered from uncontrolled bipolar disorder for years, but was finally able to confront her problem through photographs.

"I took pictures of her when she was so depressed," he said. "She was lying down, barely able to get up ... I also took a picture of her when she was manic."

Walker said the photos worked because the brain can't tune out an image in the same way it can tune out a conversation or something written. The photos were an undeniable vision of her moods.

"She took the two pictures and put them up on her fridge at home and, two weeks later, she was on medication," Walker said. "It made all the difference in the world, she started taking medication and her life turned around."

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