What is Video Therapy?
Video therapy is a tool which harnesses the best of technology to enhance the process and progress of psychotherapy.
Video therapy consists of taping and viewing psychotherapy sessions to provide vivid, real-life, present-moment feedback to clients to help them understand feelings and dimensions of themselves otherwise hard to access.
How Does Video Therapy Work?
Target issue: First, based on my understanding of a client, I suggest a particular issue for a discussion to be videotaped. I target issues that are currently sources of conflict, and feelings that are largely outside of their awareness.
Videotape client: After establishing a level of comfort and flow in our discussion, I will start videotaping the client, using a video camera mounted on a tripod to my side. The camera is approximately 6-7 feet away from the client, and since we are discussing an issue of significance, most people are almost immediately unaware of the camera’s presence andable to retain their focus on our discussion.
Playback/Viewing of Videotape: After taping approximately 5-10 minutes of our discussion, we watch the playback together, either straight through or pausing at moments chosen by the client to discuss. Universally, clients are profoundly moved by viewing themselves talking from a deep, heart-felt place. It’s as if they didn’t know they felt so much and the level of acceptance and understanding is accelerated by this fuller viewing of their deep humanity.
How Can Video Therapy Help You?
The main goal of all psychotherapy is to enhance your relationship with YourSELF.
Video enables you to meet yourself -face-to-face – in the present moment.
Video gives you the opportunity to stand back and reflect on what you see, hear, feel, and realize about the person on the screen – YourSELF.
When you meet the real you – face-to-face – you will realize on a deep emotional level:
#1 -that some of the views of yourself that you have carried around for a lifetime may not be accurate. This emotional EUREKA moment greatly expands your sense of possibility about change and your belief that you can grow to feel better about yourself, specifically, that you could grow to really like the person you are today.
#2 – that you are working hard and struggling to overcome the difficulties of your life, and you begin to feel compassion for yourself.
Overall, you begin to resonate with the feelings connected with your lifestory, and you become fundamentally more attuned to YourSELF.
The value of being attuned to your inner self is described best by the prominent scholar of neuroscience and mindfulness, Daniel Siegel:
“this internal attunement with our primary self …yields the powerful feeling of coming home.
As poets have so often urged us to consider,
we live so far from this person who has loved us for so long
but has been so blindly ignored:
our primary self.”
How is Video Therapy Different from Traditional Talk Therapy?
Keep in mind that video therapy is a tool used within a larger psychotherapeutic process. The strength of video therapy is that it rests on working with literal, immediate images. Images are much more powerful than words, they hold much more information than words, and convey that information at a much more rapid pace.
Images are the fluid language of the mind.
What Clients Say about Using Video in Therapy
“Initially, I was nervous about being filmed during therapy. In hindsight, it was a very powerful tools that pushed me far along a path toward healing. When we did the first video session, I was in a lot of pain. While I knew, certainly on an intellectual level, that I was in pain, watching myself took that understanding to a very deep level and removed any possibility of my running away from my feelings. For the first time, I was able to recognize my own pain as I would easily have done had a friend or one of my children been in a similar state. My eyes were so sad and I heard, for the first time, this almost unbearable sadness in my voice. And as would have happened with a friend, I felt for the first time a desire to comfort myself. Over the next few months, the recognition of the pain and a new sense of kindness and empathy toward myself fostered true advances in my therapy. I knew that I was making great strides, but, again, a video session really brought this home to me. The second session felt like I was watching a different person. My entire demeanor had changed. What stood out to me again was the change in my voice. It was stronger in tone and volume, more animated and communicated confidence. Both sessions happened during a very trying time in my life that continues to today. There is no question in my mind that watching myself as if I was another person, led me to a much greater understanding of what I was feeling and coping with. That first video allowed me to tap into the sympathy and caring that I would have felt for someone else. The second video reinforced my sense of accomplishment and growing sense of strength.”
“I just finished watching today’s taping…..it’s just so very powerful ….my path toward self love continues, I really like myself. You were amazing – your questioning –it’s just so perfect – the pacing of it, the content of the questions….. when the camera is on wow you really led me to epiphanies and discoveries… I feel very grateful. it’s such a lovely tape, a treasure. It’s a big step today, so thank you for bringing your camera into the therapy sessions. it’s just so, so very powerful.”
“So many people really can’t tell what they are feeling. This really helps me know what I am feeling.”
“Just wanted to pass on to you my early reaction to having watched yesterday’s session –What a rich session and thank you again for suggesting this bringing this technology into my therapy it’s so amazing because it’s so accessible and easy to manage the technology that is and it just gives so much- captures so much -conveys so much. I see myself talking through these issues that have been so longstanding and limiting, to see the expressions on my face and to understand and recall what I was feeling when I was talking with you about it. It’s just very very powerful. “
“I really enjoyed the use of video during our last session. I was always
uncomfortable in front of cameras so its interesting to me how much screening my responses helps. It lets me see how I’m answering the questions being discussed, and I can actually read my reaction while speaking. It is amazing how in watching the playback i forget the embarrassment of being on camera and learn things about who I am by what and how I say it. “