SS - A. A view on Phototherapy as a Workshop

HOW TO? is my big question. 

Yas Crawford. 2018. The Art of Chronic Illness.

Chance C. 2018. Soul apothecary

I am hugely aware that the lack of a way of managing the workshop will result in no focus and so have created abstract images on which the participant is free to create. The rest will be up to them. 

Just as (MARTIN : 2001) explained about Jo Spence, she created a fictional environment of re-enactment in order to achieve some basis of how to come to terms with breast cancer. I will offer abstract landscapes as a way of encouraging participation. I am hoping that we can use words for emotions but if painting or scratching of the surface of the images is what is achieved, then that is what is achieved. After all its my first workshop and I am not yet sure what I am looking for or even if I can label this a type of phototherapy!

I understand that in order for phototherapy to work the participant has to be fully engaged in the process. That by going through the process, even if uncomfortable, will some how encourage you to face fears and then move forward. This might be possible for breast cancer if primary, but for secondary and chronic illness its also about managing life into the future. What that might look and feel like. 

I guess, in the case of my workshop, I am using art as way to describe visually what so difficult to say in words.  Using paint, text, apothecary bottles with descriptive text, the use of a typewriter, will all be fun ways to be creative but at the same time facing whats difficult about a long-term illness. 

As I have mentioned, in previous blogs, the Workshop will fall into three parts which will be fluid. 

  • Free drawing, painting and writing
  • A Move to the photographic images of choice and writing and drawing again in relation to long-term illness
  • Use of Soul Apothecary for inspiration for further words and thoughts. 
  • ‘Instamax’ fun of the participants taking images of themselves and their work. 

During the workshop I will take short video clips and photographs of the working group. Ending with an image of each of their finished works. 

Yas Crawford. 2018. Reflection

Yas Crawford. 2018. Another world.

Yas Crawford. 2018. Restful

Yas Crqwford. 2018. Nowhere and Everywhere.

Yas Crawford.2018. Collection of Abstract Images

It will be intriguing to see how much memory plays a role in the Workshop, how difficult it is to remember for those that have suffered in some way. What the blockages are and if the art releases these emotions and in what form?

I am reassured by the presence of a close friend and trauma counsellor at this workshop for anything that crops up on the day. I have not advertised the event as phototherapy, as I say I’m not qualified but I do hope that there will be much revelation, crying, joy and hope. In this way we will have a common theme and more material for a second and maybe a series of workshops that will benefit the participants. 

CARR S. 2018. Portrait Therapy. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

MARTIN R. 2001. The performative body: Phototherapy and re-enactment. Afterimage (29:3) Nov-Dec 17-21[online] at [accessed 22nd JUL 2018]

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