Therapeutic photography exercises

Every one of us sometimes needs a reminder of the good things in our lives. There are often times where the positive things are masked by life’s challenges or we are distracted, focusing on what we want, losing sight of what we have.

I have used the following technique with clients if they have lost sight of their passion and interests. When they have lost sight of the positives.

The concept behind this technique is to search your surroundings and capture even the smallest positive things in your daily life, helping remind you of what you have.

Exercise one “Daily photographing”

1)   Start taking photos of the things that make you happy. Be deliberate with the exercise, you may find yourself taking photos of even the smallest things that seem insignificant but bring you some level of satisfaction. These photos will be unique to what you value.

2)   Make a collection of your photos that can be referred back to as a reminder.

3)   Share the photos with someone, be it your therapist, partner, friends etc. Sharing helps put a spotlight on the things we value.

Exercise two “Different perspectives”

1)   Find a space that inspires you.

2)   Take a picture of the landscape as a whole.

3)   Find something in the photo that catches your attention. Move toward that thing and take another photo from the closer angle.

4)   Repeat the process and take a third photo.

See the result. You have 3 or more pictures from different perspectives.

An example would be a photo of a park, then a photo of a tree that attracts your attention, then a photo of the leaves on the tree, then even another photo of a single leaf.

The idea behind this practice is to make us think. Sometimes our life in the big picture might seem complex. As we start to narrow our view, we see the small but meaningful things that can take some of our focus. It is a reminder to notice the little things in our lives that can bring us joy. It can also work in reverse, if we are stressing over something that is relatively small or meaningless, we can take a step back to see the bigger picture of our lives, focusing on the overall positivity.

Xx Jasmin

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Photo Lotta Liimatainen
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The 3 Key Aspects of Setting and Achieving Goals

The concept of goal setting is often misrepresented. The main misrepresentation being that when talking about setting and achieving goals, there isn’t enough emphasis on the amount of thinking and energy that goes into the process. It is a complex idea that challenges us but is often trivialized into simply writing a goal down and hoping the rest will just figure itself out.

Like most of us, ever since I was young, in many areas of my life I have been told to set goals. What was never really explained though was the complex thinking behind goal setting, the reasoning behind the concept and how we can more effectively achieve those goals. I feel there is also a stigma around goal setting that exists for many of us. It exists because we can all point to numerous occasions in our lives where we have set a goal for ourselves and either failed to achieve the goal, or we haven’t even given that goal a second thought. What I will try to do below is highlight some of the more prevalent features of setting and achieving goals. I’m hoping this will kickstart some new habits in our lives and help remove some of the stigma around the concept. I will also point out how setting and achieving goals makes up such a big part of social work.

Why we set goals

Before we dive into the key aspects of setting and achieving goals, I thought it is worth discussing the reasons why we as humans find ourselves grappling with the idea in the first place.

It sounds simple, we set a goal because we want to achieve that goal. But what is it inside of us as humans that pushes us to want to achieve goals. One source of explanation is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs written by Andrew Maslow in his 1943 paper, ‘A Theory of Human Motivation’.  The basic concept behind the theory is that within all humans there is a set of common needs. The common theme I see behind Maslow’s theory and how it relates to goal setting is the innate human need to make progress and grow. 

The 3 steps to setting and achieving goals

From what I have read and understood, I have tried to break the subject down as I see it into 3 parts. Many of these ideas will sound simple but they are all worth noting.

  1. Setting the Goal
  • See a situation as it is, see it as you want it to be and set your goals accordingly. Be honest with yourself and your life situation. See where progress needs to be made or new avenues that need exploring. Set your goals accordingly.
  • Have a larger (long term) goal in mind, breaking it down into incremental (short term) goals. For example, having the larger goal of getting into the best physical shape of your life. You can then break it down into the smaller goal of working out 4 days a week. This can then be broken down again into what you do in each workout. This break down can continue as long as you need it to.
  • Be specific in the goals you set. We cannot hit a goal if we don’t know exactly what it is. The more specific we are in the goals we set, the more likely we are to achieve them.
  • Make the goal achievable. Often, we set ourselves unachievable goals or fail to break our goals down into incremental steps, so we become intimidated or disheartened by even the idea of the journey. Go easy on yourself, start with small steps.
  • Write your goals down if you need to. Keep a list. Everyone is different when it comes to remembering to do something but writing goals down, big or small, will always help to some degree.
  • Make your goals interesting and relevant to you. The reasons to set a goal must be compelling enough to keep you motivated. Reasons can be positive or negative. ‘I will lose this if I don’t achieve this goal’ or ‘I will gain this if I do achieve this goal’.
  1. Visualise

Visualise your goal, how it will feel to achieve it, what it looks like, what it feels like. The emotions and feelings that come to the surface during this process can build belief, helping propel us towards the goal at hand and maintaining focus.

  1. Taking the necessary action required to achieve the goal
  • Break the goal down into achievable incremental steps. Be realistic with the expectations of yourself especially in the initial stages.
  • Find ways to remind yourself of what you can do today, making lists, setting alarms etc. Refer to your lists as much as needed.
  • Stick to a routine. We all have off moments, but the aim should be to stick to it daily.
  • Constantly remind yourself through visualisation of the feelings that will result from achieving that goal. This will help maintain our belief.
  • Re-visit your goals regularly. Make adjustments and additions as you go.
  • Be resilient.

How Goal Setting relates to Social Work

Every day in our offices we meet clients who are facing difficult situations. We sit with them, we try and analyse the situation honestly then we try and discuss a path forward. It is often hard for our clients to see a bright future or even a better day when their daily lives are surrounded by problems. They might have their own individual goals, but they often do not have the energy to do anything about it. It is possible that some clients do not even want to think about their goals out of lost hope or a fear of failure. They can be very deep in dark thoughts. Every day we must work to be sensitive to the needs of our clients as much as possible, while at the same time, trying to help them realise what their own goals are, and how they can approach them. If you are in this kind of situation, you are not alone. Sometimes you just need someone to hold your hand and motivate you to keep going. This someone can be a family member or friend or even a professional like myself. The work that we do in the family therapy offices is essential in helping families and individuals in need of assistance.

I Challenge You

I urge you to commit 5 minutes of your time to think about goal setting. Think about things that you desire or thing’s that you have been meaning to take care of, but haven’t got around to it. I am hoping 5 minutes will be long enough to spark something bigger within you. I will be doing the same.

Xx Jasmin

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Sources

Credit to the following individuals. Many of the above concepts have come from a combination of researching the works of:

-Clinical Psychologist, Professor Jordan Peterson of Canada.

-Author, entrepreneur, philanthropist and life coach Tony Robbins.

The Beginning Of Something New

Welcome to the journey of love, well-being, relationships and social work. I am going to write and discuss things which inspire and touch me as an individual and professional. I am going to publish a text every week or so which will cover different themes. In these texts, you can hear my voice as a woman, wife, social worker, and someone that is curious to learn more about her field of studies. Thoughts are my own and do not represent my workplace or government.

I decided to write the blog in English because I wanted to challenge myself and go outside of my comfort zone. I also feel that I am stepping away from my comfort zone when I decided to start this blog. I want to share my thoughts, but I am also curious as to where it leads. In my opinion, the voice of social workers in the public is relatively hidden. For this reason, I want to try and make a little change on my own.

First, I would like to tell a little bit about myself. Who I am and what I am thinking. I am a 26-year- old master in social sciences. I did my major in social work. My minors were social psychology and media studies. Now I am a full-time social worker and a mediator in the family therapy department. I am working with parents, kids or with whole families. I have worked also in child protection services. I was also accepted into art therapy studies at the start of this year.

The past couple of years have been significant for me. I was living and studying in Australia, I met my husband, we got engaged and married, we moved back to Finland, I graduated, we got our first dog and we bought our first home. Even though I have done a lot in a short time, I still have a strong passion to keep going and continue to grow.

In this blog, I want to put together photos and thoughtful texts. I am going to tell more about myself through these photos. I want to show what working with people means to me and the kinds of ideas I have when I meet different kinds of people every day. But remember, the ideas that am I sharing are only my thoughts, they are not to be taken as gospel. I am a young woman who wants to be a better professional, and a therapist one day. Join me in the learning process and adventure of social work, relationship and family, love, and inspiration.

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I have realized through working that I am only one person who is trying to help and guide people. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.

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I love my dog Mila. She is a little therapist in our family.

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I love living in Finland as a Finn. Although I think my Australian husband sometimes appreciates the Finnish way of life more than I do. He sees things differently and in a fresh way. I have so much to learn when it comes to his attitude.

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I love traveling. It is a passion of mine. My husband and I travel when we can. I dream to one day do volunteering work in a developing country.

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I hope to become a skillful family and couple therapist, a better wife, a better friend and hopefully a mum one day. I have had a very balanced and beautiful childhood and I have been taught strong values by my parents. I am thankful for them. I want to help people who may not have had the best childhood or have had problems later in life. We all have problems, and no one is perfect, from time to time we all need a person who listens and cares about us.

 

Xx Jasmin