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The felt sense and how it can therapeutically be mediated by photographs


In mental health care the focus of diagnosis and treatment is too much on someone´s behavior and the cognitive aspects adhering to behavior. … We become conscious of the signals from our senses as sensations, which are translated into certain emotions or moods (for instance joy, excitement, despair and depressed feelings). Feeling “tense” or “down” or “cheerful” or “enthusiastic” can have a pendant in background feelings of tension or relaxation, of fatigue or energy, of well‐being or malaise, of anticipation or dread (Damasio, 1999, p. 52), … We posed the question: why not develop exercises in perceiving reality and model in this way the process of sensing the world as one that is inviting, vibrant and warm? Thus facilitating the appropriation of what until now for many persons with mental illness may have been a hostile world? We think that the creation of a positive felt sense or “guts” feeling, may be mediated by an aesthetic shock that makes your heart beat faster, gives you a boost of energy and that in the end (when it is reflected on and given words) may create the motivation to follow it up with action. … In the same way that you can be moved by music or a poem, an image or images can have an impact and change something in how you relate to your (existential) world. You feel or experience that you are alive and that you are lifted out of the limited perspective of being a person with mental health problems. Your horizon may widen.

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