Photography as Therapy for Veterans

When was the last time you took a picture? Chances are this week alone, you’ve taken several. Whether a selfie, a cute puppy you saw walking down the street, or your lunch (cause, you know, you gotta let all your friends on social media know what you’re eating), pictures have become a part of our every day life.

But in addition to our daily entertainment, photography has done a lot to serve humanity. We can see pictures of historical moments and see visual displays of news stories. We also get to use it as a marketing tool when we get our professional head shots taken. Any way you paint it, a camera lens is powerful.

How photography can serve a higher purpose

In addition to all the good photography has brought us through the ages, it turns out that it’s also accomplishing something even more important: providing therapy for veterans with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is no longer about entertainment or informational value. This can mean the difference between being able to cope after coming back from deployment and falling into a deep depression. It’s a matter of saving lives and bringing hope to people who’ve experienced the darkest chapters of their existence.

Soldiers are returning home and using photography training as a form of self-expression and a method of reintegrating to civilian life. Sometimes the process entails the veteran being the photographer. Other times, photo therapy works by going through pictures taken by others.

Considering that 1 out of every 8 soldiers returns from deployment with PTSD, this is invaluable. However, it is not the first time people going through hard times use photography as a creative healing process. People with health issues have also used it to document their survivorship.

So in addition to allowing us to tell stories, market ourselves, and document happy memories, photography can also be used to rebuild lives.

The lens is a indeed a very powerful thing.